1st Edition

Transformational Professional Learning Making a Difference in Schools

By Deborah M. Netolicky Copyright 2020
    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    160 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Emerging from an education world that sees professional learning as a tool to positively shape teaching practice in order to improve student learning, Transformational Professional Learning elucidates professional learning that is transformational for teachers, school leaders, and schools.

    Written from the unique ‘pracademic’ perspective of an author who is herself a practising teacher, school leader, and researcher, this book articulates the why and the what of professional learning. It acts as a bridge between research and practice by weaving scholarly literature together with the lived experience of the author and with the voices of those working in schools. It covers topics from conferences, coaching, and collaboration, to teacher standards and leadership of professional learning.

    This book questions the ways in which professional learning is often wielded in educational settings and shows where teachers, school leaders, system leaders, and researchers can best invest their time and resources in order to support and develop the individuals, teams, and cultures in schools. It will be of great interest to teachers, leaders within schools, staff responsible for professional learning in school contexts, professional learning consultants, professional learning providers, and education researchers.

    List of Tables



    Introduction: About this book

    1: Transformational professional learning

    2: Speakers, courses, and conferences

    3: Key life moments as professional learning

    4: Collaborative professional learning

    5: Mentoring and coaching

    6: Self-directed professional learning

    7: The role of professional standards in professional learning

    8: Leadership for professional learning

    Conclusion: What next in professional learning




    Deborah M. Netolicky has 20 years of experience in teaching and school leadership in Australia and the UK. She has received national and international awards for her leadership, research, and writing. Deborah blogs at theeduflaneuse.com, tweets as @debsnet, and co-edited Flip the System Australia: What Matters in Education (Routledge 2019).

    Occasionally, a book comes along that a field desperately needs. Transformational Professional Learning is such a book. It is clear, accessible and profoundly practical. Cutting through the vast literature on professional learning, it reminds us that the ultimate end game is making a difference to learners. Put simply, this book is a must read.

    Professor Alma Harris, University of Bath

    Deborah Netolicky’s Transformational Professional Learning: Making a Difference in Schools is a must-read for anyone with an interest in developing authentic and impactful professional learning for themselves and for teachers and school leaders. As a pracademic, Netolicky expertly weaves together thoughtful and thorough analyses of existing international research literatures, her own original research findings, and her in-depth expertise from an extensive career as a teacher and school leader. Few books accomplish the complex and sophisticated task of genuinely bringing together new research insights and new practical applications; this book achieves this and more to create new possibilities for understanding and action. Transformation professional learning avoids one size fits all solutions, magic bullets, and artificial polarisations that characterise much educational debate to produce a book that places the complexity, identity, work, voices, and humanity of educators at the centre of professional learning to benefit their own development and the learning of the students they serve.

    Associate Professor Carol Campbell, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

    If we want to produce ambitious changes in student learning goals, we will need to reimagine and invigorate new forms for learning for the adults who are striving to produce these outcomes. In this compact and timely book, Deborah Netolicky deftly balances research summaries of effective professional learning with vivid stories from the field that illustrate these ideas at work.

    Bruce Wellman, Co-Director, MiraVia LLC

    In this comprehensive guidebook for getting the most from the many different kinds of professional development initiatives, Dr Deborah Netolicky begins by showing how to identify and engage better with customary professional learning that is mostly informational in nature. Netolicky then leads readers into transformational professional learning—that is, learning that both challenges and also supports professionals in examining and sometimes changing their beliefs, attitudes and values that govern behaviours and drive improvement to professional practice. Netolicky’s own rich and deep experiences, as a researching educational leader and as professional developer, make this wonderful compendium extraordinarily helpful, practical, and meaningful. Transformational Professional Learning is a treasure chest of ideas, practices, and strategies that are vitally important to helping schools to become better places of learning, growth, and development for adults as well as for children.

    Professor Ellie Drago-Severson, Teachers College, Columbia University

    Deborah Netolicky’s comprehensive, research-informed book on teacher professional learning effectively bridges the research-practice divide to provide an essential resource for teachers and school leaders. Written in an accessible, conversational style, the book locates current thinking about teacher professional learning in Australian schools within broader national and international contexts, and highlights the complexity of this field in which there are no ‘silver bullets’. Scholarly and practical, Netolicky’s book argues for an expansive and generative understanding of teacher professional learning, shaped and tailored differently for teachers with many and varied learning needs working in radically different contexts.

    Associate Professor Nicole Mockler, University of Sydney

    This is a valuable book because it is written from a new perspective. Deborah Netolicky’s position as a ‘pracademic’ allows her to address many of the tensions and recognise the opportunities inherent in teachers’ professional learning. The book extends an invitation to engage with dimensions of practice alongside the author’s analysis of her own and others’ research. The insights offered are essential for those working in complex spaces where children and young peoples’ learning is at the forefront, but in which professional learning is critical.

    Professor Rachel Lofthouse, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University

    Improving what people do in schools is a key to better student learning. In this book Deborah Netolicky shares her experiences as teacher, leader and researcher and shows, using concrete examples, how to make the most out of professional learning for the benefit of all children.

    Pasi Sahlberg, Gonski Institute for Education, UNSW