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The quiet leader: leadership attributes of elementary school social studies teachers in an era of deep change

Your Name and Title: Katherine Ireland

School or Organization Name: University of New Brunswick

Co-Presenter Name(s): n/a

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Fredericton, NB

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Elementary school teachers and administrators; social studies researchers, curriculum, and policy developers; anyone interested in educational leadership

Short Session Description (one line): In this presentation I describe the attributes demonstrated by elementary school teachers that provide much-needed leadership in a era of deep change. 

Full Session Description (as long as you would like): 

This topic is one close to my heart, as a former elementary teacher and PhD student currently studying elementary social studies teachers. For this presentation I consider the leadership attributes demonstrated by elementary school teachers who teach social studies topics: history, geography, citizenship and current issues. The stereotypical elementary school teacher is young and female, who demonstrates kindness, compassion, and empathy for young students. As a social studies educator, however, the elementary teacher is engaged in important civic work, and those who fulfill the responsibilities of this role well demonstrate significant leadership attributes, such as gaining trust, creating buy-in and fostering motivation, effective planning for results, self-study as well as “big-picture” thinking. The primary question I will address is: How do elementary school social studies teachers demonstrate and model leadership attributes for young people growing up in an era of deep change? I will explore this question through 3 themes, providing examples from the leadership and change literature as well as educational literature: 1) “Big picture” concern for the greater good; 2) Shaping organizational culture; 3) Focus on learning over performance. I will also explore tensions and issues this question raises, such as the intersection of the business model with the educational sector, and whether certain qualities are unique to leaders in particular fields.



Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: n/a

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