The NSW Teachers Federation’s (NSWTF) Centre for Professional Learning (CPL) provides high quality training and support for Federation members in a range of educational areas. The courses and conferences provide practical, tested and well researched approaches to issues that face teachers every day at the school level.

The CPL aims to offer programs that are useful across the spectrum of a teacher’s career from the early years of teaching to the experienced and leadership levels. Courses and conferences are conducted in-person, as well as online.

Courses and Conferences

CPL courses are endorsed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the NSWTF is endorsed to provide NESA Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher. In June 2018 the Federation’s application to become an endorsed provider for teachers accredited at Highly Accomplished was successful. The CPL has designed courses to be offered at highly accomplished in 2019.

Terms 3 and 4 of the 2018 school year will see the continued consolidation of the CPL. At this stage, there are a total of 50 events including 3 conferences and 2 online modules scheduled for Semester 2, 2018. In an effort to continue the widening of the professional learning opportunities for members in regional areas, the CPL will offer courses in the Central West of NSW in Parkes and Dubbo, Newcastle, Mussellbrook, Coffs Harbour, Kiama, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga and Queanbeyan. So far this year courses have been conducted in Sydney in Surry Hills and Blacktown, the Hunter, Ballina, Dubbo and Tamworth. The scope of the 2018 courses will continue to concentrate on current syllabus implementation and the rollout of the new NSW syllabuses including Stage 6 Syllabuses. Additionally the CPL program will contain course offerings which cover other parts of the curriculum and learning across the curriculum.

The range of courses on offer in Semester 2 will expand in breadth including courses such as Assessment in Geography 7-10, Introducing the New Stage 6 Mathematics Advanced and Extension Syllabuses, Depth Studies and Student Research Projects for Science 7-12, Supporting EAL/D Students K-6, Understanding the Role of Phonics in the Literacy Journey K-6, Teaching English and Literacy Creatively in Primary Classrooms, Supporting Students with Autism K-6, Modern History Year 12 and Writers for Life: Teaching Writing K-6. Courses will once again be offered in Surry Hills and in western Sydney in Blacktown.

The CPL is continuing the partnership with the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums (ANSWRC) to provide high quality professional learning to support primary teachers who wish to use music as an element of their classroom practice. These courses include Leading a School Choir in Primary Schools, Developing Music Reading Skills for Singing and Playing Instruments in Your K-6 Classroom and Starting a School Band in a Primary School? The Fundamentals Explained. A new course for secondary music teachers, Secondary Music Ensemble Conducting, is being developed for delivery in term 4. Dr Graham Sattler, a presenter from the ANSWRC who has a wealth of music education expertise, will deliver these courses in Surry Hills, the Mitchell Conservatorium in Bathurst, Coffs Harbour and the Musswellbrook Regional Conservatorium.

Coming to Grips with Grammar in English K-10, Getting Interpersonal with Grammar in English K-10 and Language for Organising Text in English K-10 are professional learning opportunities offered as online modules by the School of Education at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in partnership with the CPL. Successful completion of all three modules may enable participants to apply for academic credit to the postgraduate coursework program within Education at UOW.

Musica Viva, in partnership with the CPL, continues to offer an online course, Music Education Skills for the Primary Classroom. This is a general introduction to music education in the primary school, aimed at non-specialists. Throughout the course a Musica Viva instructor is available to provide support and guidance and a forum is also conducted to allow for questions and answers to be posted. Many teachers from regional areas have completed the course and it has been highly evaluated by participants.

The Secondary HSC English Conference was conducted twice this year due to unprecedented demand and provided the opportunity for English teachers to engage in a significant professional learning experience. Our three highly experienced and passionate presenters were Dr. Jackie Manuel, Deb McPherson and Jane Sherlock. Planning has already commenced for the secondary English Conference to be conducted in 2019, details of which will be released shortly.

The Early Stage One Conference, ‘From Curiosity to Independent Thinking’, held in May, focused on the particular needs of students in their first year of schooling as they transition from the Early Learning Framework for Australia to the NSW English and Mathematics syllabuses. The goal for the first year of schooling is to use children’s natural curiosity to develop independent thinking. Through the many options offered during the conference teachers gained an understanding of how the Early Learning Framework informs early stage one teaching and learning. Participants examined effective teaching using the English syllabus. The development of student understanding in maths and effective speaking and listening were also explored.

