2. The Australian (AITSL) approach to professional learning
A. The Charter: The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has outlined its approach to professional learning on its website at http://www.aitsl.edu.au/professional-learning/professional-learning.html. There you can read the Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders. One of its stated aims is that: "Teachers take responsibility for, and actively engage in, professional learning in order to build their capacity and that of others". On page 7 there is a statement that SEAQ particularly endorses: "We need to look for professional learning that ...... offers support to change practice through coaching, mentoring and reflection, and also that ... promotes action research and inquiry and develops teachers as researchers."
B. The Standards: AITSL has spent a number of years in discussion with practising teachers to develop its own set of Professional Standards, based around Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement, along with illustrations of practice. http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/OrganisationStandards/Organisation.
In terms of the use of standards for certification, the AITSL site states that "National certification based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is voluntary and will ensure that teachers, in every system and sector, have access to a rigorous and transparent process that recognises Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers and is portable throughout Australia.
Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers has three primary purposes:
- recognise and promote quality teaching
- provide an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practice
- provide a reliable indication of quality teaching that can be used to identify, recognise and/or reward Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers."
C. The Framework: The Institute has also been working closely with key education stakeholders to develop the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework, which outlines the critical factors for creating a performance and development culture in schools, including essential elements that should be present in all Australian schools. http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/static/docs/6%20AIT%20ATPDFAustralian%20Teacher%20Performance%20And%20Development%20Framework%20ONLINE.pdf. The Framework outlines a cycle that invovles:Professional practice and learning ( All teachers are supported in working towards their goals, including through access to high quality professional learning; Evidence used to reflect on and evaluate teacher performance, should come from multiple sources and include as a minimum: data showing impact on student outcomes; information based on direct observation of teaching; and evidence of collaboration with colleagues)
Feedback and review (All teachers receive regular formal and informal feedback on their performance. This includes a formal review against their performance and development goals at least annually, with verbal and written feedback being provided to the teacher).
Reflection and goal setting (All teachers have a set of documented and regularly reviewed goals related to both performance and development, and ways of measuring progress towards them, that are agreed with the principal or delegate)
SEAQ hopes to assist teachers to go through this cycle through the means of our action-learning program. (more later)