New learning

    “How and where will we learn more about what to do?” is the inquiry question in the new learning phase. 

There is learning in all phases of the spiral. This phase involves the careful design of the professional learning needed to take action in the next phase. It involves deciding what to learn and how to learn it.

This phase of the spiral is referred to as Learn more about what can be done in the Report of the Professional Learning and Development Advisory Group (2014).

Mindsets for new learning

Part of our identity as professionals is to seek opportunities to learn. We do this in the interests of achieving better outcomes for the learners we have responsibility for.

Growth mindsets apply as much to teachers and leaders as they do to young people. In the professional context, these mindsets are reflected in teachers and leaders being "adaptive experts".

In essence, adaptive experts constantly ask themselves whether they are working effectively to:

  • promote the learning of each learner for whom they have responsibility
  • seek information and feedback on their efforts to maximise learning
  • gather evidence about whether they are making enough of a difference.

Engaging in the spiral of inquiry, learning and action develops adaptive expertise. This is particularly evident in this phase where professionals seek new learning in order to improve.

View Helen Timperley describe adaptive expertise - AITSL on Youtube

What some leaders and teachers have said

“Student feedback to teachers is proving to be very powerful and integral to teacher learning.”

“When you have a video you can have multiple people looking at practices. This helps to build trust and relationships.”

“Teachers set goals. They read academic research as well as have discussion time in their groups. Teachers know the sources. We believe in a growth mindset as part of the teacher learning.”

“Teachers need opportunities to engage with other teachers about their theories of practice. They have to have time to do this and build confidence in themselves to do this.”

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Number 1 rule

Learning needs to be directly relevant to what is happening for learners at that time. It also needs to be deeply informed by research about what makes a difference.

Teachers and leaders need to understand why new practices are better than previous ones and work out what they would look like in their context.

“Ignoring the current research evidence on what makes a difference to learners and to learning is the educational equivalent of malpractice.” (Timperley, Kaser & Halbert, 2014)

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Leadership challenges

Mindset challenges

New learning is about learning to change practice and improve outcomes for targeted learners. It is complex, deep and sustained. It is not just for professional interest.

“We always talk about change and what we are going to do when we learn something new. Otherwise we have just forgotten by the next day.”

Organisational challenges

  • Finding the time for teachers to learn together is the obvious challenge. Examine your meeting times and what is achieved in them. Think of new ways to impart organisational information and use your meeting times for professional learning.
  • Accessing the expertise that will support everyone to develop new knowledge and deepen their skills. The expertise may be in the school.

“Leadership is at the core. Where do I get expertise from?  Who is available?  How do I use The Pond?  How do I get external expertise?  I can’t do all this on my own.”  

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