Professional learning for school teachers is key

20 FEBRUARY 2019

The Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) has welcomed the findings of a report into professional learning for school teachers released by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO).

The audit examined whether VIT and the Department of Education and Training (DET) have a clear and accurate understanding of the professional learning that occurs in Victorian government schools, including its planning, cost and impact, so they can best target and support professional learning to drive better student outcomes.

VIT CEO Peter Corcoran said the findings provide significant observations about teacher professional learning that can be incorporated into VIT’s current transformation plan.

“The review of VIT conducted by Penny Armytage recommended that VIT expand its activities beyond a narrow focus on compliance, towards actively working with the profession to educate teachers and the community about teacher quality,” Peter said.

‘VAGO’s report reinforces the importance of this approach to regulation in relation to teacher professional learning.”

Peter said the VIT developed the 2018-20 Strategic Plan and vision in response to the Armytage Review, with the objective ‘to enable quality teaching and the best educational outcomes’, including showcasing best teaching practices and using data proactively to identify improvement opportunities.

“VAGO’s report has echoed these themes, and VIT has already commenced work towards its vision for all Victorian children and young people to have the best teachers,” he said.

The following actions are being implemented by VIT in relation to the observations contained within the report:

  • business system redevelopment to provide greater data capture and analysis within a broader professional environment to understand teacher professional learning needs
  • policy and process review for renewal of registration audit (in particular the 20 hours of professional learning currently required) to determine whether there are more effective ways that VIT can facilitate professional learning of teachers
  • development of resources and best practice examples of teaching practice
  • newly appointed Principal Practitioner, aiming to bring a teacher learning perspective beyond analysis of data.

VIT currently provides support to assist professional learning including:

  • required professional learning by Victorian teachers on special needs as part of their annual registration requirements

–  research shows that 95% applied their new learning in their practice as a teacher, with 73% indicating it had a positive impact on learning outcomes for their learners with disability. Learn more here.

  • in conjunction with DET, conducting effective mentor training for teachers and early childhood teachers across the State to support the learning of new teaching professionals.

The Victorian Institute of Teaching is committed to reform that develops its understanding of how teachers and early childhood teachers perceive, practice and prioritise professional learning across Victoria, and how to best support teachers in this endeavour.   

Read the full report here.