Professional Growth

Innovation Grants

   
 
 

The Innovation Grants project sought to investigate innovative approaches to professional learning and elements of performance and development that can be shared with the education community in Australia.


The research into existing innovative practice assists with implementation of the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and the enactment of the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders, through the sharing of practice.

The information generated from the project will ideally encourage associations, systems and sectors, teachers, school leaders, and education groups, to consider innovative changes that could enhance their existing programs and support teacher improvement.


Innovation Grants Report 540KB PDF

Innovation Grants summary 106KB PDF


There are eight key characteristics of effective professional learning and performance and development across the Innovation Grants project. Each of these characteristics is investigated in more depth below.


+ Relevant

Relevant professional learning and development supports teachers and school leaders to address and adapt to the challenges they face in improving student outcomes. To be relevant for the learner, professional learning and development must meet the needs of students and teachers, as determined by data and evidence; it must align with individual, team, school and system goals; it must be timely, supported and available when it is needed; and finally, it must be sensitive to the professional learners’ context.

Elizabeth Park Schools, SA 247KB PDF
English Teachers Association of New South Wales 178KB PDF
Knox Grammar School, NSW 209KB PDF
Nichols Point Primary School, VIC 115KB PDF
State Library of Victoria 114KB PDF

+ Collaborative

Collaborative professional learning and development is characterised by disciplined and purposeful activities occurring among groups that have a high level of trust and promote individual and collective ownership of learning. Teachers are engaged in the design, content, practice and evaluation of their learning and this is enriched by technology.

Collaborative learning provides opportunities to receive and give feedback and observe others as well as offering support through coaching, mentoring and reflection. There are opportunities to develop professional learning communities within schools and beyond.

Anangu Schools, SA 238KB PDF
Eltham East Primary School, VIC 205KB PDF
Merrylands East Public School & Auburn North Public School, NSW 123KB PDF
Nichols Point Primary School, VIC 115KB PDF
Pakenham Lakeside Primary School, VIC 213KB PDF
Whitebridge High School and Warners Bay High School, NSW 206KB PDF

+ Future focused

Professional learning and development that is future focused, helps teachers and school leaders to be adaptable and to respond to current and future challenges in education. Future focused professional learning promotes action research and inquiry; provides opportunities to use existing and new technologies; encourages exploration of research; and promotes innovation.

English Teachers Association of New South Wales 178KB PDF
Merrylands East Public School & Auburn North Public School, NSW 123KB PDF
State Library of Victoria 114KB PDF
TeachMeet Sydney, NSW 188KB PDF

+ Coherence

Coherence refers to the alignment of professional learning and performance and development with team, school-wide and system goals and approaches. Coherence will be strongest when there is alignment of professional learning and performance and development goals with team, school-wide and system goals. 

Coherence is supported by relevant structures that match the goals and context in which they operate; and when consideration is given to agreed national, state, and sector policy documents such as the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders.

Elizabeth Park Schools, SA 247KB PDF
Kedron State High School, QLD 213KB PDF
Knox Grammar School, NSW 209KB PDF
The Mathematical Association of South Australia, SA 119KB PDF

+ Flexibility

Flexible professional learning and development takes into account, and responds to, a school’s unique context and priorities. Professional learning and development that is flexible has a strong focus on shared purpose, a shared understanding of the context in which it occurs and is supported by the prioritising of resources to support educators’ learning and development.
 
It is adaptable and can be changed to meet the needs of the teacher and student. Teachers demonstrate a willingness to experiment and take risks, and to learn from successes and mistakes, within a supportive environment.

Anangu Schools, SA 238KB PDF
Brisbane Boys’ College, QLD 122KB PDF
The Mathematical Association of South Australia, SA 119KB PDF
St Helena’s Catholic Primary School, WA 234KB PDF

+ Leadership

Principals have a central role in creating an effective professional learning and performance and development culture, however leadership must come from those with and without formal leadership positions. Effective professional learning cultures also provide opportunities to build leadership across all levels.

Professional learning and development will have the greatest impact on practice when leaders nurture learning environments; participate in and shape planning; enable the prioritising of resources to support professional learning and development; participate in mentoring and coaching, as well as observation and providing feedback; and encourage distributed leadership and growing leaders at all levels.

Campbelltown Performing Arts High School, NSW 208KB PDF
Kedron State High School, QLD 213KB PDF
St Helena’s Catholic Primary School, WA 234KB PDF
TeachMeet Sydney, NSW 188KB PDF

+ Clear understanding of effective teaching

A clear understanding of what effective teaching looks like, for a given school’s context and priorities, is essential to improving teaching and learning. Professional learning and development that promotes a clear understanding of effective teaching will be more impactful when it uses the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers as the basis for a common language as well as a reference for goal setting and observation.  

It will have a greater impact when feedback and data is used to determine the effectiveness of teaching strategies; there is reflection on teaching practice; and when teachers are supported by coaching and mentoring processes.

Brisbane Boys’ College, QLD 122KB PDF
Eltham East Primary School, VIC 205KB PDF
Kedron State High School, QLD 213KB PDF
Knox Grammar School, NSW 209KB PDF

+ Focus on student outcomes

Professional learning and performance and development that lead to improved student outcomes is an important focus for teachers and schools leaders’. This focus encompasses a commitment to student learning outcomes as well as engagement and wellbeing.  

Professional learning and development will be more likely to lead to improved student outcomes when it: uses a range of data and evidence to inform goal setting; makes use of learning activities to achieve multiple objectives; harnesses student voice; involves students in the reflection process; and when it includes modelling high quality, active learning.

Brisbane Boys’ College, QLD 122KB PDF
Campbelltown Performing Arts High School, NSW 208KB PDF
Pakenham Lakeside Primary School, VIC 213KB PDF
Whitebridge High School and Warners Bay High School, NSW 206KB PDF

Partners

The 16 groups worked with Professor Brian Caldwell and Associate Professor David Loader, from Educational Transformations, to develop their hypotheses and identify approaches to collect evidence to support or not support their hypotheses.