When Annie pointedly raises one index finger, her colleagues smile knowingly, immediately grasping
her meaning. One of the Deputy Principals at St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Footscray, Annie is signaling that there is but one page, and they’re all on it. The image and its symbolic gesture connotate the shared language resonating throughout the school community – the language of learning.
There is a natural flow to the conversation as Karen, the Principal of St Monica’s, and Annie describe their ‘hidden gem’ of a school. As Karen says, they’ve always been considered a good school, indicated by ‘getting good results for kids, accessing good high school options, maintaining a calm and ordered learning space’.
But for Karen and her two deputies, Paula and Annie, ‘good’ was not enough as they were looking to continue to develop and extend themselves as learners. It was at this point several years ago they saw advertised the Visible Learning+ professional learning based on the research of Professor John Hattie and were attracted by its basis in research and its provision of ongoing support. Karen maintains they are very discerning about professional learning offerings and so would only take on what they considered worthwhile for their students and their staff.
Considered, Concentrated and Collaborative
Annie explains that in encouraging staff to engage in the professional learning, the power lay in being able to reference Hattie’s research and what makes the most difference in terms of student learning. Plus, there was the need for time and timeliness:
“That research created a lot of great, deep discussion because for some people it was contrary to what they thought. We had to allow for that discussion.”
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