The inaugural K-6 Teacher Librarian Conference will be conducted 31 August 2018. This conference will focus on the school library and explore how teacher librarians support students to understand the many layers within texts and analyse texts in the sophisticated way the NSW English Syllabus K-6 expects.

The Aboriginal Education in Your School K-12 Conference will be conducted 30 October 2018 and is designed to support the implementation of Aboriginal education in public schools. Participants will engage with research, DoE and NSWTF policies and planning frameworks to underpin and embed practices in the classroom.

Planning is underway for the inaugural Mental Health of Students with Disability K-12 Conference which is scheduled for term 4 and is designed to connect teachers with leading experts and practitioners in the field of mental health of children with disability. The conference aims to support improved outcomes for students through practice, which assists with early detection and prioritises effective intervention strategies.

Federation members appreciate and support the provision of high quality professional learning being delivered through the CPL at a reasonable cost. This has been acknowledged by Federation Executive, Council, Annual Conference, Associations and by the membership in general. Many members express pride and satisfaction in the way the CPL promotes and advertises the professionalism and accomplishment of teachers and public education. In 2018, the fee for 1 day courses is $190 and $225 for conferences and will apply except for those courses dedicated to early career teachers which will continue to have the fee waived. In the usual fashion, school are asked to meet the relief costs incurred by teachers attending their professional learning courses.

The CPL adds an important extra dimension to the union’s standing both with its members and in the public domain. It boosts the morale of members and makes a positive contribution to the Federation’s ongoing efforts to raise the status of the teaching profession and promote the public education system in the wider NSW community. The reach of the CPL has been significant with 1,269 individual schools/workplaces represented at CPL events during 2017. Another indication of the extent of member participation in 2017 is that 158 NSWTF school associations have had members attend CPL events out of a possible 167.

All financial members of the NSW Teachers Federation are eligible to apply to attend CPL courses and conferences. Members are able to access course and conference information and enrol in courses at the CPL website www.cpl.asn.au

Journal of Professional Learning (JPL) and JPL Podcast

The Journal of Professional Learning (JPL) and the JPL Podcast are an online professional journal and a podcast that seek to enhance the quality of teaching and public education in NSW and Australia through practical articles and professional conversations for teachers. The JPL was established as adjunct to the work of the CPL.

Since January 2018, 33,000 readers have accessed 60 JPL articles and 7,500 listeners have accessed 20 JPL Podcast episodes through the CPL website.

Members also continued to maintain their accreditation through reading JPL articles and listening to JPL Podcasts, as well as meeting their professional learning goals for the Performance and Development Framework.

The Semester 1, 2018 edition of JPL delivered 8 new articles electronically to all members in Term 1 and continued a special series of articles to support the implementation of the new Stage 6 Mathematics and English courses, which were taught in all Secondary schools for the first time this year. The edition then expanded to matters concerning all teachers across our public education system, including Christina Ho’s revealing illustration of diversity, ethnicity and advantage, as well as an article calling for more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our profession. Richard Gill’s highly popular article reflected on his successful career in music education and how NAPLAN has diminished teaching and assessment since he was a beginning teacher, and Les Perelman made a successful case against the flawed evidence-base for robot marking of NAPLAN.

New JPL contributors included academics from University Technology Sydney and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Sydney Chamber Choir.

JPL Podcast released 8 new, 30 minutes episodes between January and June, 2018. Episodes included support for teachers of the new Stage 6 History, English and Science syllabuses as well as K-6 reading and comprehension, 7-12 extended response writing and a special two-part series with Dr. Les Perelman around teaching and assessing writing and teachers as researchers.

The JPL has successfully continued to expand its reach into international and academic fields through workshop and summit contributions at the Alberta Teachers Association’s annual teacher conference, attended by 1200 educators and policy makers in Canada in April. The NSWTF’s JPL has also extended their involvement with the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), becoming a Major Partner for their Annual Conference in Sydney in December 2018 and the Editor has been invited to deliver a special workshop around writing for teacher journals. The conference will attract over 600 education research academics from Australia and internationally.