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The power of a professional conversation

Professional conversations are invaluable in improving teacher practice.

The Inquiry model used by VIT to demonstrate how to improve teacher practice is based on the model of Professor Helen Timperley from the University of Auckland. This model acknowledges that teaching is a fast moving and highly diverse context in which teachers need to not only be knowledgeable, but adaptable.

Professional conversations between a provisionally registered teacher and their mentor or experienced colleague are a vital part of the inquiry process. But they are valuable above and beyond this process, as a way to continue to build on a teacher's professional practice.

"Professional conversations are crucial, we learn socially from each other… conversations are like the oil that seeps through everything we do… they are the way we communicate and learn from one another and they are absolutely essential to the development of adaptive expertise."

Prof. Helen Timperley, University of Auckland

AITSL website

A professional conversation can be both formal and informal. They are the discussions that take place during scheduled meetings as well as the incidental staff room discussions about lessons that did or didn’t go to plan. They are the wonderings about a different approach and the feedback that teachers give each other.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) commissioned Professor Timperley to produce guidelines for teachers who are looking to maximise the learning from their professional conversations. Visit the AITSL website to read more about enablers for effective professional conversations.

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