Brigidine continually strives to improve practices that set high expectations as a means for each student to achieve their best. For students to achieve these outcomes, the teachers at Brigidine set aside time and resources to commit to pedagogy and learning practices that impact directly on their expertise and growth.
To support students to become agents of change in our global communit,y Brigidine teachers have investigated and strategically adopted practices to fully engage our young women.
Consequently, our teachers deserved the support of authentic professional learning. Through Professional Learning Development Plans (PLDPs) and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), our staff plan, deliver and sustain change to meet the contemporary educational landscape.
This is one where we cater for our students to be future builders, continuous learners and unlearners, solution architects, team creators and local, regional and global citizens.
Brigidine College recognises and appreciates that teachers continue to grow and learn as a community as they work together and commit to shared goals and achievable outcomes. The ability to willingly share classroom practice within a professional learning community has promoted trust and engagement how a ‘teacher might teach’ rather than what they taught. A further professional commitment to improved teacher pedagogy is resulting in enhanced teacher efficacy.
The Brigidine College PLDPs and PLCs have been developed with the aim of expanding professional engagement of teachers and reflect an evolving face of teaching and learning. The Program has been reviewed through the lens of our College Strategic Plan, the College Learning Framework, the valuable findings from focused working parties, and regular feedback from teachers.
Each year, like a new resolution, teachers begin their planning with innovative ideas ready to engage through new techniques, excitement and energy. From our holiday reflection, goals and plans are shared with others to determine the directions to allow us to achieve our personal professional outcomes as a career educator. Together in our PLC department groups, goals are focused (see Figure 1) and recommendations made to work with students to improve learning / academic growth for each student.
The PLDP and PLC programs are designed to reflect professional expectations from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), the Professional Learning Charter, the Performance and Development Framework, and QCT Professional Standards.
In doing this, the program promotes improved practice and evolving pathways as well as career progression opportunities from Graduate to Proficient; and Highly Accomplished to Lead teacher. It is a whole school transformative process, that shapes teachers to consider operating in a different way, focusing on evidence-based approaches and how these can be best applied in the school context.
Furthermore, the PLCs enabled fresh opportunities for teachers to be open to collegial leadership roles that provide skills and expertise to the groups of teachers. Teachers appreciate being heard and valued as they lead or participate in change taking place at the College and promoting high levels of learning for all students.
Our Brigidine College Staff Wellbeing Report (2019) supported this tone with teachers satisfied overall with their ‘autonomy and control, feedback, influence and decisions, and support by leaders and peers’. Hence, the culture of the College is continuing to shift from traditional structures of directed change to ones of teacher led transformative change.
As our journey continues, teachers become further engaged in cycles of action research, linked to the PLCs, as they became eager to witness the results from our efforts.
The impact of having many more teachers involved in research projects has lifted professional engagement with conversations in staffrooms being ones of strategic intent, tools and practices that improve learning and ways that impact in reinvigorating learning spaces.
Shifts from traditional topics of activities and units of work to analysing student learning (data) and reflections on practice are engaging opportunities to identify ways their students were learning. According to The Economist (2016), “In a single year’s teaching, the top 10% of teachers impart three times as much learning to their pupils as the worst 10% do”.
It is this type of research which reinforces our belief that our PLCs are focused on our College’s greatest asset: our teachers, who impart their skills and passion to inspire our young women to be the best they can be.
To assist this dynamic process ‘Learning Analytics’ has been a tremendous support and guide to the PLCs when identifying gaps and areas to improve in teaching and learning programs.
The data emitted from Learning Analytics is used by teachers to formulate baseline standards across learning areas and year levels, enabling rigorous benchmarks for our students to meet. In the future, this cyclical process of analysing and evaluating evidence has enabled our Brigidine College teachers to target their pedagogy on knowledges and skills that students most need, and review benchmarks to continually improve.
A key component of professional learning at Brigidine College is ongoing development presented internally by teachers for teachers and our wider College Community. During each term, topics or issues are presented on a volunteer basis, which draws people from different learning areas and areas of the College. This supports a common learning language throughout the College, which supports students to create stronger synapses in the brain.
Overall, the PLDPs and PLCs are reinvigorating the teaching and learning of our teachers at Brigidine College. By focusing on the teacher and their needs, as well as how this caters for to our students’ learning, the learning culture is one of possibility, opportunity and achievement.
The collection of evidence impresses upon teachers their ability to understand the impact they are having on young people and witness the strategies working best in their classrooms.
Brigidine College aims to continue this commitment, to use evidence-based neuroscience for learning which gives educators key research on how our students learn. By teaming up with the Science of Learning Research Centre, Queensland Brain Institute, Evidence for Learning and the Learning Scientists, we are utilising evidence-based teaching and study practices.
Many great thanks to the College Leadership Team and our dedicated staff at Brigidine College, who demonstrate exemplary academic service to their students whilst remaining dedicated to our motto, Strength and Gentleness.