Effective professional learning

10 APRIL 2020

What are the benefits of professional learning for teachers? And how can we cultivate an effective professional learning culture?

These questions are addressed in The Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders. Researched and prepared by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, the Charter describes professional learning as a “shared responsibility and commitment”.

According to the Charter, research shows that professional learning is important in changing teacher and school leader behaviour to improve student outcomes.

The Charter features three very clear sections

  1. the importance of learning and improving professional knowledge, practice and engagement of teachers and school leaders to improve learner outcomes
  2. the expectation that teachers and school leaders actively engage in professional learning throughout their careers
  3. a description of the characteristics of a high quality professional learning culture deliberately cultivated to ensure that teachers and educational leaders get the most from their commitments to professional learning.

The Charter takes a considered approach to defining this highly important activity and is supported by strong academic evidence.

The Charter in action

Purposeful professional learning for teachers and school leaders is one of the most effective strategies for improving student outcomes in our schools. The professional learning undertaken will vary to suit the context and priorities of teachers, schools and sectors, but the imperative to engage actively in high quality professional learning remains the same.

Changing culture and professional practices requires sustained effort, but the clear message of the Charter is that the results will be worth the effort. High quality professional learning is central to improving the quality of teaching, and therefore learning outcomes.