On Monday 12 August forty three (43) @materdeiwagga teachers participated in a Professional Learning Meeting where they were provided with an extensive amount of choice by “setting their own agenda”. That “agenda” can be found at

The focus of the meeting was on “Non-Commissioned Work” such as research or project work. There was a clear understanding that the time afforded to the “open agenda” meeting was not meant for “commissioned work” of marking, programming, preparation and/or summative assessment. At the end of the meeting, 43 teachers participated in a survey. That survey can be found at

The findings from the survey included…..

Teachers were asked to respond to the statement, “I appreciated the opportunity to make choices about my professional learning.” On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being “not at all” to 5 being “totally”,

35 teachers responded “5”

5 teachers responded “4”

3 teachers responded “3”

Reflection: Teachers overwhelmingly appreciated the opportunity to make choices about their professional learning.

Teachers were asked to nominate the focus of their work.

·       16 teachers nominated “research”. This may not be the academic understanding of research but more like teachers doing their own research of digital Apps, digital programs or web 2.0 tools that may support student learning. However, teachers were supplied with scholarly articles and I noticed a few teachers accessing those articles. Also, two teachers mentioned they explored scholarly articles about their own area of interest.

·         16 teachers nominated “A new project for outside of my classroom work”. Examples of this included new bus bay ‘operations’, a suggestion for a new Visual Arts display area and a weekly ‘visiting artist’ to work with students after school. I have had follow up conversations with some teachers and some of these ideas will be explored for possible implementation at a later date.

·         11 teachers nominated “a new project for one/some of my classes”.

There was a need to ask teachers to nominate how much ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ they actually did for the 75 minutes of ‘meeting time’. According to the responses:

·         30 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 100% of ‘meeting time’.

·         8 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 75% of ‘meeting time’.

·         5 teachers focused on ‘Non-Commissioned Work’ for 50% of ‘meeting time’.

Teachers were given the choice to work on their own, in pairs or in groups.

·         22 worked on their own

·         12 worked “with a mix of people within my KLA and outside my KLA”

·         5 worked “with people all outside my KLA”

·         3 worked “with people all within my KLA”.

·         1 ‘no response’

Teachers were asked, “Would you like to see this format continue for Professional Learning Meetings?” 39 of the 43 respondents replied “Yes”. The 4 other responses indicated, “a balance of workshops”, “input from others”, “occasionally” and “sometimes”.

Teachers were asked, “What did you like about the PL Meeting today?” The responses were overwhelmingly positive with the ‘opportunity to choose’ and ‘time to play’ being two themes which came through strongly. Some responses were as follows….

–          Designated time to pursue opportunities I don’t normally have time to explore.

–          I had a chance to ‘play’ with some ideas that others had used.

–          Tossed around ideas and acted on the research behind the idea.

–          Having regular days like this will allow us to really build knowledge/resources for new projects.

–          Discussing and coming up with ideas with a staff member I don’t usually work closely with. I was pleasantly surprised at the creative ideas that resulted.

–          The chance to actually think and learn about my job, not just doing it. As teachers it is vitally important that we are also learners.

–          The time to investigate an idea which has been playing on my mind. A start has been made and so further investigation will be more likely to follow.

–          The opportunity to explore apps, websites, tools and blogs that we never get the ‘free time’ to review in any one school day. A great opportunity – thank you!

–          Can we do this again please!

Teachers were asked “As a result of the PL Meeting today, what suggestions do have?” There were the “more please” and “let’s do it again” responses. Furthermore, there was was a theme of wanting to share and hear more from others about what they were doing. Some responses were as follows….

–          Sharing the ideas that groups may be presenting with others.

–          If this was to continue, maybe also have an opportunity to discuss the directions individual research has taken us to find other like-minded people.

–          Perhaps a ‘report back’ to the group next staff meeting. Offer the opportunity for teachers to share the result of their time today with the rest of the staff.

–          Always have options at professional learning meetings/choice

–          It would be great to have another opportunity to research. It would also be good to hear from others about what was useful in their research.

–          Group or pair workers should have a nominated person to keep the pair or group on track. While I was researching as an individual I heard some discussions go way off track and turn into a bit of social chit chat.

What are your thoughts when you read the above?

Where do we go next?