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New from ACER Press: Leading Professional Learning

Media release 3 minute read

A new book from ACER Press helps school leaders address the complex challenge of implementing effective professional learning for school improvement.

Monday 25 November 2019: School leadership is an increasingly demanding job performed under ever more challenging conditions. A national conversation about consistent school improvement means school leaders and principals must continuously strive to improve teaching and learning in their schools – but how? Recommendations for attaining better learning outcomes abound but the often conflicting advice can be confusing.

One constant from the research, however, is that teacher professional learning and development – provided it is appropriate and undertaken in the right conditions –positively affects learning outcomes for students.

Leading Professional Learning: Practical Strategies for Impact in Schools, by educators and researchers Helen Timperley, Fiona Ell, Deidre Le Fevre and Kaye Twyford, highlights some of the complex challenges principals face when leading professional learning and development as part of a school improvement agenda, including:

  • developing coherence and a sustained focus
  • creating a learning culture
  • working with the emotional impact of change as both leaders and teachers face new vulnerabilities
  • using evidence and thinking evaluatively about impact
  • addressing issues of equity, unconscious bias and beliefs that may be getting in the way of addressing these difficult issues.

Some of these challenges will sound familiar; they feature in prominent tools like the National School Improvement Tool (from the Australian Council for Educational Research [ACER] and The Queensland Department of Education) and the Principal Performance Improvement Tool (ACER and The Western Australian Department of Education). This book complements those tools by unpacking the challenges involved and translating them into the complex reality of the school environment.

Leading Professional Learning is a practical resource to help school leaders identify and address the specific issues found, almost inevitably, to accompany the professional learning and improvement process. It is based on many years of separate and joint research by the authors – each a leader in her field – including a review of more than 90 studies on approaches to professional learning that impacted student outcomes, a five-year R&D project involving over 250 primary and secondary schools in New Zealand, and extensive R&D work in the last 10 years in Australian schools and education departments.

About the authors:

Helen Timperley PhD is Professor Emeritus of Education at The University of Auckland. She has written six books and numerous journal articles and is best known for her work with the Spiral of Inquiry model.

Fiona Ell PhD is an Associate Professor at The University of Auckland and a leader in the school improvement field in Australia and New Zealand.

Deidre Le Fevre PhD is Head of Graduate Programs in Educational Leadership at The University of Auckland, a former school teacher and researcher on leadership, professional development and organisational change.

Kaye Twyford PhD is a lecturer in Educational Leadership at The University of Auckland and an experienced secondary teacher and leader who supports schools in using inquiry and collaborative practice.

Find out more in this exclusive extract.


Notes to media:

  • Publication: 2 December 2019, $59.95 AUD
  • Authors are available for interview and possible commission on request.
  • Complimentary review copies are available on request.
  • Extracts may be reproduced on request.

Media contact:

ACER Communications: +61 (0)3 9277 5582 | +61 (0)419340058 |

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