Teachers as agents of change

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The Lisbon goals name teachers and education as two strong foundations of a coherent and prosperous society. A strong teacher can develop strong citizens. A teacher who knows how to inspire and to lead change can effectively prepare students for the many challenges of their future. The following projects demonstrate ways teachers can become agents of change within their schools, initiate and lead change processes in their work, and make a difference in their classroom.

Leadership in School

The Leadership in School Erasmus+ project investigated and promoted quality assurance and quality improvement in education as well as raised awareness about the professional profile of the leaders in the education sector.

In a fast-changing world, and one where schools are becoming increasingly responsible for their own development, the two partners of the project, the Senate Administration for Education, Youth and Science of Reinickendorf and the City Council of Vienna, focused on the topic of leadership. Their goal was to highlight the factors that encourage teachers to become leaders who shape education processes.

Following the European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL, 2011-2014), the project aimed to put the basic concepts and conceptual approaches developed there into practice.

The project took place from 2014 to 2016. The main output is a practical guide (in German) for teachers and school leaders that shares examples of good practice and instruments for supporting management. Both practices and instruments were selected bilaterally based on their practical relevance.

The Leadership Academy

The Leadership Academy is a nationwide cross-institutional qualification project of the Federal Ministry of Education of Austria for education leaders (school management, school supervision, school administration, teacher training). It came to life in 2004 in an effort to equip teachers in Austria with leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

The Leadership Academy in Austria is featured as a good-practice example in the School Leadership Toolkit and was also selected by the OECD as an example because of its system-wide approach to leadership development, emphasis on innovation, and demonstration of effective results.

The Leadership Academy offers lectures, practical innovative projects, and interactive project development within the framework of team coaching. Additionally, the Academy encourages networking among the teachers of the different states of the federal republic of Austria.

School Leadership Toolkit – Teacher Leadership

The Teacher Leadership section of the online School Leadership Toolkit states that:

 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. 

This section contains useful exercises for school teachers and leaders to work on either independently or in groups, perhaps as part of a staff training day.