The Professional Learning Continuum

Module 3’s readings and stimulus material were well designed to help us consider our place on a professional learning continuum.  


Feiman-Nemser’s (2001) article explores her thoughts on the central tasks of learning as they relate to the stages of a teachers development. In this case, her work focuses on preservice, induction and early professional development. She explains that “the notion of ‘central tasks’ suggests that each phase in a continuum of teacher learning has a unique agenda shaped by the requirements of good teaching and by where teachers are in their professional development”(p.1014-1015)

The following table (included in the article) identifies these central tasks.


(Feiman-Nemser, 2001, p.1050)


Thinking about my own preservice teaching phase, I can definitely relate and think back to all the central tasks identified by Feiman-Nemser (2001). Despite these tasks being something that was considered, I’m not sure I can quantify the depth at which they were covered. Developing a repertoire was something focused on during practicum while the others were largely explored academically. The first task listed in the induction phase is arguably among the most important learning that needs to be done when you begin working at a new institution. Learning the context allows you to ‘get on the same page’ as colleagues, community, and students. A key difference here might be an extension of this context. What are your school’s expectations for assessment and reporting? How/when is feedback given? How do you operate the learning management system? The continuing professional development section is also characterised by tasks that are familiar to my experience in secondary education. It seems as though Feiman-Nemser (2001) central tasks are general and can incorporate a wide spectrum of the task. As this is the case, it’s difficult to generate further differences.


It is interesting to explore how different education systems provide for a continuum of professional learning.  This article looks at three successful education systems – Finland, Ontario and Singapore – and discusses the policies in place to create an effective educator workforce.

In a previous post, I described how I was from Canada and have since immigrated to Australia and have been teaching here for the past ten years. I’m always interested in exploring new education models and in this case, one from ‘back home.’


It’s incredible to hear of the diversity within their education system. 27% of students in Ontario were born outside Canada (Darling-Hammond, & Rothman, 2011, p.23). That statistic would lead me to believe that there ranges of abilities within a classroom could be more pronounced. On account of this, the education branch of the provincial government recognises that teachers are “the single most important factor in the improvement of student achievement, and teacher professional development as the single most important factor in the improvement of teacher quality” (Darling-Hammond, & Rothman, 2011, p.24). It seems as though high standards reflected in a rigorous induction program, appraisal and evaluation, and an encouragement to pursue continued education opportunities help improve their teachers quality.



(please note that formatting problems within WordPress has impacted the correct indentation of referencing below)


Darling-Hammond, L., & Rothman, R. (2011). Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High-Performing Education Systems. Alliance for Excellent Education and Stanford Centre for Opportunity Policy in Education. Retrieved from


Feiman-Nemser, S. (2001). From preparation to practice: Designing a continuum to strengthen and sustain teaching. Teachers College Record, 103(6), 1013-1055.

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