What I Live, What I Love, What I Learn

Teaching and learning. Professional learning. Leading learning. All of this means nothing without achieving better student learning. And so I begin the challenge of developing a Teaching & Learning (TL) Professional Learning program to develop staff at my school to better support student learning at my school. Simple, right?

Status update on where my school is currently. Up until two years ago, our TL programs for staff development have had a strong Gifted and Talented education focus and a significant ICT focus, underpinned by the Quality Teaching model. So we’ve covered it all? In parts, but not completely. I still feel that there are many gaps and staff are all at very different stages of their own development in terms of new teaching and learning skills in the classroom. New staff with new skills and varied experiences have also joined the school. So why not capitalise on this and individualise for a change?

So here’s the basic model I’ve come up with and I would very much appreciate any feedback, suggestions and comments. I’m thinking kind of like specific Personal Learning Plans, but with the sole purpose of staff analysing their own TL headspace.

Designed to focus on what individual teachers want to learn and improve in their teaching space (hence the ‘space’ theme) and called ‘Launching Learning’, here’s what I have so far:

Discovery Strand:

  1. PARTICIPATE in a ‘pay-it-forward’ style of lesson observation
  2. OBSERVE a lesson once a semester by another teacher (preferably out of faculty) based on class/year group, ICT use/new activity. Lesson choice to be about a teaching element, rather than content/subject
  3. ENGAGE in discussion with the teacher of that lesson to enable reflection and analysis of the lesson observed
  4. NOMINATE a lesson once a semester to be observed by any teacher in the school
  5. ENGAGE in discussion with the observer of that lesson to enable reflection and evaluation of the lesson taught.

Challenger Strand:

  1. IDENTIFY an area of faculty skill development (classroom focus) as outlined in Faculty Management plans, in alignment with School Management Plan.
  2. ESTABLISH one faculty workshop per semester to focus on specific skill development for the classroom as deemed a priority by the HT’s & faculty i.e. classroom management, new/improved use of ICT elements
  3. REFLECT on the Discover Strand activities in TARS (Teacher Assessment and Review Schedule) meetings

I would also like to award badges, based on space mission badges, for staff achievement via out Edmodo group based on participation in the above processes and other Professional Learning activities.

Still working out the finer points, but planning to officially launch the program soon – so T minus three weeks and counting!


Comments on: "Mission: Teaching and Learning Headspace" (10)

  1. jonesytheteacher said:

    Hey Clarinda!
    That looks like great aspirational framework for motivated teachers to take ownership for their lifelong professional learning..have you guessed where I going to next? 🙂
    What about the people who always stay within their comfort zone? How do you ensure they keep moving forward, instead of tracing over their plan from last year? I guess it comes down to their relationship with you, and the balance of aspiration and imperative in your school expectations…
    I’m keen to see where you get with your project. Good luck! – Jonesy

    • Hi Jonesy,

      Excellent point! I’m hoping that the majority of teachers will want to take part. A little idealistic but I know not everyone will. However, the plan is to pique people’s interest and keep it fairly light and non-threatening. The intention of the lesson ‘hook’ via class, activity or tool will be the focus.

      Thank you for your comment and practicality 🙂


  2. Love it Clarinda! National teaching standards could so easily be worked into that by New Scheme Teachers. Discovery = Graduate/Proficient, Challenge = Accomplished/Lead? Will follow your journey with interest as always!

    • Hi Matt,

      Good idea. Will look into this for Phase 2. I like that thinking though!

      Thank you for your comment and encouragement 🙂


  3. Sounds great Clarinda and similar to some things I have been thinking or trying to initiate this year . I am a believer in staff identifying in a Term 1 Portfolio or reflection of the previous year , what they wish to learn more about or focus on -your challenger strand is cool and the wording takes it to a new level .

    My new team filled in a refection of the past 12 months for me , helped me to get to know them more and their goals and a PLP . I really like the idea you have of blending this with the observations in such a collaborative way . I always encourage new staff to observe a variety of practice and think that even within KLAs we miss opportunity to learn and observe sometimes . The pay it forward idea is fab !

    I have had requests from early career and new teachers to come in and visit my classes already and plan to do this soon ( settling into my new school 🙂 ) I think there is definitely a need to share and talk more like this and it’s been my experience this year that there are many eager for it too . Making the PL real , personal and relevant makes the TARs process just one aspect of a system to support and grow professionally , i like that this is not threatening and provides opportunity for staff see it as more than “tick a box ” -which unfortunately TARs can become ….

    Great post 🙂

    • Hi Carla,

      I like the ideas that you are taking into your setting.

      I think tailoring PL & TARS based on needs/career stage of staff is something that often gets overlooked in schools. The balancing act of mandatory activities, tick-a-box TARS and ‘in’ things can lead to a poor one-size-fits-all approach with little achievement.

      We constantly seek student engagement for learning and improvement, staff need the same encouragement and opportunities.

      Thank you for your comment and looking forward to following your program too 🙂


  4. I love the ideas here, especially the strands.
    My only suggestion is to have links to the NSWIT standards because most of these (all even) can be used as evidence – everybody wins.

    • Hi Malyn,

      Great idea! Will hold off on this across the board for initial implementation but will trial with our few New Scheme beginning teachers.

      Thank you for suggestion and comment 🙂


  5. Hi Clarinda, this looks great! I like how you have used language to make the program sound so appealing and inviting and pitched it at different levels and needs. I also like that you have made it once a semester, which is not intrusive and is an achievable commitment of time and energy outside the classroom. Love to hear how you go.

    We are having an info session this week at school with those who are interested – quite a few aspirational teachers, which is what we expected and hoped for. We are starting with a buddy program of co-planning, observation of strategy in action, feedback session. Am aiming to also introduce a model of peer coaching. As it is purely voluntary I am banking on the positive feedback of those in the group to make others curious and willing!

    I am wondering about a logisitical issue that I am facing – will teachers be released to observe and reflect at your school or is that to be done in their own free periods? Also, is participation mandatory at your school?

    Let’s keep in touch! thanks for posting this,

    • Hi Alix,

      Great ideas that you have there for BBHS. I really like your approach and the hope that successful experiences will hook others in.

      Participation will not be mandatory but strongly encouraged. Teachers will not be given release time officially. However, faculties may need to use their buddy system occasionally to accommodate. The plan is a 20-30min observation and an informal meeting with staff member for reflection. Trying to keep it accessible and flexible in structure initially. This may not work but I love a good bit of positive thinking accompanied by trial and error. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment and let’s definitely keep in touch!


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