Professional Learning for Teachers

Thursday 15 Aug 2019

Professional learning for teachers that is relevant, collaborative and future-focused can have a highly positive impact on teacher quality and the engagement and achievement of their students. Every year our teachers participate in an extensive professional learning program that enables them to develop their expertise in key areas of teaching and learning. This approach, unique to Living Faith, has been implemented since 2015 and is designed around best-practice research into the most effective professional learning for teachers.

Our teachers begin the process by conducting a series of empathy deep-dive interviews with their students. This design thinking process is used extensively within education and business arenas to identify challenges and areas for improvement.

Once this data is analysed, teachers identify an area of improvement within their classroom. They set a goal they would like to reach by the end of the year that will improve both their classroom practice and the engagement and achievement of their students.

They undertake extensive research and develop a prototype that will be implemented in their classrooms that will enable them to reach their goal. While implementing the prototype throughout the year, our teachers are observed by supportive coaches and given feedforward of how they could further improve their prototype, as well as their classroom practice.

At the end of the year, teachers collect data to ascertain whether the implementation of their prototype has improved engagement and academic achievement of their students. Finally, they share their research, prototype and results with all our teachers during a teacher meeting so that others can learn from their experiences. Through this process, our teachers become experts in key areas of teaching and learning.

This year our Prep team has focussed on increasing student engagement in number talks. Number talks are a key component of Mindset Maths that enable students to develop number sense and facts through short teaching activities (find out more here). The teachers engaged experts to come into their classroom to model how to teach number talks effectively to Prep age students. They researched how to structure number talks for young children and modified the resources they used to improve engagement as well as understanding. So far the team reports that their students are more engaged by number talks and that they feel they have improved how they deliver number talks and the resources they are creating. It’s great to see our Prep team becoming number talk experts.

Our Year 3 team has focussed on developing alternative products to be the culminating activity for their rainforest PBL. Their aim was to engage their students by making an authentic product that could start a conversation about rainforest conservation. They also wanted to develop the students’ design mindsets, computation skills, global awareness and adaptive thinking. After researching the products made by students at High Tech High, San Diego, our teachers were inspired to engage manufacturers to make products that could be sold during Exhibition Evening. The result was the manufacture and sale of tea towels designed by students about rainforest conservation, with proceeds being donated to a rainforest conservation charity. It’s great to see our Year 3 team becoming PBL product experts.

- Rebecca McConnell, Director of Learning and Innovation