Derek Timpany, Senior Education Officer (Colleges), the General Teaching Council for Scotland
There is a common misconception that professional learning only relates to ‘formal’ learning.
In practice, valuable professional learning includes a much wider range of experiences.
Lecturers might have explored a new online platform, had a virtual chat with colleagues about what works best for remote learning, arranged an industrial visit or speaker, participated in an academic conference or experimented with a flipped classroom.
Key to meaningful professional learning is that it should be felt to be impactful on a lecturer’s thinking and practice and on students’ learning.
In our A-Z of Professional Learning, we share examples, like the ones below from Loraine Lyall and Barry Carmichael, of professional learning that has had an impact on lecturers and their students.
Can we improve our students’ ability to learn?
My team supports members of staff to develop their teaching skills.
As part of our ongoing professional dialogues on how we could continuously improve the support we provide to members of staff, we decided that we would each do some very basic research into new and emerging theories of learning and teaching which might enhance the teaching and learning process.
What we basically wanted to know was, is it possible to help staff develop their courses in such a way as to help students to learn more easily? Is it possible to improve our students’ ability to learn?
Engaging with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan
I had been delivering Mental Health Awareness within Dundee & Angus College for a period of time and also co-delivering Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid.
One of my co-deliverers used to present a small section on the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), the wellness toolkit.
I was keen to explore the concept of WRAP and how to use it in my own life both professionally and personally as I have had and continue to have mental health difficulties.
Reflecting on your professional learning
All lecturers registered with GTC Scotland need to participate in Professional Update (PU).
PU provides an opportunity to prioritise, record and reflect on professional learning, and self-evaluate against the Professional Standards.
PU is supported by the Professional Review and Development (PRD) process.
PRD allows lecturers to reflect on practice and personal learning through conversations supported by an annual review meeting.