"Un-hijacking" teachers’ professional learning: thoughts from a dialogue among practitioners: Report from the Professional Learning for Educators Working Group

Lynne Taylerson, Diana Tremayne


This article is a reflection on the ‘Professional Learning for Educators’ strand at the Reimagining Further Education 2018 conference. Using Coffield’s original (2008) work “Just suppose…” as a starting point to consider professional learning in the UK FE sector, it also seeks to provide a record of the day itself and the vibrant contributions made by the wide range of individuals present.

Current perceptions of professional learning are discussed in relation to both the recent ETF Training Needs Analysis (2018) and the discussions and feedback from participants in the workshops. Definitions of professional learning are also examined as a way of attempting to provide some clarity. Using Kennedy’s (2005) framework for analysing models of CPD as a starting point, participants addressed their priorities for professional learning, with the emergence of recurring themes such as the need for teacher agency, the desirability of professional discussion-led approaches and a requirement for permission to take risks. A detailed ‘practitioner research cycle’ is identified, built on the principles of ‘personalisation, choice, collaboration and exploration’.

Inevitably barriers to effective professional learning are discussed, in particular those which make the achievement of teacher agency less likely. That said, in the spirit of the event, we set out key ‘manifesto’ points from the day as a positive call to give ownership of professional learning to teachers and for those at all levels within and across organisations to work together to achieve this through genuine commitment and shared curiosity.

Keywords: teacher professional learning, CPD, teacher professionalism, collaborative learning, teacher agency

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