Appendix 5: Two types of professional learning conversation

Timperley and Parr (2004) 1 outline key principles for two different but interrelated types of professional learning conversation in successful schools:

Type 1 professional learning conversation, about raising student achievement.

Type 2 professional learning conversation, about improving the quality of teaching practice.

Key principles:

1. Consider both curriculum expectations for progress in learning and the evidence of previous student achievement in initial planning meetings.

2. Look at improving day to day teaching activities to accelerate learning in the first instance, rather than additional or withdrawal programmes.

3. Plan to collect evidence during the intervention so that both student progress and the effectiveness of the intervention can be gauged.

4. Make early decisions about what information is important to collect, how often to collect it, and how to analyse the data.

5. The single most critical decision is about which benchmark to use to gauge progress. Make a decision about how to develop a clear benchmark and apply it during the intervention.

6. Make regular and ongoing decisions about how to interpret the emerging evidence and to plan next steps.

Key principles:

1. Be respectful of everyone’s contribution when considering current teaching practices and what might be needed for improvement. Pooling the range of viewpoints about both matters is a key entry point.

2. Maximise valid information at the problem identification stage by seeking all relevant information that is pertinent to the area of improvement that has been identified.

3. Apply an attitude of inquiry and desire to find new and more useful information that might assist improvement throughout.

4. Establish current best practice amongst the group by sharing and comparing data. This should identify the teacher or teachers who are best qualified to help and support others.

5. Source the external expertise needed to supplement the available internal expertise.

6. Keep the PLD process inclusive throughout so that activities are shared, information about impact is analysed together and key decisions are collectively made.