Helen Timperley - Section One to Five

Section one - Focus on valued learning outcomes

Professional learning experiences that focus on the links between particular teaching activities and valued student outcomes are associated with positive impacts on those outcomes
Scenario - In a large urban secondary school, teachers are learning how to use powerpoint in a series of compulsory professional development sessions being run in professional learning time on a Wednesday afternoon. Teachers are actually delighted with new found skills and are proud to demonstrate their learning by presenting with powerpoint to students in their lessons. Students do not share their teachers’ enthusiasm and are beginning to feel powerpointlessness as in each lesson they attend, they find yet another presentation.
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A. Reading for Meaning

  1. What are the links teachers have to understand about the purpose of their own professional learning ?
  2. What key points are made about learning outcomes and teacher expectations?
  3. How is responsibility for the learning of all students heightened and developed by teachers?
  4. What dangers do school leadership need to avoid?

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B. Personal Reflection


Are professional development activities in your school directly linked to student learning outcomes so that teachers can make a direct correlation from their own learning to that of their students?

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C. Contribution to the Group


You can do this in two ways:
  1. Add your thoughts to the Voicethread below in response to the question prompt on the Voicethread. Need help to do this? See the instructions on the 'Voicethread page'.
  2. Respond to the question prompt by contributing to the forum topic in the Discussion tab.





Section two - Worthwhile Content

The knowledge and skills developed in teacher professional learning are those established as effective in achieving valued student outcomes.

Summary
  • Professional knowledge and skills that have a positive impact on student outcomes come from an evidence base not simply from policy
  • Context specific approaches to teacher learning develop teaching practices consistent with effective teaching and also enable teachers to transfer the principles into their practice.

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Personal Reflection


Why is it important for professional learning to be context specific?
Reflect on the professional development in your school/cluster/organisation. Does it take account of the above principles?




Section three - Integration of Knowledge and Skills

The integration of essential teacher knowledge and skills promotes deep teacher learning and effective changes in practice
Scenario - Cluster X comprises of several ICT PD schools being facilitated by an external provider. An excellent structure for professional learning has been put in place. Regular visits are made to each of the schools to assist staff in small group or 1-1 sessions on any particular ICT skills staff wish. Sessions have included the use of word, powerpoint. using digital cameras, how to use the new data projectors etc. The facilitator has excellent personal rapport and staff are really enjoying and getting value from the sessions. In addition another facilitator, selected by the provider, has run an all day session on implementation of the curriculum. Teachers found the symposium style delivery long and tedious. The Principals of the cluster are happy take a lead in the cluster, but are very grateful from a workload perspective to have the cluster being managed externally. However they are concerned that the formula for ongoing development may not yet be quite right.
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A. Reading for Meaning


1. What are the essential teacher knowledge and skills?
2. Why are assessment knowledge and skills important?
3. Why is pedagogical content knowledge important?
4.Why is the integration of theory and practice important?
5.What is wrong with a skills only approach?
6.What is wrong with a theory only approach?
7. What then must be taken into account when designing professional learning opportunities for teachers?

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B. Personal Reflection


Does your leadership team consider these issues when designing professional learning opportunites for staff.
What methods do you/could you use in planning professional learning to ensure these principles are taken into account?

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C. Contribution to the Group


You can do this in two ways:
  1. Add your thoughts to the Voicethread below in response to the question prompt on the Voicethread. Need help to do this? See the instructions on the 'Voicethread page'.
  2. Respond to the question prompt by contributing to the forum topic in the Discussion tab.




Section four - Assessment for professional inquiry

Scenario - Teachers in the upper syndicate/English department at school X have been concerned for some time about the low confidence in oracy exhibited by students. The annual speech competition doesn’t attract nearly the numbers it used to a few years ago. Many students lack confidence in speaking in front of a group and generally students are hesitant at participating in class discussion. The school is part of an ICT PD cluster and is focusing on learning through elearning.

The head of syndicate/department plans an approach to change this culture of reluctance amongst students, to enhance student confidence and to engage students, using more attractive current technologies.

He poses the questions:
  • Is the problem perceived or real? How do we know?

  • What do our students need to learn?

  • What do we need to learn to promote the learning of our students?

  • What is the nature of the content and the understandings to be developed?

  • What skills need to be refined

  • How will we assess what is happening?

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A. Reading for Meaning

  1. What must teachers identify to assist their students to achieve valued outcomes?
  2. What is often missing from models of professional learning that focus on stuctures and processes?
  3. Why do teachers need sophisticated assessment skills?
  4. Why is self regulation important for teacher professional learning and what will support its development?
  5. What kinds of assessment practice are conducive to professional inquiry?

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B. Personal Reflection


What sorts of assessment practice are used in your school for professional learning and for what purposes?
Are reflective and self regulatory practices used with staff?
Are these practices carried into the classroom with students?
How do such processes connect to what professional learning teachers need to undertake?

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C. Contribution to the Group


You can do this in two ways:
  1. Add your thoughts to the Voicethread below in response to the question prompt on the Voicethread. Need help to do this? See the instructions on the 'Voicethread page'.
  2. Respond to the question prompt by contributing to the forum topic in the Discussion tab.




Section five - Multiple Opportunities to Learn and Apply

To make significant changes to their practice, teachers need multiple opportunities to learn new information and understand its implications for practice in environments where there is both trust and challenge.
Scenario - Teachers from several rural schools have come together for a professional development day for the first time, part way through the second year that cluster Z has been operating. Principals have found it difficult to operate cohesively across distance. One of the intentions was that distance technologies would enable the principals and groups of teachers to share more regularly than has happened. There are some excellent practitioners amongst the teachers and at the recent teacher only day, workshops were offfered in the use of web2.0 tools. A group has enthusiastically embraced the concepts of using web 2.0 tools particularly in science based learning. They are concerned about options for keeping their learning and enthusiasm alive once they are back in their own schools and have set up a wiki space in order to continue to share collaboratively.
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A. Reading for Meaning

  1. Why are multiple opportunities needed to absorb new ideas?
  2. How should these opportunities be designed?
  3. Why is it important to have an extended timeframe over which activities occur?
  4. Why are both trust and challenge important?
  5. The question of engagement is a complex one. What does the research evidence suggest about engagement?

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B. Personal Reflection


1. Is professional learning in your school premised on the following elements?
  • rationale for participation
  • identified student needs
  • important content
  • engagement in meaningful activities
2. Are multiple opportunites offered for mastery?
3. How are staff encouraged to take part? (Volunteer, conscription, reward, requirement of appraisal processes etc?)

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C. Contribution to the Group


You can do this in two ways:
  1. Add your thoughts to the Voicethread below in response to the question prompt on the Voicethread. Need help to do this? See the instructions on the 'Voicethread page'.
  2. Respond to the question prompt by contributing to the forum topic in the Discussion tab.


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