Leadership Hub - Resources for School-based Professional Learning

Creating Differentiated Teacher Learning

For teacher professional learning to be effective in the short term, it needs to help each teacher in your school develop the skills and knowledge needed to impact learning as quickly as possible.  For example, if data show that many Year Three students in your school are not processing print adequately enough to read beginning Year One texts, we need a teacher in that classroom who knows how to teach for reading fluency.  Imagine though that we have a teacher who says she doesn’t feel confident enough in her professional knowledge to teach what the students need.  With all the will in the world, without prerequisite skill on the part of the teacher, effective fluency interventions are unlikely to occur.  In an ideal world, this teacher could access PD on how to develop reading fluency as soon as she knows she and her students need it.  Now consider the teacher next door, who already knows how to support students to develop fluent reading.  She does not need this PD.  It would be a waste of resources to train her to do what she already knows how to do.  Perhaps though, she is struggling to help students learn the skills of analytic writing and has little pedagogical content knowledge to draw on when asking them to create a synthesis piece in a history study.  She needs professional learning that will support her to teach analysis and evaluation more effectively.  
Developing Adaptive Expertise
In the longer term, you can support your teachers to engage in repeated cycles of targeted professional learning so that deep and flexible pedagogical content knowledge develops, enabling them to become more independent in their problem–solving over time.  In this approach, the goal of teacher learning is to develop what Darling-Hammond and Bransford  (2005) have described as “adaptive expertise” and that Reeves (2010) has called “disciplined innovation”.  High quality teacher learning builds knowledge as part of a creative and effective problem solving process.  Teachers develop repertoires of practices and learn to use those practices strategically to meet student need. 

In the Teaching Tools area there are teacher self-study resources that individuals or small groups can use and in this area there coaching resources that you can use to develop workshops to consolidate and extend teacher learning in target areas.




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