I have been thinking a lot about professional learning lately. Changes in my role, the expansion of my PLN and unique collaborative opportunities have all contributed to this thinking. Professional learning has always been critical to who I am as a teacher, I value the opportunities for collaboration, challenge and growth as a teacher and a person that come from being an active participant in professional learning. Recently moving from classroom teacher to school leader has meant I am much more aware of my responsibility for our school’s collective effectiveness.
In the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders from AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership), the stated aim is to “change the professional practice in ways that improve the learning, engagement and wellbeing of every student in Australia.” An essential part of this is reframing professional learning in schools for maximum impact and sustainable change.
As a teacher of many years experience, I have no doubt that teachers DO want to take responsibility for and be actively engaged in professional learning.
As a school leader, I know how essential it is that we engage in and model effective professional learning and empower teachers in the building of a learning and development culture in schools and system wide.
I couldn’t agree more that professional learning needs to be relevant, collaborative and future focused.
I know from experience that professional learning between the hours of 3.45 and 5.00 is not necessarily the most successful option. I firmly believe that all teachers really do want to improve their practice and student learning outcomes – we just need to find the time, place, method, group, learning opportunity … that works for each individual.
My big questions are …
- How do we actually make this happen?
- What does effective professional learning look like in schools?
- What are the realities?
- How are schools, leaders and teachers providing professional learning opportunities in schools that actually work?
- What has been done in your school to build a culture that values professional learning.