Professional Learning at Wellington
“A bespoke programme of professional learning opportunities for the teaching staff at Wellington College to meet the needs of the College, departments, houses and individuals which is integrated with the Teaching Schools programme and underpinned by a philosophy of evidence-based learning.”
What is Professional Learning?
Educational practice is constantly advancing. Teachers need to keep pace with developments in the professional landscape which directly affect their daily practice. In the past, centralised, mandatory CPD often led to teachers being on the receiving end of this process. Instead, Professional Learning gives teachers control of their own development, directing it towards their interests and giving structure to their career progression. Emphasis is on the word ‘learning’; what can educators learn about their craft and how can they make positive changes to what they do? How can they adopt new techniques and strategies that will give clear benefit to pupils?
Professional Learning begins when teachers ask questions of themselves that lead to new lines of enquiry. A simple example of this process would be to ask:
What do I want to learn more about?
How can I go about this?
Who and what can I learn from?
Who can I share my findings with?
How can I test this learning to evaluate its impact on teaching and learning?
Professional Learning therefore allows teachers to satisfy their curiosity and enhance their knowledge and skills. Of vital importance here is that they choose what they want to learn, rather than being told what training they need. Independence and ownership of the process are key.
What are the key features of Professional Learning at Wellington?
Each teacher at Wellington chooses a focus for the coming academic year from five strands:
They are expected to spend at least 40 hours in the year learning about a particular aspect of their chosen strand. This should not be done in isolation; whatever is learned, must be shared. Importantly, those who have expertise in a particular area and facilitate learning for colleagues can count this as part of their PL hours. All teachers must keep a log of their PL and be able to document the result of their work.
PL can be undertaken in a variety of ways. Opportunities will be advertised via the website, which is updated regularly. Teachers should consider a wide range of learning when approaching their chosen focus. Reading a book, observing lessons, undertaking professional qualifications, attending conferences, blogging – anything that shows a clear and continual engagement with specific purpose will be invaluable.
What is the outcome of this process?
Successful PL will be a core aspect of the Performance and Development Review scheme. In evaluating how teachers perform and what development they have shown, PL is much more instructive than simply looking at exam results or the range of school commitments undertaken. Teachers who show direct intellectual engagement with what they do will always improve their skillset and increase their effectiveness.
Where this has been particularly successful it can be exhibited in a wider arena or lead to new opportunities for career development, such as:
Leading PL session for colleagues
Blogging on the Wellington PL&R website
Involvement in the research project with Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty
Publishing findings in the Wellington Research Journal
Leading sessions for the Teaching School Partnership or at Ed Fest
Pursuing a qualification such as a Masters degree or PhD