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Professional Learning Teams August 2010. Overview. Day 1 Context Professional Learning Teams Handbook Day 2 – ½ day early term 4 Using data to develop student logs (not September 2, 3 as advertised). Professional Learning Teams. Common understanding Looks like, feels like, sounds like

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Day 1

  • Context
  • Professional Learning Teams
  • Handbook

Day 2 – ½ day early term 4

  • Using data to develop student logs

(not September 2, 3 as advertised)

professional learning teams
Professional Learning Teams
  • Common understanding
    • Looks like, feels like, sounds like
  • Reflection - where is your school located
    • Building awareness
    • Planning
    • Piloting
    • Full implementation
  • Planning
    • Where do you want to be in 2011
    • What do you need to do
    • What will be your challenges
    • What will you do when you get back to your school
  • What’s your story??
the context
The context

Why change will continue ……….

  • External accountability
    • Social/political/economic environment
  • Data rich
  • Know more about
    • How we learn
    • Effective, precise teaching strategies
    • Effective schools
  • Learning spaces
  • Technology
    • Enabler
      • assessment, analysis, learning, teaching, information, monitoring, reflecting, planning, communication, collaboration
leaders of complex change
Leaders of complex change….
  • Change in the way teachers operate
    • De-privatised practice
      • Collaboration and challenge
      • Joint planning
      • Peer observation
    • Personalisation
      • Evidence based practice /goal setting
      • Strategies for differentiation
    • Pedagogical teaching and content knowledge
      • Teaching frameworks/concepts
      • Literacy and numeracy teaching strategies
      • Standards and continuums of learning
    • Assessment practices
    • Technology
  • Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes about students’ capacity to learn
challenges barriers to change
Challenges & barriers to change
  • Low Expectations!

“The biggest resistance to improving high schools is the deep-seated belief that many of our students cannot learn much for a range of reasons including social class and language background.”

Prof Patrick Griffin 2009

beliefs and attitudes
Beliefs and attitudes

“It’s far easier to build an individual’s skills than to try to change his or her beliefs”

Examples of belief that underpin the work of PLTs

  • All students can learn
  • Expertise develops through continuous effort to identify and tackle problems
  • Collective good overrides individual autonomy
  • A strong moral purpose

Platt and Tripp et al (The Skilful Leader II: Confronting conditions that Undermine Learning, 2008)

Complex problems cannot be solved simply by technical responses – require adaptive change – this is the work of a PLT.

table discussion
Table discussion
  • What are your beliefs around the work of PLTs in working collectively to improve student learning?
  • How would you respond to a colleague who attributes her/his lack of success with a group of students to the students’ background, ability?
understanding change
Love your employees

Connect peers with purpose

Capacity building prevails

Learning is the work

Transparency rules

Systems learn

Fullan’s Six Secrets of Change

Create a sense of urgency

Form a powerful coalition

Create a vision for the change

Communicate the vision

Remove obstacles

Create short term wins

Build on the change

Anchor the changes

Kotter’s 8 step change model

Understanding change
lasting school change
Lasting school change
  • Personalisation
    • Differentiation
      • Identifying learning needs of every individual
  • Precision
    • Consistent and effective use of assessment for learning
      • Responding accurately with right focused instruction
  • Professional learning
    • Supports the above
      • Building learning into the culture of the organisation

Fullan, Hill and Crevola (2006)

  • Powerful Learning Strategy
      • Informed by research, evidence of what works and expert advice
      • Literate, Numerate and Curious
  • Committed to teachers working collaboratively
    • PLTs
    • Triads
  • Model of School Improvement / change
    • Based on theories of action
theory of action
Theory of action

…. Proposes a link between cause and effect

A guide for identifying, designing, implementing and evaluating effective responses to the challenges of school improvement.

A common reference point for all members of the school community.

Emphasises accountability by relying on data that measures the impact of the action taken

theory of action for powerful learning
Theory of Action for Powerful Learning

IF all the distinct but interrelated parts of the NMR School Improvement Model – the rings, and each component of each ring – are aligned and working together, THEN all schools will improve.



Differentiated approach for schools

Building school capacity


Use of data

Teaching strategies – literacy & numeracy

Teaching models – next step


Professional learning

Focussed on classroom practice

Collaborative teacher learning

AiZ ………….

….. Not a ‘project’ but a process that will require continued, sustained effort FOREVER.


Embed strategies that foster continuous and purposeful peer interaction.

