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February 2018
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Quick Tip: 6 Strategies for Improving Teacher Leadership
by Emma Tudor

Teacher leadership involves giving teachers more responsibility in the governance of a school, with more authority in decision-making, and fostering a culture of collaboration to achieve shared goals. According to research, improving teacher leadership in these ways proves to have a direct positive effect on school effectiveness (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006). Teacher leaders have increased confidence, greater self-efficacy, improved morale and motivation, and an increased desire to remain in the profession.  Because the TESOL industry typically attracts an eclectic staff    , it is pertinent for institutions to understand and utilize  varying motivation factors   to maximize their staff’s potential. Here are six ways to create a school environment in which your teachers can thrive.

1. Curriculum and Policies Review

An institution’s educational curriculum and policies are fundamental to the success of student learning. If possible, having teacher input in the review and development process can allow for great opportunities to cultivate an environment of teacher empowerment and leadership. Teacher contributions can also improve the quality of the review, as it is the teachers who have hands-on experience using the curriculum and policies in the classroom. Such input can lead to a sense of ownership, resulting in more positive outcomes.

2. Mentoring

Assign your experienced teachers to buddy up as a mentor with a new teacher. They can work closely to lead the new teacher on issues such as lesson planning, using the curriculum, resources, processes, and administration. This type of mentoring can create a collaborative culture and supportive environment for new teachers and help experienced teachers achieve a sense of responsibility for their team.

3. Recruitment

Having your more experienced teachers involved in the recruitment process gives them a huge sense of empowerment and ownership of the teaching team, while improving moral and motivation. Invite some of your teachers to join teacher recruitment sessions and have input on the hiring decision.

4. Specialty Advising

Notice your teachers who have a special skill and encourage sharing and teaching with their peers. Setting up a scheduled slot where teachers can drop-in to advise and discuss their specialty with their peers, for example with the ‘grammar guru’ or the ‘vocabulary vulture’ etc.

5. Peer Observations

Your teachers can learn a lot from one another by observing each other in the classroom. Encourage teachers to self-reflect on their teaching skill, identify areas where they would like to develop and give them opportunity to observe a peer from whom they can learn this from. For example, a teacher who struggles with teaching grammar observes the ‘grammar guru’ teaching a grammar class.

6. Professional Development

Invite teachers to develop a professional development schedule. Teachers can also assign themselves as the trainer to lead the workshop. If there is any budget for external training, invite teachers to research options and assign the budget as they see fit.


Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (2006). Transformational school leadership for large-scale reform: Effects on students, teachers, and their classroom practices. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 17(2), 201–227.

Emma Tudor has 12 years’ experience within the TESOL industry. Her expertise spans regional academic management, material development, educational resources publication, and teacher training. She has enjoyed a varied TESOL career including working in China, Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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Table of Contents
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7 Ways to Overcome Coteaching Challenges
PACE: Teaching Grammar Through Storytelling
Teaching Pronunciation: Simplicity Is the Key
Quick Tip: 6 Strategies for Improving Teacher Leadership
Get Motivated: Inspirational Quotes for Students
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