A multi-colored graphic that explains the tenets behind Teaching As Collective Leadership

What is Teaching As Collective Leadership?

Teaching As Collective Leadership (TACL) is an actionable and locally customizable framework for teachers, teacher coaches and program designers to grow students as leaders of a better future for themselves, for their communities, and for all of us.

Five girls in blue dresses, one wearing a white head scarf, face the camera clutching mathematics workbooks Five girls in blue dresses, one wearing a white head scarf, face the camera clutching mathematics workbooks

Why Do We Need It?

Today’s children will inherit a challenging world. To create a more just, equitable, and sustainable society, they will need to navigate uncertainty, collaboratively solve complex problems, and create meaningful careers in a changing economy.

And yet, too many children experience education models that are:

  • designed to achieve narrowly defined academic goals, sometimes at the cost of other important student leadership outcomes
  • dismissive of the critical importance of community values and cultural identities to helping students realize their potential
  • uninformed by a revolution in the science of learning and development.

Teaching As Collective Leadership is an attempt to meet this challenge by learning from classrooms where students seem to be on a path to fulfilling their potential as leaders of a better future. 

The Framework

Over the last several years, Teach For All’s Global Learning Lab has hosted thousands of “virtual visits” to transformational classrooms around the world. We’ve asked participants in those experiences what patterns they see in those classrooms and communities where students seem to be growing as leaders of a better future. The Teaching As Collective Leadership framework is emerging from these insights.

Our investigations revealed four key patterns, which form the structure of the framework: 

What aims, or vision of student success, should our classrooms pursue—and who decides that purpose and how?

We center our core purpose around an ambitious and contextually relevant student vision. From this vision comes everything—our organizational goals, priorities, and strategy. We didn’t create this vision from within the walls of our office. Instead, we engaged our Fellows, teachers, students, parents, and community members from 85 of our partner communities.

 - Larisa Hovannisian, CEO, Teach For Armenia


What perspectives characterize teachers in classrooms where students are growing as leaders of a better future?

If we are trying to change the kids (rather than the system), we are essentially trying to play the existing game better rather than challenging the rules of the game.

Cheryl Chin, Teach For Malaysia

What strategies and actions distinguish teachers in these classrooms?

It turns out, if you are a teacher working to help students improve their lives and their communities’ futures, and you do things very differently than teachers who are working to raise test scores.

 - Franco Mosso, Founder, Enseña Perú

How can we know students are growing as leaders?

Ongoing Development and Collaboration

TACL has, and continues to be developed collaboratively through a collective process of discovery and design. So far, over 3,500 students, teachers, teacher coaches, community members, program designers, CEOs, researchers, and policy makers from across and beyond our network have contributed to our crowd-sourced studies of transformational classrooms and work on creating actionable and contextualized tools and resources