Professional Learning that matters

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.
I am interested to hear about creative time tabling, effective use of time, challenges to accepted practice, collaboration within school, across schools across systems, anything that empowers teachers, empowers leaders and has an impact on student learning. By sharing ideas and collaborating on building effective practice my hope is that we can begin to reclaim our image as professionals and support each other to be relevant, collaborative future focused teachers.

SO ….. Professional learning

share an experience that worked for you or in your school.

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2 Responses to Professional Learning that matters

  1. Celia Coffa says:

    Great questions Margo. I agree that the formal allocated times for PL opportunities are not always the best.
    Over the past term, we have been exploring the idea of Personal Inquiries for staff and will now work towards Professional Inquiries. Our staff have loved the opportunity to have time to explore an area of their own genuine professional interest and need. The content has been as varied as the staff and sharing has been very worthwhile. It is an idea in it’s infancy but so far I am encouraged to continue.
    Allowing choice and time are important elements in effective Professional learning, however there remains a need for self-direction and motivation from teachers as well.
    I look forward to others ideas.

  2. Pingback: Changing the face of professional learning | SCOTT DUNCAN

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