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A Case of Positive Teacher-Leadership: Positive Deviance in a Canadian High School



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Research into positive teacher leadership is relatively new in education. As the school reform movement evolves, the pressure on the principals to be accountable for school improvement and student achievement has increased. The former one-person leadership model which had characterized school structures for many decades left teachers’ talents to go largely unexploited (Lambert, 2002). This is a case study which sought to contribute to the notions of Positive Teacher Leadership in schools by identifying elements and practices that constitute Positive Teacher Leadership, including an exploration of the impact of such leadership on school improvement. The study was rooted in the use of a positive paradigm, involving the use of positive and transformative ideations and approaches to change. The study attempted to explore the concept of teacher leadership from a positive perspective by investigating the positive attributes and components of teacher leadership. The study approached the query from a single case, then used the case in providing a description of positive teacher leadership. Rather than focusing on what is wrong with systems or elements of school life, the positive approach requires researchers to ask affirming questions and encourage participants to focus on what works (Cram, 2010). The general research design selected to explore the research was qualitative case study design with the use of multiple data collection techniques, including in-depth and casual interviews, observation and focus-group discussions. Data analysis was done manually from a grounded approach—The ground theory pursuit in this study is the “theory of positive teacher-leadership.” This study made use of Cameron (2012) positive leadership theories—practical strategies on how to engage in positive leadership within an organization. The central focus of his work was on positive deviance. The study found out that Positive Teacher- Leadership (PTL) in this case entailed leading through strength building, positive affirmation and gratitude. These strategies help bring out the best in people by enabling a positive work climate, a positive relationship, positive communication and positive meaning. The study also examined positive teacher-leadership from the perspectives of staff and principal which involved taking a positive approach to leadership. This approach has much to do with focusing on the strength of people, creating a culture of trust, instilling a sense of community, empowering others, and creating opportunities for both students and staff. From the findings of this study, it is clear that Positive teacher leadership was not a single concept nor was it the use of a single strategy to impact other; but rather positive teacher leadership is represented by a combination of positive traits and values and a dedication to serving others from a positive perspective using different approaches such as strength-based and appreciative approach



Positive leadership, Teacher leadership, Positive Deviance



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration


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