By Kate Chinner

EDITION #9 – How are we going & where to next?

Published – 18th September 2019


Kate Chinner from the Teacher Learning Network 


How to plan, research and access professional development (PD)


Internal School Professional Development 

This might be a whole school professional development opportunity where your principal and school leaders organise a consultant or a leader in your school to present. This happens during curriculum days or staff meetings. Internal PD should align with the school’s Annual Implementation Plan (AIP). There may also be professional development organised for your level team or curriculum team on Professional Practice Days. These are a great opportunity for teachers to learn and work together or visit a school in your area to build your professional knowledge. If you have a particular interest in developing your knowledge of a school wide goal or particular practice you can see visible around the school, talk to your mentor. You may be able to use peer observation as a way to help develop your skills.


External Professional Development

There is likely to be an area of your teaching and learning that you are specifically interested in developing; it could be related to the school’s AIP, your VIT portfolio or personal/professional interest. Check with your mentor, or leaders at your school, about the process to access external PD (it is different in every school). Before approving external PD, the school will need to consider multiple costs, including the cost of the course, the cost of transport, and the cost of the CRT who will be booked to replace you.

 The Department of Education and Training is one source of professional development

 DET offers a range of professional learning both in Melbourne and around the state of Victoria. Visit the catalogue or PD for upcoming courses and opportunities:

The Department of Education and Training also hosts Graduate Teacher Conferences that are designed to support beginning teachers to develop strong networks, and build professional practice and identify.  

DET also has a vast repository of useful information collated in the FUSE website. Click on this link to access the material –


Professional Development providers

There are many providers of professional development across Victoria. Check with your school or mentor about the services that your school currently accesses and do your own research.

When accessing external organisations think about:

  • who is presenting the PD and what is their experience? Good PD organisations will draw on teachers with current and recent teaching experience.
  • whether the organisation has the requisite expertise. If the provider is delivering a course on specialist topic, what evidence have they presented to show that they have the expertise in that field?
  • how the PD is delivered – is it convenient for you and can you fit it in within your own school schedule?

PD providers who meet these criteria include the Australian Education Union, subject associations such as the Maths Association of Victoria, Primary Connections, and the Australian Literacy Educators Association.  The Victorian Institute of Teaching also offers professional development. 


Other Professional Development

Completing professional reading through articles, journals and books is another great way to develop your knowledge and understanding. Keep a record of your readings and learnings as this will help you with you your portfolio for VIT registration and applying for jobs. Podcasts can also be a great way to expose yourself to professional learning as you go about other activities (driving to school, going for a run).  The Graduate Teacher Learning Series Podcast archive includes a series of interviews with graduate teachers, mentor teachers, and expert teachers talking about the professional challenge and rewards.