Dinham on effective professional learning
Following his keynote address at the Excellence in Professional Practice Conference (EPPC) on the Gold Coast, Professor Stephen Dinham AO sat down with Teacher editor Jo Earp to offer advice on effective professional learning and action research.
When crafting a professional development program, Dinham suggested that schools begin by asking: What are the student needs of the school? He says this helps staff to identify how effective they are in meeting those needs and where the deficiencies lie.
‘What I would suggest is maybe two or three priorities at the most –14 is too many – and that if you can do those well, get people involved, then people can see that these things are making a difference when you put them into place,’ he says.
‘The other thing that’s worked very effectively is where schools have actually allocated some quality time to professional learning and managed to keep the “administrivia” out of staff meetings as much as possible. I think that sends a message that professional learning is core business.’
On the issue of collaboration, Dinham says that the best professional learning takes place when people work together to address a common goal or issue.
‘…Collaboration is absolutely the key because people have got different skills and different knowledge and they can really help each other. It can’t be individuals and individual classrooms,’ he says.
Professor Dinham says that the best professional learning takes place when people work together to address a common goal or issue.
As a school leader, do you design professional learning opportunities that allow staff to collaborate and share ideas?
As an educator, how does working collaboratively on professional learning enhance the experience? Do you find it more effective to work collaboratively with colleagues towards a common goal, rather than working independently?