GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

16 Oct 2018

#1minPL - what is professional learning?

Charlaine SimpsonCharlaine Simpson, Senior Education Officer

Professional learning is what teachers engage in to stimulate their thinking and professional knowledge and to ensure that their practice is critically informed and up-to-date. We believe that by undertaking a wide range of high-quality, sustained professional learning experiences, teachers are more likely to inspire pupils and provide high-quality teaching and learning experiences, enabling learners to achieve their best.

It is important that professional learning provides rich opportunities for teachers to develop and enhance their professional knowledge and practice, in order to progress the quality of learning and teaching and school improvement.

A model of professional learning

2018-pl-model (002)


The model of professional learning above captures the core features and processes of professional learning.

The central focus is the teacher-as-learner, the deeply interconnected relationship between the teacher-as-learner and children and young people, and the impact of this relationship on the learning experience.

Professional learning should be:

  • Challenging and lead to developing thinking, knowledge, skills and understanding [learning that deepens knowledge and understanding]
  • Underpinned by an enquiring stance and developing skills of enquiry and criticality [learning by enquiring]
  • Interactive, reflective and involve learning with and from others [learning-as-collaborative]
  • Informed and supported by Professional Standards and other educational policy.

Leadership of and for learning is recognised as an essential factor to ensure professional learning is well planned, supported, promoted and sustained.

Find out more about Professional Learning: