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.
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.
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.
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.
Guideline: Possessing effective observational skills is important in instruction as well as leadership. A teacher in a leadership role needs strong observational skills to help colleagues enhance instructional skills. This task provides resources to assist in gaining such awareness.
This link is to a series of classroom oberservation tools from Learning Point Associates. These tools are intended for literacy coaches when working with secondary content-area teachers. As noted at this website, "these tools provide coaches with protocols that will make observations and conversations uniform, thorough, engagingâ€”and most importantly, research-based." Though intended for literacy coaches, the concepts employed may be useful to teachers in other leadership roles.
This link is to a tool to strengthen observational skills provided at the ASSIST project website. The ASSIST project is supported by a partnership with Michigan State University and the Michigan State Board of Education through funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
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.
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.