Visible professional learning

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Professional development
Professional capability
Evaluation indicators
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“We know we’ve always got things we need to keep improving on. We know we are never there.”

At McAuley High School, classroom teacher observations are a frequent occurrence and students report how they regard this as teachers actively modelling learning behaviour.

Key messages:

  • Students see teachers receiving and responding to feedback from other teachers
  • Students learn that everyone needs to be open to learning, and that learning is lifelong
  • Staff carry the open to learning approach into teacher only professional learning settings

Things to think about:

  • How visible is your learning to others?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 5: Professional capability and collective capacity
    • Evaluation Indicator
      • Organisational structures, processes and practices enable and sustain collaborative learning and decision making

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

Construct your list with the person next to you.


They see their teachers spending a lot of time on professional development, going in and out of each other's classes. They see teachers giving each other feedback, and they can see that we're responding to the feedback from other staff members.


She comes in from time to time to observe how the teachers are going, and how they're teaching us. I think that's good so that teachers can get better.


Hello, miss. I'll be off in a minute. I may stay for five minutes. I may stay for 20 minutes, but I'm just observing. I'm looking at the classroom  dynamics and the relationships between the teachers and the students, the students and the students. I'm looking really at, are we practicing manaakitanga? Is there a good student relationship? Is there respect, humility, mana? Is there āwhina? Let's see it in action. I think it's really cool of them to do it, because we're like sitting there looking at them.


We're, like: whoa-- you actually do ask questions of each other. And it's really good, because they're learning new things from each other that they don't know that they've known.


It happens quite often here at McAuley. Here, teachers like to acknowledge that they make mistakes. I just began to notice that we're all still learning as well, and that created a safer space for me to ask for help. I think that's what a lot of students lack as well is that confidence to say: oh, I don't get this - it's like, can you help me please? But it just opened up a safer space.


The last few years, in terms of the technology explosion, it's been fantastic, because in a lot of respects, a lot of the teachers have had to learn from the students. And that's changed the teacher and student relationship, because the teacher doesn't necessarily have all the answers. And it's been really nice to have the students teaching us as well.


It's the same philosophy that we want to expose the students to. You're going to struggle if you think that you can cope by yourself and make decisions by yourself, and you're learning by yourself. It's better to take people with you to share the load.


We know that we're never there. We know that we've always got things that we have to keep improving on. That is built into our whole psyche in terms of our professional development, in terms of department meetings. We spend a lot of time looking at where we're at, where the student's are at, and where we need to go to next.