Centre for Educational Multimedia

Professional Learning

Reece High School: Professional Learning Circles

At Reece High School , the flexible "trans-disciplinary" structure of the school coupled with an intensive focus on team collaboration has facilitated innovation, dissemination and sustainment of professional learning.

Everything is done in teams. There is no silo. We don't have silos, we don't have individual teachers. If teachers go off and start becoming isolated then it's highly likely that the team leader or myself or someone will ask them: are you unhappy? What's happening? Why aren't you working with this team member? Is there a problem that we can deal with? Because our teams are based - because we teach in a trans-disciplinary way, the kids are in the junior school, our teams are based on - well, are organised around a set of experts. So you may be the IT expert. I might be the English expert... and so you've got a whole series of people who are the experts and they are expected to be the experts in that field and lead the other team planning for it. It's very much a culture of working together, not working apart. (Principal, Reece High School )

The school is organised into several layers of teams including junior/senior schooling, year level, and others including an information literacy working party. All staff are members of teams and take on special responsibility within those teams. While someone on a year level team may be an expert in literacy they necessarily engage with the ICT expert when the team comes together to plan their curriculum. Moreover the ICT expert would be a member of the information literacy team and would be expected to act as a conduit for issues and learning between the teams.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Within each grade there are at least seven teachers on a grade team and they all have different learning area backgrounds. (Assistant Principal, Reece High School)

Best practice is also disseminated by teachers who attend any development activities and who are expected to contribute to their teams and the whole staff. Furthermore, teachers work within dynamic Learning Circles sharing with and supporting their colleagues. In essence, the teachers form learning centres and other staff cycle through the professional learning centres that are of interest to them.