Practices of and Roadblocks to Teacher Leadership in the United Arab Emirates’ Schools

  •  Shaikah Al-Taneiji    
  •  Ali Ibrahim    


This study investigates teachers’ perceptions of their leadership practices in United Arab Emirates schools and the contextual and personal factors which support or deter them from becoming teacher leaders. The study used a mixed research design. First, a self-administered questionnaire was completed by 937 teachers in one big city in the UAE. Then, individual interviews with ten teachers were conducted. The study found that while certain leadership roles, as measured by the questionnaire items, are often practiced by teachers, other activities such as leading action research or participating in professional groups, are practiced infrequently. Interview data revealed that teachers perceive that school administrators usually encourage them to take on leading roles, but that administrators also rely heavily on “in-group” teachers to take on leadership activities. Further, school contextual factors such as lack of time, language barriers, and style of leadership; or personal factors such as teachers’ assumptions about and willingness to take on additional leadership duties are roadblocks to a full realization of the potential for teacher leadership and its associated benefits in UAE schools. Recommendations on how to foster teacher leadership on a wider scale in the UAE schools are presented.

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