Professional Learning

Like any professional, effective educators are need to be continually accessing professional development and learning. This is particularly true in the field of literacy because there is a constant stream of new research and information.

Morgan et al. (2019) suggest that in looking for knowledge and inspiration the following elements should be taken into consideration:


Making small consistent changes yields large improvements over time. A 1% change is manageable, achievable and sustainable.

Student Outcomes

Take into consideration the potentially negative effects (side and direct) as well as the positive effects. By focusing on developing a particular skill or including a specific activity, how will that impact on the development of other skills, will it mean less time for other activities and who misses out on the teacher’s attention?


  • What mind‐set are you bringing to your work?
  • What is your strategy for creating positive energy in your setting?
  • How strong are the connections and relationships you have created?
  • What is your plan for making a difference?

Providing Feedback

Feedback is integral to the learning process. To be effective it needs to be concrete, specific and useful. In other words it should provide actionable information. You also need to consider the language you are using and the impact your feedback may have on the student (positive and negative).


How can we support changes at both the individual and system levels and what spill over effect might these changes have on the educational ecosystem?

Differentiating PD

Teachers are expected to provide differentiation to meet the needs of individual students. Arguably, this differentiation should also occur at a professional development level for school educators. This requires a knowledge of individual teacher’s strengths, challenges and areas of interest. It also encompasses the idea of sharing knowledge.


Morgan, D.N., Bates, C.C., Aker, L.D., Dawson, J., Doswell, B.D., Lancaster, P., Puig, E.A., & Williams, J.L. ( 2019). Coaching and Professional Learning: Looking for Inspiration. The Reading Teacher, 73( 3), 385– 389. https​://

Other resources to explore

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: An easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones. New York, NY: Avery.
Kight, T. (Producer). (2018, September). Four questions for leaders [Audio file]. Focus 3 Podcast. Retrieved from https​://sound​​3/40-four-quest​ions-for-leaders

Wiggins, G. (2012). Seven keys to effective feedback. Feedback, 70( 1), 10– 16.

Zdonek, P. (2016, January 15). Why don’t we differentiate professional development? [Web log post]. Retrieved from https​://www.eduto​​renti​ate-pd-pauli​ne-zdonek

Zhao, Y. (2018). What works may hurt: Side effects in education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

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