Professional Learning

For this week’s assignment I have chosen to construct my own personal learning plan. (Option 2)

I admit that my experience over the last 20 years or so has been that professional development meant going to a conference. Mostly the learning (if any) that happened wasn’t derived from the leader, but rather the other participants. This has always struck me as appropriate, but this assignment has caused me to realise that it would be better to start with a “participant” group and skip out the leader almost entirely.

There are two avenues for my personal learning plan – the first and perhaps more appropriate to the two models are regarding Chemistry teaching. The second avenue is to build / join a leadership network.  

As a Teacher

As I always hate to be constrained to a single model, I prefer to pull the best aspects out and synthesise a new mode of learning that is tailored to me.

In last week’s post, I identified more with TPACK simply because I felt the SAMR model was more descriptive of a status rather than a means to improve. Having said that I will start with SAMR; or at least the redefinition level as it does however provide a roadmap.

There are a few posters available online (1, 2, 3) that highlight what applications are appropriate for the Redefinition phase.  

My first stage of development is to collate a list of the various apps that by definition reach to the upper levels.  Then applying the TPACK model, I will try to bring the uppercircle into the centre to produce the synergistic overlap.

Our school has subscribed to Microsoft 365 and just as there is GoogleClassroom etc, I have found that Microsoft offers some advice as well, and having looked at it, I realise that I am already part way down the path. So this should be easy to follow up. Our school, well, our department has implemented OneNote for Classrooms and it has been met with a good deal of success, however, I can see that we are still stuck in a teacher centered (SAMR level “A”) situation, where the OneNote has replaced photocopied handouts – at least we are environmentally friendly.

As a Leader

The first quote in our weekly notes was:

“The more reflective we are, the more effective we are.”

Pete Hall

For the leadership, the feels a bit different as there probably aren’t many apps or websites that have this content, so this will principally be about connecting to a variety of blogs and twitter feeds.  I already have created a blog site ( in advance of this course for this purpose, but now struggle with how to connect all of the feeds into one place so that I have as much coming in as I am re-broadcasting.

Lakowski (Laskowski , 2018) points out that Twitter is a very useful tool in building and joining an online community.  I already have a twitter account but it has lain fallow for about 4 years.  Stage 2 will be to reach out to some educators about the various apps and the subjects they are more likely to support.

To blog or not to blog, that is the question…

While  I never subscribed to diaries, journals or now blogging, I recognise that a blog is a way of me forcing myself to reflect on my professional learning and growth, and the reflective nature of blogging will push me to assimilate ideas and build a stronger educational philosophy.

Tomlinson raises several very valid points

Teacher learning must focus on ensuring excellent learning for each student.

Expectations for learning should be clear to both leaders and teachers.

Plans should provide options about the place, time, format, and structure of the learning.

Learning should be tied closely to the classroom.

Learning should contribute directly to a teacher’s understanding of the big picture of student learning

Plans should provide options about the place, time, format, and structure of the learning.

(Tomlinson, 2018)

The expectation for professional development should mirror expectations for good teaching practice.  If schools are to be encouraged to work towards student-centric models with bespoke individual plans and goals, so should teacher improvement initiatives. However while it may be easy to find opportunities to have professional development in curriculum content areas, I am not sure about leadership – I will have to cast a larger net.Brian K. Jones has a very realistic view of the perspective of the teachers during a professional development session. He posits that while it is good practice to have a traditional lesson plan, a PD session needs to have a very specific topic that teh teachers will find immediately valuable to their practice.


How can leadership professional development have the same model as classroom teacher training which is connected to classroom practice?

What opportunities are there for leadership professional learning that are offered in a more formal (face-to-face) style.

Can Leadership professional learning utilize technologies other than social networking to improve practice?

  1. Laskowski , T. (2018). Secrets of the Edu-Twitter Influencers. Educational Leadership, 76(3), 44–58.
  2. Tomlinson, C. A. (2018). On to Grow On / Help Teachers Become Master Learners. Educational Leadership, 76(3), 88–89.

2 thoughts on “Professional Learning

  1. Hi Cameron,
    As I was reading this week a made a note to myself, “Should I make a professional Twitter account?” It seems like many of us grapple with how exactly we should interact with technology as a part of our own professional development, not just for student learning. I agree with you that having a place to record my thoughts, reflect, and get feedback from others in the field has been extremely helpful in exploring my own opinions and gathering resources. I don’t even have a personal Twitter account so I am tempted to get one so that I can know the tool and connect with other professionals.
    I really like your question regarding how leadership PD can have the same model as classroom teaching training. I don’t have an answer but I’ll be checking back in to see what others suggest. Thanks for your post!

  2. Hi Cam,
    I very much liked your questions at the end of this post. Finding a leadership network, for me, was a daunting task and one that seems impossible to crack. I started by identifying those leaders in my own school who were good leadership role models. But having a network, or mentor, disconnected from your job is just as important. I have tried to extend my own network through professional initiatives. I have not set up a professional Twitter or LinkedIn. I’m not quite convinced these tools create an authentic leadership network. I do feel that being in a course, like this, allows for much greater opportunity for real networking, sharing of practice and advice, as it relates to educational leadership.

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