Tonight’s #ozprimschchat stayed on the theme of @AITSL Standards and discussed Standard 6: Engage in Professional Learnin. As usual, this is topical for me because our school has reinvigorated its Professional Learning Program this year with all staff undergoing PLPs that are directly aligned with AITSL.
While I’ll share my personal progress with this at another time, I find this standard ‘easy’ to achieve because of my passion for Standard 7: Engage Professionally with Colleagues, Parents/Carers and the Community. I find it easy to engage with professional networks, something which has reshaped my career since I discovered Twitter in 2008. This ability of mine to easily share and relate to others has been a massive benefit to me in my teaching, but especially since the introduction of the AITSL standards. Without ranting, I will quickly discuss the highlights of this evening’s chat.
What makes good Professional Learning?
My instant reply to this question was that it needs to be transformative. If we are not a different person when we leave, then nothing lasting has been gained. Discussion on this topic included notions of appropriateness to ability level, class size and length of the course. It looked at the benefit of professional discussions (Standard 7) as well as the despair of attending a PL event that was just not helpful. What rang true most of all is how discussion about this seamlessly led to the second topical highlight;
How is Professional Learning structured in a school?
Our school is (as mentioned above) taking its Professional Learning very seriously this year. All PL is aligned with Professional Learning Plans and staff are being challenged to look within their professional selves and map exactly where they choose to professionally grow. Alongside this is a new initiative to establish Staff Run Professional Learning Days that will replace whole staff sessions at the start of terms. The intention is twofold; Firstly, to take advantage of the expertise and passion that staff have by allowing them to teach their peers; Secondly, to allow staff through this process to exhibit leadership without defined roles; and thirdly, to build a greater culture of sharing professionally amongst staff. OK that’s three, but I could probably keep reeling them off…
The overwhelming concensus from the chat is that Professional Learning works best in a school when there are professional relationships involved. Since learning is a function of social interactions, this makes not only good psychological sense, but it makes things nicer in the workplace. I can categorically state without reservation that a teacher with confidence in the trusting relationships they have with both heir peers and leaders is going to be better than one without.
This paper was also shared and discusses the connection between professional learning and effective teaching practice.
Musings for tonight are over so feel free to peruse tonight’s chat here as well as below.