Teacher Leader KnowledgeBase

The Teacher Leader KnowledgeBase aims to raise awareness of the teacher leader role at the district level and to support teachers aspiring to the teacher leader role through master's degree-level university programs.

Task 1: Learn About Various Approaches/Models to Teacher Leadership

Guideline: There are various approaches to or models of teacher leadership, known as "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor," or "academic coach." However, they do not represent all the leadership roles for teachers. The first step towards understanding teacher leadership is to be aware of these models. This task provides resources to do so.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

This link is to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) website. As noted at its website, NBPTS "was formed in 1987 to advance the quality of teaching and learning by developing professional standards for accomplished teaching, creating a voluntary system to certify teachers who meet those standards and integrating certified teachers into educational reform efforts." While the NBPTS standards focus on content mastery, they do not reflect on a formally designated teacher leader role.

Instructional Coaches

The September 2007 Issue Brief, from the former Center for Comprehensive School Reform, titled "Instructional Coaches" reviews instructional coaching and elements to look for when selecting, preparing, and evaluating coaches.

Instructional Coaching Kansas Coaching Project

This link to the Instructional Coaching Kansas Coaching Project website, maintained by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, provides resources and support for instructional coaching.

Leadership for Student Learning: Redefining the Teacher as Leader

This 2001 report from the Institute for Educational Leadership explores the teacher as leader, identifying challenges impacting the role. The report laid the foundation for further study and thought on the teacher leader role.

Teacher Leadership as a Key to Education Innovation

This link is to the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders website offers an August 2010 Policy-to-Practice Brief exploring teacher leadership. The brief provides an overview of the teacher leader model and recomendations for state and district action.

Teacher Leadership: Leading the Way to Effective Teaching and Learning

This policy brief from the Teachers Network and the Center for Teaching Quality looks at teacher leadership as a way to enhance teaching effectiveness and the teaching profession.

What Makes a Master Teacher

This link is to an article suggesting a set of qualities a master teacher would possess. Though authored by a Canadian school principal, the qualities may have universal applicability.

Element 1: Understand the Teacher Leader Concept

Purpose: A brief from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality on the role of teacher leadership in education innovation states, "Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers, individually or collectively, formally influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices with the goal of increased student learning and achievement." There are different forms of teacher leader roles including "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor," or "academic coach." Element 1 provides overview information on the approaches to and models of teacher leadership.

Activity 1: Be Aware of Teacher Leader Approaches and Models

Activity 2: Study Organizational Dynamics

Element 2: Prepare to Be a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher aspiring to be a "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor" or "academic coach" should first investigate the nature of such role, how the role might fit with his or her abilities, and identify the associated educational and certification/licensure requirements of each role. Element 2 provides information to assist a teacher in preparing for a teacher leader role.

Activity 1: Explore Teacher Leader Role

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Element 3: Recruit Teacher Leaders

Purpose: To recruit teacher leaders effectively, a district needs to have a plan of action. The plan should identify the teacher leader role within the district, define the prerequisites for the role, and reflect applicable state standards or certification or licensure guidelines and an awareness of educational programs providing course work associated with the teacher leader role. Element 3 provides resources to assist the district in developing such a plan.

Activity 1: Determine Teacher Leader Roles

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Element 4: Act as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher in a peer leadership role helps colleagues improve their professional practice, supports collaboration and instructional strategies, and encourages professional learning. Fulfilling these roles successfully is the essence of teacher leadership. Element 4 provides resources to assist in becoming an effective teacher leader.

Activity 1: Act as a Peer Mentor/Coach to Improve Professional Practice of Colleagues

Activity 2: Support Collaboration and Instructional Strategies

Activity 3: Advocate for Professional Learning

Element 5: Improve as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: Teachers in leadership roles must attend to their own continuing professional learning to enhance their abilities to support colleagues to improve their instructional capabilities. Teacher leaders could have a dual teaching role, one with their students and the other with their peers. Element 5 provides resources to assist teacher leaders in addressing their professional learning.

Activity 1: Develop Individual Professional Learning Plan