Teachers are constantly learning and developing their practice. Being targeted about the professional learning your are undertaking can make a huge difference in your professional practice and knowledge, but it can be hard to know where to begin.
Your professional learning should be aligned to your goals as identified through the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, both on an individual basis and in relation to the implementation of whole-school/setting practices and improvement focus areas. It is important to consider your professional learning as being an ongoing and important aspect of your professional growth and performance.
Figure 1: High Quality Professional Learning Cycle
Teachers should keep in mind system/sector and school/setting priorities when determining what professional learning to undertake. Balancing these priorities and goals along with your own individual or classroom-based goals is important. Aligning with your school/setting’s performance and development process is also key to ensuring a cohesive outcome. Your school/setting has likely used a number of data sources to determine their priorities or improvement focus for the year and the same process holds true for your own classroom.
A variety of data sources can be used to identify areas for professional learning including student voice, peer feedback, quantitative datasets, parent surveys and self-assessment tools. Using data on learners' performance can be an effective way to inform professional learning needs that are nuanced to your learners' requirements.
Your colleagues are also a valuable source of feedback. By asking a trusted colleague to observe your practice, you can gain a more objective view of your strengths and areas for development. Alternatively, you may wish to observe a colleague's practice and take note of areas where you would like to emulate their practice, or areas for improvement which you can work on together. Another option is to video record your practice and watch it later. Find out more about these approaches with AITSL’s classroom observation strategies.
Goal setting can help you maintain momentum as you move through professional learning. In addition to other data sources, the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers can be a good place to start when you're setting goals, as they can help you in considering which Standards, focus areas or Descriptors might be areas for development. AITSL’s Teacher Self-Assessment Tool can help with this.
An easy way to make sure your goals are manageable is to use the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-phased. AITSL has produced resources to help you set goals for your performance and development.
The AITSL Teacher Self-Assessment Tool (Teacher SAT) is an interactive resource to help you identify potential areas for improvement and to plan your professional learning. The Teacher SAT has been extensively validated and aligns with the Teacher Standards to best support your growth. After taking the 30-minute questionnaire, the Teacher SAT reveals which career stage you are currently operating at for each focus area of the Standards. This result is based on the responses you have provided in the questionnaire. The information is provided to you in a report which also includes tailored insights to support a teacher's professional growth.
Figure 2: Teacher Self-Assessment Tool
The Teacher SAT provides:
- Familiarisation with the Standards - The Teacher SAT assists you in locating your level of practice against the Standards.
- Self-reflection - The Teacher SAT report provides you with an opportunity to reflect on strengths and weaknesses in your practice whichyou may not have been aware of.
- Performance and development - The Teacher SAT highlights areas for your individual development which may be used to plan upcoming professional learning.
- Preparation for national certification -The Teacher SAT provides you with feedback about where your practice aligns with the Highly Accomplished or Lead career stages.
- Group functionality The group report provides an overview of a cohort’s skills, aligned to the Standards. The information can be used to inform whole school, department or subject area professional learning, planning, and goal setting.
To take the Teacher SAT, go to: https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/improve-practice/teacher-self-assessment-tool