At Pymble, we are keenly aware the quality of a school is dependent on the quality of its staff. Our strategic vision, Towards 2020: Striving for the Highest, boldly states we will nurture a professional learning culture that celebrates creativity, engagement and critical thinking for teachers who see learning as a vocation. This is why we are committed to providing our teachers with rich, rigorous and varied professional learning opportunities that help them to hone the art and science of teaching. We believe learning is our work, so we have embedded many of these opportunities into the school day.
Current literature overwhelmingly states that for professional learning to make a difference to student learning outcomes, it must be sustained and job-embedded. When Pymble set out to design professional learning opportunities, the principles of adult learning were employed to ensure our staff were provided with a wide range of entry points.
Professional Learning Teams
Based upon strong research, the Pymble school day is structured to afford greater opportunities for teachers to engage in sustained professional learning experiences. Borrowing from the Professional Learning Communities at Work model, the College employs the use of professional learning teams. Teams consisting of approximately 10 teachers come together on a fortnightly basis to look at evidence of student thinking and a variety of other educational issues.
Online Learning through Harvard
In conjunction with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, teachers at Pymble regularly undertake a range of online learning experiences. Recent examples of these include the research-based, job-embedded courses on Making Thinking Visible and Teaching for Understanding. These courses have provided a foundation on which many of our professional learning options have been built.
Experts in Residence
A key element of Pymble’s Professional Learning and Research framework focuses upon the College’s strong relationship with a wide range of Australian and international education experts. Under the Experts in Residence program, teachers at Pymble are regularly provided with opportunities to work closely with an esteemed range of experts.
Most recently, these have included:
- Ron Ritchhart
Senior Researcher, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Project Zero
- Frank Crawford
International Education Consultant
- Lyn Sharratt
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
Each year, Pymble provides staff scholarships to support a range of staff research initiatives. The scholarships provide opportunities for teachers to travel both domestically and internationally as they investigate particular programs or pedagogies. In recent years, Pymble has provided opportunities for teachers to visit Finland, the United Kingdom and the United State of America as our teachers explore a wide range of issues.
Teachers at Pymble contribute to the wider educational discourse by undertaking a range of research projects. These projects are sometimes initiated by teachers within the College and stem from puzzles of practice arising from their classrooms, but they also arise through partnerships with university researchers or external organisations.