Preservice Teacher Leadership In Action

While the research and policy literature frequently highlights the importance of leadership to school success and student achievement, the 'leadership' they have in mind is primarily that of the principal. As teachers have become more involved in school administration, the importance of teacher leadership and its impact on student success has also become more prominent in the school leadership literature.

Preservice Teacher Presenting at Tech Showcase
Unfortunately, there is little that acknowledges the contributions of novice or preservice teachers to the knowledge, practice or motivation of other educators. As an advocate of distributed leadership, I am a firm believer that influencing the knowledge, practice or motivation of others in the service of organizational goals can indicate leadership influence. While some may feel that their newness to the profession precludes novice and preservice teachers from being considered leaders I would like to highlight the contributions of Brock's EdTech Cohort as a case for acknowledging preservice teacher leadership.

Contemporary leadership portrayals highlight the importance of how leaders influence those around them (Leithwood et al, 1999; Northouse, 2010; Spillane, 2006; Yukl, 2010). From a social influence perspective, leadership can be considered to be any activities that attempt to influence the knowledge, practice and motivation of other organizational members in the service of the organization’s core work (Spillane, 2006). Within the context of the schoolhouse, school leaders are seen as ‘‘those persons, occupying various roles in the school, who work with others to provide direction and who exert influence on persons and things in order to achieve the school’s goal” (Leithwood and Riehl, 2003, p. 9). Thus, by exerting influence in the service of school/educational goals preservice teachers deserved to be considered leaders.

Preservice Teacher Leaders Presenting 
At the recent Brock Tech Showcase, the members of Brock's EdTech Cohort showcased their skill and knowledge of how to use the latest technology resources to create innovative learning experiences for students. Throughout the day, the over 300 attendees, which included teacher candidates, classroom teachers and principals, listened intently, took notes and made plans to implement what they had learned in their classroom. Influencing classroom practice as well as the knowledge, practice and motivation of the hundreds of educators they interacted with, clearly demonstrates that they should be considered 'leaders'.

Check out their Tweets and Blog posts for more examples of preservice teacher leadership in action.

~Lead On!

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