The role of leadership in teacher team learning behaviour


Mieke Koeslag-Kreunen, Marcel van der Klink, Piet van den Bossche, Mien Segers, Wim Gijselaers

Co-operation with Zuyd University of Applied Sciences

Further information

Introduction and position in the current literature
To meet changing and complex demands, education is starting to make increasing use of teacher teams (Hofman & Dijkstra, 2010). For teams to be effective in complex environments, team learning is needed and this needs to be stimulated (Edmondson 1999; Van den Bossche, Gijselaers, Segers, & Kirschner, 2006). This is especially important in teacher teams, because teachers are rarely found to show learning behaviour naturally, and when they do, it is mostly individually (Kwakman, 2003; Little, 2006). Team leadership behaviour can foster team learning behaviour (Burke, Stagl, Klein, Goodwin, Salas, & Halpin, 2006), and team psychological safety and team efficacy appear to mediate this relationship (Kirkman & Rosen, 1999; Lee, Gillespie, Mann, & Wearing, 2010). Fostering these conditions is especially important in teacher teams, because teachers work in a tradition of autonomy and are sometimes reluctant to learn (Kwakman, 2003; Little, 2006). Furthermore, in the culture of teaching, conflicts are often seen as problematic and controversy is likely to be avoided in order not to make enemies (Hargreaves, 2001). To date, several studies pay attention to the role of leadership in improving team learning behaviour, but research does not fully appreciate the dynamism and complexities of team leadership, because they do not examine multiple leadership styles, nor their effect on multiple team learning processes (Burke et al., 2006). Furthermore, justification in educational science for establishing teacher teams is presently largely rooted in assumption (Veen, Zwart, Meirink, & Verloop, 2010).

Research questions & hypothesis
This project aims to explore how multiple team leadership behaviours can stimulate multiple team learning behaviours in the context of teacher teams.

Research methods
Four studies will be set up: two model validation studies (types of leadership fostering team psychological safety and team efficacy); one longitudinal study to examine the dynamism of team leadership behaviour, and an intervention study on improving team leadership behaviour.

Results & follow-ups
First results expected in July 2012.



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