Go to Top

Professional Learning For Change

Guiding Questions

  • How do you collaborate with colleagues for professional learning?
  • What professional learning strategies help educators move their ideas to action?
  • Based on the needs of your students or staff, what do you need to learn more about (e.g., differentiation and assessment concepts, ways to differentiate learning for educators)?
  • What evidence do you use to determine the success of your work?

Research Connections

Collaborative Inquiry Monographs: Collaborative Teacher Inquiry Principals as Co-Learners Collaborative Inquiry in Ontario


A Framework for Transforming Learning in Schools: Innovation and the Spiral of Inquiry


“Sustaining teacher collaboration beyond an inspirational… workshop requires a dedicated effort across many months in the midst of myriad potential obstacles and distractions. Teams that receive consistent support and feedback from their principal or other administrators are far more likely to remain focused and productive, which in turn improves the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. For administrators who embrace the role of assistance, the driving question for each team is not whether or if support should be provided but how and when. By taking inventory of settings and contact points, intentionally planning and differentiating assistance to each team, and aligning the scope of assistance with levels of immediate need, administrators can foster a culture of support and encouragement that is highly valued by teachers, elevates the productivity of meetings, and nurtures an atmosphere of learning for both students and adults.”

Ermeling, Bradley A. Strategic opportunities, The Learning Principal, Winter 2012, Vol 7, #2


Learning How to Foster Collegial Conversations

“… productive collaborative inquiry is characterized by a willingness to investigate teaching-learning connections and to identify and negotiate differences and similarities in beliefs about what constitutes good teaching and meaningful learning. Skilled leaders can facilitate groups in the use of collaborative norms, protocols, and group-generated sets of questions that build the group’s capacity for using conflicting views as starting points for developing shared meanings. When teachers approach conflict as an intellectual challenge rather than an affective or emotional event, differences generate deeper inquiry and professional learning as opposed to threats to professional identity.”

Nelson T., , Deuel A., Slavit D., Kennedy, A. (2010) Leading Deep Conversations in Collaborative Inquiry Groups. The Clearing House, 83: 175–179.


Research tells us that the most effective professional learning involves:

  • Collaborative settings to help teachers step outside their own frame of reference
  • Seeking additional opportunities for teacher learning that specifically target identified student learning dilemmas rather than over-reliance on internally generated ideas
  • Instructional responses that are selected inlight of evidence rather than “personally valued practices”
  • Interactions with other teacher work groups, school-based instructional leaders, or varied external sources of expertise

Cosner, S. (2012). Leading the ongoing development of collaborative data practices: advancing a schema for diagnosis and intervention, Leadership and Policy in Schools (11), 1, p. 26-65