Myth or reality: Exploring teachers' understanding of teacher leadership roles in a Pakistani school

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This qualitative case study was designed to explore the teachers' understanding of teacher leadership roles in a Pakistani school. Their understanding of teacher leadership roles were explored in relation to their views, practices and professional roles within the school context. The study was conducted in a school and two female teachers participated in it. The data collection processes involved semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observations inside and outside of the classroom. Their interactions with pedagogy and students inside the classroom and their interactions with parents and colleagues outside the classroom was the focus of observation. The findings indicate the teachers' understanding of teacher leadership roles within the school context, as leading school activities and colleagues was their ultimate goal. The study found that both the teachers continuously improved their personal, interpersonal and professional capacities while interacting with the context. Teachers were found autonomous in their instructional strategies in their respective classrooms. Teachers' instructional leadership roles and their relationship with students were found to be rooted into their personal beliefs of knowledge, learning and experiences. The study also found that teachers' own outlook of students' behaviour and their beliefs about learning determined their own relationship with students. The two teachers defined teacher leadership in a hierarchical fashion. In this vertical order of leadership, the headteacher and teachers with formal roles such as deputy headteacher, coordinators, alternate coordinators and teachers formed the chain of leaders. In this top-down chain of leadership, classroom teachers were placed at the bottom. The study reveals that the teachers viewed parents' involvement crucial for their children education, but their emphasis on parental involvement was limited only to academic affairs. The study also suggests that the scope of leadership of teachers with formal positions (coordinator) is broader and wider than those who possess less formal positions such as alternate coordinator. In short, the teachers' understanding of teacher leadership is different in terms of its scope, but both the teachers understand teachers as leaders. The school context and teachers' early experiences provided them with motivation and opportunities to develop their capacities as teachers and teacher leaders.

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