Recognising the impact of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers

Year: 2018

Author: Crosswell, Leanne, Willis, Jill, Spooner-Lane, Rebecca, Churchward, Peter, Suzanne, Jensen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) identify four distinct professional growth stages of Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished, and Lead teachers.  To become certified as a Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) a teacher must self-nominate and undertake three steps - pre-assessment, an annotated portfolio of evidence and a site visit to verify the evidence.  This paper presents findings from a study in collaboration with one certifying authority, to investigate the impact and influence of these teacher leaders within their school communities.
Teacher leadership, is broadly defined as assuming leadership roles within the school context in addition to in-class teaching duties (Kurt, 2016).  Certified HALTs operate as invaluable teacher leaders within school communities, influencing the work of other teachers, coordinating school programs, and liaising with school and system leaders through contextualised problem solving (Lovett, 2017).  This mixed-method study collected qualitative data (including annotated portfolios and interviews with candidates, school leaders, mentors, and certification validators) and quantitative data (a survey comprising three scales).  Drawing on Bandura’s (1986) social cognitive theory, this paper will present findings around the influence of the HALT certification process (environmental factor) on teacher’s self-efficacy, leadership efficacy (personal factors) and teacher leadership activities (behaviour). Part of its’ aim is to make visible some of the invisible leadership work being undertaken by these HALT teachers. As such, this paper explores how HALT candidates, school leaders, mentors, and certification validators perceive the impact of HALT teachers contribution to school communities. Research like this serves not only to celebrate the influence of teacher leaders (Lovett, 2017), but also to inform the important role of aspiring leaders (Koh, Gurr, Drysdale, & Ang, 2011), in contributing to educational initiatives in school communities.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action : a social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Koh, H. H., Gurr, D., Drysdale, L., & Ang, L. L. (2011). How school leaders perceive the leadership role of middle leaders in Singapore primary schools? Asia Pacific Education Review, 12(4), 609-620. doi:10.1007/s12564-011-9161-1
Kurt, T. (2016). A model to explain teacher leadership: the effects of distributed leadership model, organizational learning and teachers' sense of self-efficacy on teacher leadership. Education and Science, 41(183). doi:10.15390/EB.2016.5081
Lovett, S. (2017). Teacher leader and teacher leadership: A call for conceptual clarity. Paper presented at the Leadership for improving learning: Insights from research, Melbourne.