Professional learning

When principals create opportunities for teachers to work collaboratively and share evidence-informed practice with each other, everyone feels a collective responsibility for students' learning. 

Principals who take their own learning seriously and keep their own passion for learning alive act as important role models for their schools.

Professional learning and development funding

For information on applying for centrally allocated funding for your school, go to the Ministry of Education services site:

New Zealand articles and resources

Leading inquiry at a teacher level: it’s all about mentorship

by Mike Fowler

This set article (2012) is described by NZCER chief researcher Rosemary Hipkins as “a well-grounded, practice-informed look at conditions that support teachers to be learners when they inquire into their practice. The importance of strong leadership is emphasised, with a focus on 'walking the talk' by being an active inquirer yourself”.

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Using evidence in the classroom for professional learning

by Helen Timperley

In this 10-page article Professor Helen Timperley shows how important it is to make the connections from students’ needs to teachers being able to identify those needs and then work on their practice to meet them.

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The benefits of collaborative professional learning

by Susan Heeps and Silvia Insley

This paper reports the development of a professional learning community around introducing the teaching of Spanish at Pakuranga Intermediate School.

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Teacher professional learning and development

by Helen Timperley

Helen Timperley reports on her research into what teacher professional learning needs to take into account to be effective for both teachers’ practice and students’ outcomes. She identifies 10 interrelated principles.

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Developing the person in the professional: building the capacity of teachers for improved student learning: the missing basket – personal learning

by Jan Robertson and Lesley Murrihy

This report provides examples from research of how some school leaders and researchers, in New Zealand and England, have developed successful holistic, professional learning programmes for teachers.

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New Zealand school stories

Mangere Central School - Building the capacity of middle leaders.

Mangere Central School: teachers talk

This pecha kucha and accompanying narration describes the learning journey that MCS school staff have been on since they set themselves the challenge to sustain an unrelenting focus on accelerating student achievement.

Learning conversations that strengthen teaching practice

by Marcus Freke

Learning conversations are a key strategy used at Vardon School to strengthen teaching practice and improve learning outcomes. Principal Marcus Freke outlines the school’s learning conversations framework in this report.

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Other resources

How friends can be critical as schools make essential changes

by Kathleen Cushman

This classic article uses a case study approach to explore the efficacy of critical friendship groups – within schools and between schools – as a professional development approach, in particular where school change is a focus.

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How do principals really improve schools?

by Rick Dufour and Mike Mattos

This article from Educational Leadership is set in a US context, but it has relevance for New Zealand schools who wish to establish professional learning communities (PLCs).

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Teachers as learners

by Louise Stoll, Jan McKay and David Kember, and M. Cochrane-Smith and S. Lytle

This page summarises ideas from three classic articles on teacher learning by: Louise Stoll, 1999; Jan McKay and David Kember, 1997; and M. Cochrane-Smith and S. Lytle, 1999. 

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The flywheel effect: educators gain momentum from a model for continuous improvement

by Timothy Kanold

This article describes a successful high school in the USA, and poses questions about ways in which already successful schools can continue to improve their outcomes for students.

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