Professional Growth

Disciplined Collaboration in Professional Learning

Implementation_innovation_impactThe Disciplined Collaboration in Professional Learning (DCPL) project supported teachers to identify and trial new ways of solving issues related to student learning, engagement and wellbeing. The DCPL approach to professional growth uses data to diagnose a problem related to student outcomes; teachers work collaboratively to solve the problem; and use data to evaluate the extent of their success.

Collaboration occurred throughout the entire enquiry process with teams working together to try out new collaborative strategies while simultaneously trialling and refining new pedagogical approaches.

The ‘disciplined’ component came from utilising the structure outlined in this approach and, in particular, having a clear data-driven focus for choosing a collaborative strategy in order to achieve the identified goal.

DCPL Report 548KB PDF

Project participants

Upon endorsement of the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders (249KB PDF) in August 2012, AITSL committed to providing tools and resources to support the enactment of the PL Charter and to support schools to use what is known about effective professional learning to instigate, implement and evaluate change within their schools.

From November 2012 to December 2013, eight schools across Australia worked with experts Professor Alma Harris and Dr Michelle Jones and AITSL to generate knowledge about the most effective models for collaborative professional learning by implementing a disciplined collaboration approach to professional learning.

The work of the eight schools in implementing the disciplined collaboration approach to professional learning contributed to the development of support materials. The eight schools were:

Eynesbury Senior College, SA
   Sandon Public School, NSW
Glen Dhu Primary School, TAS
   Silverton Primary School, VIC
Holy Rosary Catholic Primary School, VIC
   St Paul's School, QLD
Rossmoyne Senior High School, WA
   St Philip's Christian College, NSW


Disciplined Collaboration in Professional Learning video transcript 69KB RTF


Dr Alma Harris is Professor (Leadership) at the Institute of Education, London. Her research work focuses on organisational change and development. Professor Harris has written extensively about leadership in schools and she is an expert on the theme of distributed leadership.

Dr Michelle Jones has previously worked as an Independent Education Consultant with over 28 years experience working in education. Her most substantive position was that of Principal of a large school in one of the highest areas of deprivation in South Wales, UK.

Professor Harris and Dr Jones are currently working at the University of Malaya (Institute of Educational Leadership) to support and develop professional learning programmes within the region.