12 May 2017
According to Dr Ben Jensen of the Grattan Institute, ‘The world’s highest-performing school systems provide time for teachers to be mentored, research best practice, have their classes observed and receive constructive feedback on their performance’ (2014). At Glennie over the next couple of terms teachers will be working in small groups; discussing students’ engagement, observing each other teach and giving constructive feedback. This is a powerful tool for collaborative professional development and, thus student learning.
Teachers will observe and be observed teaching, with emphasis on giving and receiving feedback about student engagement in class.
The professional learning groups are each made up of teachers across all sub-schools and faculties, allowing for much collaboration and collegiality across the entire school.
What teachers do in the classroom is always student centred and we are guided by The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These comprise seven Standards which outline what teachers should know and be able to do. The Standards are interconnected, interdependent and overlapping.
They are grouped into three domains of teaching: Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement. In practice, teaching draws on aspects of all three domains, keeping the student as the focus in each.
1: Know students and how they learn
2: Know the content and how to teach it
3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
5: Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
6: Engage in professional learning
7: Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/ carers and the community
The domains constitute agreed characteristics of the complex process of teaching. AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) is supportive of a collaborative learning culture to help teachers engage with the domains and support each other in ensuring that student learning of the highest standard is occurring.
According to AITSL you will know your school’s professional learning culture is collaborative when:
- teachers engage in frequent, ongoing formal and informal conversations about pedagogy and teaching practice
- teachers work together to research, plan and design effective teaching strategies and programs
- teachers engage in professional dialogue to evaluate and modify teaching strategies and programs
- teachers engage in regular classroom observation and feedback and can articulate how changes in their practice impact on student outcomes
- there is collective ownership of learning goals and outcomes, for both the individual and whole-school
- teachers undertake leadership roles that include initiating and leading professional discussions with colleagues to evaluate practice collaboration is prioritised and sufficient time is given to investing in the practice