University of Technology Sydney

013409 Professional Learning

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Education: Professional Learning
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This first subject in the professional experience sequence locates teaching as a profession. A key element of the profession is a commitment to continual improvement and knowledge production. The subject introduces a range of forms of professional teacher learning. The subject contrasts relevant professional learning forms with varying emphasis on context, collaboration, evidence-based decision making and education research. Students practice participating in various forms of teacher learning and consider the utility of these for their ongoing development, as well as their implication for pupil learning. The benefits of parent/carer engagement in education are explored, along with strategies for teachers to work effectively, sensitively and confidently with parents/carers. The Graduate Teacher Standards (GTS) and e-portfolios are introduced as a basis for organising, monitoring and documenting professional learning.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learning (6.4.1)
b. Engage in, and reflect on, different forms of teachers’ professional learning
c. Establish an e-portfolio for professional learning
d. Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process (3.7.1).
e. Give examples of strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers (7.3.1)
f. Develop strategies to engage parent/carers in schools which incorporate the perspectives of the full cultural and social diversity of the schools’ communities. (7.3.1, 3.7.1)
g. Communicates appropriately to a range of audiences

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject addresses the following Course Intended Leaning Outcomes:

1. Professional Readiness
1.5 Engage in professional learning, demonstrating complex problem solving and intellectual independence in a research project

1.6) Exhibit recent technological pedagogical and content knowledge with creativity and initiative

2. Critical and creative inquiry
2.1 Enquire into and research practice to improve educational experiences and outcomes

3. International and intercultural engagement
3.1 Demonstrate extensive knowledge and respect for diverse societies, cultures and an ability to inform inclusive practices

4. Indigenous competencies
4.1 Understand and appreciate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, policies and priorities and their implications for teaching and inclusion

5. Active citizenship
5.1 Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community with a high level of personal autonomy
5.2 Are professionals with a profound ethical foundation and sense of social responsibility and a commitment to social justice

6. Effective communication
6.1 Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
6.3 Are effective communicators, highly skilled in new literacies, able to justify and interpret professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences

This subject makes a major contribution to the following National Graduate Teacher Standards:

  • Apply professional learning and improve student learning (GTS 6.4.1)
  • Engage with parents/carers (GTS 7.3.1)
  • Engage parents/carers in the educative process (GTS 3.7.1)

This subject also lays groundwork for the following National Graduate Teacher Standards:

  • Engage in professional learning and improve practice (GTS 6.2.1)
  • Engage with professional networks and broader communities (GTS 7.4.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is offered in two modes – Weekly and Block. Both modes involve face-to-face attendance in workshops as well as substantial online activities between workshops. Independent reading and completion of learning activities between face-to-face workshops complements, supports and consolidates face-to-face learning experiences. In face-to-face workshops students learn about professional learning through active participation in different forms of professional learning and then by reflecting on their experiences. This includes a simulation where students work in small groups over several weeks to complete a series of tasks culminating in the development of strategies for engaging parents and communities in the educative process.

Content (topics)

The subject is organised around a number of interrelated units that are framed by the following questions:

1. Why is learning throughout the career important for teachers?

2. How do teachers learn individually?

3. How do teachers learn collectively?

4. Why should schools/teachers engage with parents/carers/communities?

5. What do teachers need to know about their school and its students before they engage with parents and the school ‘s community?

6. What do teachers need to know about their community before attempting to engage with it?

7. What strategies are most appropriate for engaging with parents/carers/communities?

8. What is a professional portfolio, and how can it support teacher learning?

9. How are schools engaging with their parents/carers/communities, and what can we learn from them?

10. What have I learned, and what does it mean?

Weekly and Block mode students will cover the same content but using activities that best serve the particular learning mode. All students will be expected to complete the on-line activities (about an hour per week) plus undertake the required readings for the subject.