Fullan, 2008 (The Six Secrets of Change),

aiz expectations
AiZ ………….. Expectations
  • Student level
    • improvement in Literacy and Numeracy achievement
  • Teacher level
    • identifying starting points for teacher professional learning provided a focus of inquiry in the school
    • provided opportunities to develop teachers’ knowledge of developmental learning and their understanding of appropriate targeted intervention practices
    • emphasised importance of teachers’ knowledge and experience in identifying appropriate intervention strategies
    • change in teacher discipline discourse: shift from resource and discrete skill focus to developmental focus
aiz structure
AiZ Structure
  • Teams of teachers (PLTs and Triads)
    • Team leaders (PLT leaders)
    • Learning leaders
  • School improvement team (SIT)
  • NMR

School Improvement Team/Leadership Team











AiZ (Learning Leaders, PLT leaders)


professional learning teams20

Professional Learning Teams

What is it?

What does is it look like, feel like, sound like …………..

table discussion21
Table discussion
  • What is a PLT?
    • Identify 4 key features/characteristics
    • What is their core work
characteristics of a plt
Characteristics of a PLT
  • Shared values, goals
  • Collaborative culture
  • Collective inquiry (and challenge)
  • Action orientation (learning by doing)
  • Commitment to continuous improvement
  • Results orientation

DuFour and Eaker (1998) Professional Learning Communities at Work

aiz plts a new team work approach
AiZ PLTs a new team work approach
  • Evidence not inference
  • Challenge not share
  • Group responsibility
    • From ‘my class’ to our students
    • Your problem to our solution
  • Developmental not deficit approach
  • Peer accountability rather than system reporting
  • Expectations of ALL students

Patrick Griffin

the work of the plt
The work of the PLT
  • Ensuring that ALL students learn
  • Collaboration and challenge
    • Systematic processes to analyse and improve classroom practice
  • A focus on student outcomes
    • Judge effectiveness on basis of student outcomes
    • Ongoing process of identifying current level of student achievement, establishing next level of learning
four critical questions for learning
Four critical questions for learning:
  • What is it we expect them to learn?
  • How will we know when they have learned it?
  • How will we respond when they don’t learn?
  • How will we respond when they already know it?
table discussion26
Table discussion
  • Think about 4 key ‘shifts’ that need to happen for these approaches/behaviours to become embedded in your school/teams
  • Share these with the person next to you.
plts look like
PLTs – look like?
  • Size
    • Ideally no more than 6
  • Composition
    • Mix of experienced and beginning
    • Mix of expertise (eg numeracy/literacy/disciplines)
  • Primary
    • Usually year level
  • Secondary
    • Year level
    • Discipline
  • Meet regularly
plt teams types
PLT teams – types

1. Grade level

  • All teachers who teach particular grade/s
    • Focus on same standards and curriculum content
    • Address the development needs of students at that level

2. Unit/Program level

  • sub school, eg multi-age group, Senior school, VCE, VCAL
    • address unique needs of students in program
    • supports work of team to plan collaboratively
  • discipline
    • focus on same disciplinary content, standards and pedagogic knowledge
    • addresses the unique

3. Interest or need

    • Instructional approach
    • Topic
    • Special need, eg Literacy, Numeracy
effective plts
Effective PLTs
  • Reflective dialogue
  • De-privatisation of practice
  • Collective focus on student learning
  • Collaboration
  • Shared norms and values

Sharon Kruse (Building Professional Learning Communities) 1995

effective plts30
Effective PLTs
  • A developmental approach to learning
    • Students
    • Their own – PD important
  • Meetings follow set protocols
  • Members are accountable to the group
  • Engage in a process of evidence based inquiry to plan for teaching interventions

Prof Patrick Griffin

plt leader

PLT Leader

Leading the change …………

  • The principal and team leader are key to the redesign process.

“A neutral principal or team leader is an undermining force.”

the work of the plt leader
The work of the PLT leader
  • Lead the team
    • Understand change
    • Model behaviours
    • Develop culture of challenge – questioning
  • Develop the capacity of the team
    • Pedagogical knowledge
    • Assessment practices
    • Use of data
    • Goal setting and strategy selection
  • Support collaboration
    • Regular, focused meetings
    • Establish protocols
    • Develop structure and processes
plt meetings
PLT Meetings
  • Develop agreed protocols/norms
  • Regular time
  • Keep to time
  • Have a focus
  • Share facilitation
  • Encourage participation and group
variation between plt leaders
Variation between PLT leaders
  • Ability to pass on/share knowledge
  • Personal knowledge and capacity
  • Agenda modification
  • Ability to go in and bat for teachers, ie rapport with school leadership

Patrick Griffin

establishing plts
Establishing PLTs
  • Zone 1 schools
    • Charles Latrobe P – 12 College
      • Leanne Reynolds, Assistant Principal
    • Dallas Primary School & Kindergarten
      • Amanda Henning, Assistant Principal
    • Patricia Quan, BanyuleTeaching & Learning Coach