Developing and Sustaining a Culture of Professional Learning within the School
Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong Kong
May 25-26, 2019

Essential Learning Question: How can school leaders develop and nurture a strong culture of professional learning within the school community?

Goal: Participants will explore a range of strategies to develop a more effective internal training model for their staff. Participants will leave with practical tools and a range of options to develop their own internal professional learning models for the following school year.

Target Audiences: This workshop is intended for those who implement and/or support a professional development program: Professional Development Coordinators, Heads of department, School Leaders and Administrators, Curriculum Coordinators.

“Most professional development experiences fail to affect what teachers do in the classroom each day. Traditional professional development provides no shortages of strategies and resources. Yet, these approaches fall short of improving instruction for three primary reasons: 1) Teachers have little say in what they learn; 2) Transferring learning from training to the classroom is difficult; 3) There are few opportunities to practice and refine strategies.” (Grimm, Kaufman, Doty, “Rethinking Classroom Observation, ASCD May 2014)

Teachers prefer professional development that is: relevant to their context, helps them plan and improve their instruction, is teacher-driven, includes hands-on strategies applicable to their classrooms, is highly interactive, is sustained over time, and recognizes that teachers are professionals with valuable insights.

(Perkins, “7 Characteristics of Great Professional Development”, teachthought, Aug 29, 2017)

This workshop theme is born from the belief that we need to make the most of the expertise we have in house, and share this learning; the old models of sending people on courses to ‘tick the PD box’ doesn’t wash any more in terms of impact or value for money. Hence our focus for the workshop – ‘What can we do with what we already have’?

Many experts agree that authentic learning experience is just as important for teacher development as it is for student learning. Additionally, research supports that job-embedded and sustained professional learning matters and makes an impact on student learning.

A model of internal professional learning can be crafted in such a way that teachers have options and opportunities to explore passions while also addressing known student and school learning needs. Teacher agency, including choice, voice and ownership, can empower and sustain an internal professional development program for a school.

As leaders within schools, our role is to find ways we can both support and nurture those new to their role, but also challenge and stretch the experienced, professional educator. An internal professional learning program can become the catalyst of change or a meaningful component of sustaining a change.

Workshop Outcomes:
  1. Participants will explore a range of strategies for internal professional learning
  2. Participants will explore links between operational goals, professional learning, evaluation, and professional learning communities
  3. Participants will share and receive feedback from peers in the field
  4. Participants will draft an action plan for their school
  5. Participants will identify opportunities to collaborate on learning events and share costs

Participant Preparation

Participants should have in mind operational or strategic goals for their school for the coming year, particularly those that focus on student learning and wellbeing, but also any operational changes that will require teacher training or reinforcement. Participants are asked to bring the following:

  • Staff development plan for the current academic year
  • Staff development plan for the next academic year
  • Operational / strategic goals for the next year, particularly those that focus on student learning and wellbeing

None of the above need to be formal or final versions; drafts, notes and working documents will be invaluable during the training in applying learning to your own school.

Participants are also asked to share any events or speakers they have booked, or are considering to, planned for next school year so that other participants can inquire about cost sharing opportunities.

Lastly, all participants are ask to be ready to share one aspect of your PD programme in the Marketplace session, which will take place at the end of Day 2. You will only have 3 minutes so this needs to be a ‘quick win’; something that you’ve done, seen or read about that makes a difference to teacher learning. It can be a whole-school programme or a phrase that helps colleagues be open to feedback - or anything in between! If it would help you, please bring resources or photos.


If notice of cancellation re the registered participant/sponsor is received:

  • 30+ days pre-event: 80% of fee is refundable
  • 15-29 days pre-event: 40% of fee is refundable
  • Less than 15 days pre-event: no refund

Participants who commence but do not complete the full course or withdraw part way through will not be granted any fee refund.

No refund will be granted for fees related to DiSC assessment, books and other required course materials once the participant has accessed these resources.



In the unlikely event of cancellation of a conference, workshop or online PD program, we will fully refund the registration or sponsorship fee(s) paid. However, we will be unable to refund any travel, visa or accommodation expenses incurred.