Assessment task 1: Working Group & Report


b, d, e, f and g

Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 40%

2000 words or equivalent

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Relevance and selectivity of key information included in the school community profile. 15 e 2.1
Alignment of strategy/strategies to engage parents/communities to the school community profile 20 f 4.1
Strength of justification given for how strategy/strategies developed will impact on pupil learning. 15 d 6.1
Depth of reflection of the collaborative professional learning process. 15 b 5.1
Cohesiveness, effective choice of language and accuracy (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, referencing etc) of written work. 10 g 6.3
Professionalism demonstrated in, and contribution to, group process and outputs (peer assessed). 25 b 1.5
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Portfolio


a, b, c, d, e, f and g

Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%

2000 words or equivalent

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Organisation, creativity and appropriateness of introductory page 10 c 1.6
Depth of reflection, and relevance of examples used, in entry 3.7.1 20 d 5.1
Depth of reflection, and relevance of examples used, in entry 6.4.1. 40 a, b 5.2
Depth of reflection, and relevance of examples used, in entry 7.3.1. 20 e, f 3.1
Cohesiveness, effective choice of language and accuracy (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, referencing etc) of written work. 10 g 6.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

A significant amount of student learning in this subject is via activities in face-to-face workshops, where students learn about the value of various forms of teacher learning by experiencing and reflecting on their experience of them. For this reason, students are required to attend all workshops. Minimum attendance requirements are 8 out of the 9 weekly workshops and lectures (Weekly mode) or 3 full block sessions out of 4 and lectures (Block mode). Students who fail to meet these requirements will be refused to have their final assessment marked (Rule 3.8).

A pass on each assessment task is required to pass this subject so that all achievements of all Subject Objectives can be verified.


Barnes, Y, & Solomon, Y. (2014). Empowering teachers as learners: continuing professional learning programmes as sites for critical development in pedagogic practices. In C. Day & J. Sach (Eds.), Workplace learning in teacher education: international practice and policy (pp. 137-150). Dorhrecht: Springer.

Campbell, E. (2003). The ethical teacher. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Clarke, M, & Pittaway, S. (2014). Teacher standards. In M. Clark & M. Pittaway (Eds.), Marsh's Becoming a teacher (pp. 400-416). Frenchs Forest: Pearson.

Ghaye, A, & Ghaye, K (Eds.). (1998). Teaching and learning through critical reflective practice. London: David Fulton.

Keith-Spiegel, P, Whitely, B, Balough, D, & Perkins, D. (2002). The ethics of teaching: a casebook (Vol. Routledge): London.

Kinnaird, Paige. (2013). Parental Involvement: Building a True Working Relationship (Vol. 1534645, pp. 117). Ann Arbor: State University of New York Empire State College.

Makgopa, Masiye, & Mokhele, Matseliso. (2013). Teachers' Perceptions on Parental Involvement: A Case Study of Two South African Schools. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 3(3), 219-225.

McNiff, Jean. (2010). Action research for professional development: concise advice for new and experienced action researchers. Poole, Dorset: September Books.

Reich, A., Rooney, D., & Boud, D. (2015). Dilemmas in continuing professional learning: Learning inscribed in frameworks or elicited from practice’. Studies in Continuing Education. doi: DOI: 10.1080/0158037X.2015.1022717

Russell, T, & Munby, H (Eds.). (1991). Teachers and teaching: from classroom to reflection. New York: The Falmer Press.

Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. USA: Basic Books Inc.

Torrance, D., & Forde, C. (2017). Redefining what it means to be a teacher through professional standards: implications for continuing teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(1), 110-126

Townsend, A. (2010). Action research. In D. Hartas (Ed.), Educational research and inquiry: qualitative and quantitative approaches (pp. 131-144). London: Continuum.

Other resources

UTSOnline will be a major source of learning resources for this subject (eg. videos, podcasts, YouTube clips, web-links, readings etc). New items will be added over the semester so be sure to log in on a regular basis.