National Week 2012

Make Professional Development Count

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Make professional development count: Consolidate your new learning in practice

How many conferences, professional development seminars, and in-school inservice days you have attended without putting your new learning into practice?

We know it’s not easy. You spend one or two days professionally engaging with like-minded educators, and when you return to school, the chaos and demands of the school day quickly catapults you back into ‘work mode’. When do you get the time to reflect, plan and act on some of the new learning you encountered?

While attending conferences, seminars and workshops are a necessary form of professional development for teachers, particularly when one needs to learn specific new knowledge and skills, the learning experience should not stop when you exit the PD venue.

Making new learning ‘stick’

Research into models of professional learning for teachers highlight that schools should have “an explicit, school-based process for feeding those learnings back into the school” (Victoria OSE, 2005, p. 11). It is important that teachers who have attended external PD activities are given the opportunity to embed their new learning into practice (Desimone, 2011). In other words, a teacher’s professional learning should be built into the day-to-day work of teaching, where new learning is trialled and reflected upon as part of a one’s daily practice.

Larrivee (2000) argues that, “Teacher beliefs are self-generating, and often unchallenged. Unless teachers develop the practice of critical reflection, they stay trapped in unexamined judgments, interpretations, assumptions, and expectations.” (p. 293). She claims the approach to teaching as a critically reflective practitioner “involves infusing personal beliefs and values into a professional identity, resulting in developing a deliberate code of conduct”. It needs to become embedded to ‘stick’.

This embeddedness leads to the development of one’s knowledge, skills and dispositions as a reflective practitioner, as espoused by Schön (1983; 1996). A reflective practitioner is proactive in managing in their own professional learning journey and consciously taking steps to test and trial new ideas in practice.

In fact, York-Barr and colleagues argue that reflective practice will only lead to improvement in schools “when deepened understandings lead to action” (2006, p. 8). How can you achieve this?

Where to get started? Take action with CLiP.it!

The Consolidating Learning in Practice (CLiP) program is unique to Syba Academy. We understand busy educators need scaffolding, instructional support, motivation, and deadlines, just like their students!

The CLiP program provides Syba Academy members with the opportunity to extend the professional learning they gain from attending a Syba course, including seminars, workshops, masterclasses, and in-school inservice days. This involves applying your new learning in your school within one month of attending the Syba Academy course.

The process is simple. Just add a CLiP as an option when registering for a Syba Academy course.

After you have attended the Syba course, you will be required to complete a short proposal form within 7 days, detailing the activities you plan to undertake in your school (in the next month) to consolidate your new learning in practice. Once this is approved, you turn your new learning into new action at school.

This is your opportunity to test out new ideas, discuss your learning and new initiatives with colleagues, and capture evidence of your new learning and your action. At the end of the month you are required to reflect on how you consolidated your new learning in practice, documenting both process and outcomes according to the NSWIT/AITLS professional standards for teachers. This documentation is then submitted for assessment to receive endorsed credit for those professional learning hours completed.

So let’s make professional learning count. Consolidate your learning in practice at school with CLiP.it!

Need more help? Register to CLiP.it!

Wherever you see this icon you can choose to Consolidate your Learning in Practice. You can also CLiP.it! on the day of any eligible Syba Academy course.

For more information, please visit http://www.sybaacademy.com.au/learning/clipit-registration.

References

Desimone, L.M. (2011). A primer on effective professional development. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(6), 68-71.

Larrivee, B. (2000). Transforming teaching practice: Becoming the critically reflective teacher, Reflective Practice, 1(3), pp. 293–307.

Leadership and Teacher Development Branch, Office of School Education. (2005). Professional learning in effective schools: The seven principles of highly effective professional learning. East Melbourne, VIC: Department of Education & Training, State of Victoria. Retrieved https://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/public/teachlearn/teacher/ProfLearningInEffectiveSchools.pdf

Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

Schön, D. (1996). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

York-Barr, J., Sommers, W.A., Ghere, G.S, & Montie, J.K. (2006). Reflective practice to improve schools: An action guide for educators. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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