Awakening a sleeping giant in the Arabian gulf: A need for teacher leadership in hierarchical leadership structures

  • Sayyed Rashid Shah English Language Institute, King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah
Keywords: Academic leadership, hierarchical leadership structures, Saudi EFL institutes, teacher leadership, teacher empowerment, top-down management model


This article introduces the concept of teacher leadership in the Saudi EFL context. Teacher leadership is a commonly used term in the western school contexts which aims to empower teachers by making them part of a decision-making stream and giving them opportunities to exercise leadership and influence colleagues, students and school administrators in a bid to improve instructional practices. As Saudi educational institutions mainly operate in rigid hierarchical structures, teachers in leadership roles have limited or no powers to influence change. Keeping in view the significant role of teacher leaders in organisational effectiveness, this paper highlights the importance of teacher leadership in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) of a Saudi Arabian university which has a typical top-down management model. It explains the nature of leadership practices in Saudi higher education institutions and how they may hinder the process of teacher leadership in EFL institutes. The paper also suggests ways that can help the top leadership to foster teacher leadership practices in the Saudi EFL context.


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