School Leadership eCollection

Disciplined Collaboration: Professional Learning with Impact

Jones, M S

Document type:

Without question, high quality professional learning is critical to school and system improvement. A great deal of evidence reinforces that professional learning is the key to improving teacher quality and improving learner outcomes. But effective professional learning is easier said than done. To make any real or lasting difference to pedagogy and professional practice professional learning has to be focused, rigorous and purposeful. 

While we know that collaboration among teachers is a powerful form of professional learning, if it is to have any sustained impact there has to be a clear methodology or theory of action that is consistently used. In summary,professional learning with impact has to be ‘disciplined’(Harris and Jones, 2012). So much of what passes as collaborative professional learning may score high on professional engagement,entertainment or enjoyment but can often rate fairly low on measures of effectiveness, usefulness or impact.

The world of professional learning is full of hyperbole, assumption and commercial opportunism but often woefully devoid of concrete evidence concerning impact and outcomes. In the professional learning literature, the issue of ‘what, if any, difference does professional development or learning actually make’ is not predominantly centre stage. [Introduction]