Teacher Leadership Toolset
for equity and learning

The toolset has been designed to support the development of teacher leadership in school cultures with a flat hierarchy which are undergoing transformation, oriented to equity and learning as the theory of action driving their work with all students. Such deep cultural change requires schools to become learning organizations, in which all professionals see themselves as learners and in which highly effective professionals are recognized and leveraged for improving school quality.





Within every school there is a sleeping giant of teacher leadership that can be a strong catalyst for making changes to improve student learning.
Marilyn Katzenmeyer & Gayle Moller (2009). Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Helping Teachers Develop as Leaders.

Interview on Teacher Leadership with Tanja Westfall Greiter from the National Center of Learning Schools based at University of Innsbruck and the University College of Education of Lower Austria (Interviewed by Silvia Krenn).

What do we mean by teacher leadership?

Teacher leaders are highly effective teachers who accept responsibility beyond classroom instruction for a task or function which contributes to quality development at their school. These teachers act as leading professionals, drawing upon external and experiential knowledge to continually improve their practice with a focus on equity and learning. They are sources of inspiration for their colleagues and ambassadors for their schools.

By taking on a teacher leadership role, teachers “break ranks” and become visible to colleagues as leaders. Where teacher leadership is new, “breaking ranks” in the flat hierarchy typically found in school cultures commonly results in irritation, on a spectrum from speaking up and attracting attention to designed intervention and resistance.

What is teacher leadership?
Teacher leadership is visible in a teacher’s informal and formal role-taking and role-making. Teachers who act informally or formally as teacher leaders take on four roles:
as teachers they are oriented consistently to the achievement of their students,
as professionals they continually develop their own practice in relation to current external and experiential knowledge with a focus on effectiveness,
as role models they inspire colleagues and have a positive influence on others' development, and
as ambassadors they communicate the vision and goals of their school internally and externally.

Purpose of the toolset, its focus and main uses

The purpose of the toolset is to help school developers, school leaders and practitioners develop and implement structures, routines, tools and roles that support the development of learning schools.
The specific focus of this toolset is the development of teacher leadership as a key strategy for school quality, measured by advances in equity and learning.
The toolset is designed on the basis of the following questions:

Who is the toolset for?

Who is the toolset for?

  • Those involved in school development who are responsible for guiding school quality development
  • Those leading change in schools, including regional inspectorates, school principals and teacher leaders
  • What is the toolset for?

    What is the toolset for?

  • To help learn about teacher leadership as a school development strategy oriented to equity and learning as the theory of action driving practice
  • To stimulate reflection leading to practical ideas for supporting and developing teacher leadership in schools, in ways relevant to your context
  • What’s in it?

    What’s in it?

  • An explanation of what teacher leadership is and how it can foster schools as learning organisations
  • Ideas on how distributed leadership can be implemented in schools, how teacher leaders can be supported and how school quality evaluation tools can be used to foster shared leadership
  • How the toolset might be used?

    To share knowledge and expertise about:

    To share knowledge and expertise about:

  • Teacher leadership for equity and learning
  • How teacher leadership can support shared leadership and student learning in schools
  • How you might support the development of teacher leadership in a school, a number of schools or across a school system
  • To use it as a resource about:

    To use it as a resource about:

  • Your understandings of teacher leadership
  • Practical changes you can make to support the development of teacher leadership in a school, a number of schools or across a school system
  • To stimulate ideas on

    To stimulate ideas on:

  • How to energize teacher leadership in your school
  • How to deal with deal with resistance to change