Teacher Leadership in the Arab Gulf:
Western Expats and Arab Teachers Mentor Each Other

Dr. Robin Dada
Zayed University, Dubai, UAE

      The purpose of this study is to describe teacher leadership, including important attributes of teacher leaders, obstacles, and the interplay of mechanistic systems established in the school and a more organic form of teacher leadership between foreign and local teachers in the UAE engaged in educational reform.   This qualitative study uses document analysis to analyze 11 middle level (Grades 6-9) teacher leader weekly reports of their work, successes, and struggles, as well as the field notebook of conversations with principals and teachers of the Academic Program Coordinator for the Middle Schools (the researcher), all of whom were a part of the same systemic school reform program entitled Madares al Ghad.
      The teacher leaders identified important attributes to be relationship building and the ability to really listen to others, while principals and local teachers stated that the most important attributes of the teacher leaders were being positive, being active, willing to listen to others’ ideas, and someone with strong knowledge and skills in their area of expertise.   The most important role perceived by teacher leaders was providing professional development.   More difficult roles for the teacher leaders included the scheduling of planning sessions and workshops in the school.   Obstacles to the role include random scheduling pattern in use and sporadic connectivity in some schools.   The degree of commitment of the principal was wither an asset or a liability.   Productive strategies in working with obstacles included the importance of good working relationships with colleagues and principal, sharing of successes, contribution of skills and knowledge.   The interplay between the organic nature of teacher leaders and the hierarchical nature of educational agencies and organizations was difficult in the...