Professional Development for Teacher-Leaders
Fullan (20002). The change leader, Educational Leadership 59(8).
Professional learning groups involve teachers working with their colleagues for collaborative learning and problem solving. Research shows that such groups (sometimes called professional learning communities) can be a powerful vehicle for professional development and school improvement. However, not all professional learning groups are effective in generating real change and teacher learning, pointing to the importance of wise leadership to help shape these groups.
NSI’s programme not only promotes professional learning groups but also provides practical support and training for teacher-leaders to ensure that these groups function effectively, leading to meaningful teacher collaboration, school improvement and staff development. Principals select a number of teacher-leaders, whom we support to lead a group of 8-10 teachers through the NSI action research process over the coming year.
The teacher-leader professional development outlined below, and the teacher-leaders’ ongoing work throughout the school year, are grounded in an ‘accompaniment’ model. Accompaniment involves teachers working collegially to improve their teaching practice, using an inquiry mind-set to engage with each other and with research. An accompaniment approach is an ideal way for teacher-leaders to foster active engagement, mutual support and shoulder-to-shoulder learning within professional learning groups. Ultimately, it fosters the informed participation of more and more people in a united effort to improve the school.
Leading professional learning groups
This half-day workshop (led by an NSI Partnerships facilitator) aims to build the capacity of teacher-leaders at the school. During the workshop, teacher-leaders look at literature on professional learning communities and explore practical strategies to empower and engage teachers in professional learning and action research. Teacher-leaders also learn how to administer the online surveys within their school and consider how using the Classroom Climate Questionnaire as part of a professional learning group can provide evidence for the AITSL Professional Standards for Teachers at highly proficient and lead teacher levels.
Before the surveys are administered, we provide an additional free one-hour coaching session by phone or videoconferencing. This session provides teacher-leaders with important information about how to use the survey website and the ways in which they can support teachers during the administration process.
This workshop (led by an NSI Partnerships facilitator) is aimed at helping teacher-leaders to take on a coaching role as they work with a professional learning group of teachers throughout the year. During the workshop, teacher-leaders learn about and practice effective coaching skills.
Teacher-leaders can also benefit from participating in the professional development sessions we offer for teachers.