The Role of School Leadership on Teacher Development in Select Private Schools in Abu Dhabi

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The National Agenda of the UAE seeks to develop the current status of education into a First-Rate Education System. The ambitious goal requires rigorous transformation of schools in the UAE. In order to reach this goal, educational leadership is tasked with raising student achievement at or above international standards. Teacher development is a key area of focus to reaching this goal, as the government strives to have 100% of its’ schools staffed with high quality teachers. While there are measures in place to improve teacher qualifications at the district level, leadership at the school level have a large role in developing teachers to the status of high quality. The UAE teacher workforce hails from diverse educational and experiential backgrounds, which in some capacities is a strength, but can in some cases create difficulties in understanding where development is needed or pose large gaps in pedagogy and practice. The teacher workforce is also an incredibly transient population with relatively high turnover rates, making long-term teacher development strategies difficult to implement. This study aims to investigate how Principals, embodying characteristics of transformational leadership, in private schools in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, are working to ensure they are developing their teachers toward the high-quality standards set by the ministry. The study will present data from six different schools at varying performance levels, to identify best practices of leadership that are driving school improvement. The study will also measure how the teachers at this school are performing on emirate specific deficits in teacher performance. The study found that there are common practices used amongst these leaders that are developing high quality teachers and high student achievement or that are making measurable growth in these areas. One of the key commonalities among leaders is the use of teacher and distributed leadership. All leaders aimed to empower staff and utilize the human capital. Findings also suggest that student population, recruitment and budget may play a role in the rate of development of teachers.
UAE education, teacher development, educational leadership, Abu Dhabi private schools, United Arab Emirates (UAE), student achievement, transformational leadership