Goals for Growth. Importance of professional learning and self-growth

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

Albert Einstein

AITSL describes professional learning as a continuous cycle.

“Whether you’re a teacher or a school leader, the High-Quality Professional Learning Cycle will keep you on track throughout your professional learning journey.”

Planning goals for growth should be a straightforward, self-directed process. 

Without a plan there will be little or no growth. 

The reality is that mandatory professional learning and compliance tasks have overshadowed the importance of evidence-based professional learning and affected the engagement of teachers and school leaders in professional learning.

The Professional Development Process (PDP) that was developed in consultation between the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF) and the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities (2015) was a significant change to planning for professional development that included an annual review of the set goals. 

What the original PDP offered and how the process was implemented did not realize the potential of the process, rather it morphed into another task that tore into teachers’ time. The process was often used as a tool to measure compliance and has resulted in a revised PDP process being rolled out in 2023 (NSW). 

Professional growth is important and is linked to Performance Standards and accreditation. The ATSIL model is considered best practice.  Professional growth is the process to illustrate the professionalism of teachers and school leaders. Updating skills, learning and implementing new strategies and demonstrating proficiency is part of many other professions.  Accreditation is an important factor in articulating the status of our profession.  

Self-growth is important. Finding the time and having the energy to actively plan for self-growth is a necessary part of creating a healthy home/life balance. It is best formed as part of your self-care plan.

Self-growth requires motivation, the desire to improve, and the willingness to make effective changes. Changing your mindset and becoming more positive are examples of growth.  Self-care speaks to the emotional, physical and psychological domains of life. Personal growth is significant in planning for a healthy work/life balance.

Self-care helps recognise the types of ways unique individuals can re-energise, prioritise, and lower stress. Planning for self-growth does not need an external metric to measure your progress. Self-reflection is an important part of an effective plan for growth. 

Start this school year with a plan for growth.