Empowering Teacher Leaders for Instructional Improvement: Using Peer Observation to Increase Teacher Leader Agency As Instructional Leaders

Fostering teacher leadership in a school or district can lead to greater professional growth, job satisfaction, and instructional improvement. With the transition to Common Core State Standards, this is a prime moment in education to grow teacher leader roles in order to support administrators in training and coaching all teachers in new practices. One form of teacher leadership is peer observation and peer coaching. This action research study examines how to increase teacher leader agency as instructional leaders at their school site through peer observation, so teacher leaders can support colleagues to apply what they are learning in professional development. The intervention included reciprocal peer observations cycles for two teacher leaders at different grade levels with a colleague on their grade level team, and a peer coaching session with two teacher leaders on the same grade level at different school sites. The intervention had a positive impact on all three teacher leaders who participated in the observation cycles by strengthening the connection between their grade level collaboration and PD content, and strengthening their relationships with colleagues. Results indicated that all participating teachers were supported to implement practices from the professional development through the peer observation process.

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