Chartered teachers in Scotland
Chartered teachers in Scotland

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Chartered teachers in Scotland

3.2 Professional knowledge

Since you began teaching, you will have made use of professional knowledge from at least three sources: initial training, ‘on-job’ learning and in-service training. In the Activity 2 reading, Banks characterised initial teacher education in the past as a ‘stuff into their knapsack for future use’ approach (p. 2). Perhaps this was your experience too.

Whatever your experience of initial training, it is unlikely to have prepared you comprehensively for the teaching role, particularly in relation to working effectively with the complexities of social relationships within schools and classrooms.

As you reflect on your teaching experience, it may be helpful to think of the knowledge you have acquired in two dimensions. Learning can be on-job or off-job and each kind can be experiential or formal. This idea is shown in Table 1 where four broad ways in which you might have learned about the practice of teaching are proposed as models for discussion purposes.

Table 1: Dimensions of professional learning

On-job/experiential learningOn-job/formal learning
e.g. what you have learned through your own classroom experience, especially innovatory work; in-school working parties; observing other teachers at work; curriculum development tasks; subject planning; self-evaluation worke.g. school in-service activities; visiting speakers/tutors; national and local council documents
Off-job/experiential learningOff-job/formal learning
e.g. visits to other schools; local authority working parties; international visits; national development groupse.g. local authority courses; national training

The purpose of the next activity is to help you to review the significant professional learning you have achieved since you became a fully registered teacher in terms of ‘dimensions of professional learning’.

Activity 3

Timing: 0 hours 40 minutes
  1. Print a copy of Template 1.1, linked below. This is a blank version of Table 1 ‘Dimensions of professional learning’. Complete Template 1.1 by identifying up to six of your personal experiences which could fit into each relevant quadrant.
  2. Next, open Template 1.2, ‘Learning record’, linked below, and print four copies as you will need this template several times throughout the course. Choose one activity from each quadrant of Template 1.1, ‘Dimensions of professional learning’, and use Template 1.2 to outline:

    • what you did in the activity;

    • what you learned; and

    • how you were able to apply it to your own work.

  3. Then read Template 1.2a, linked below, which is an example of a completed learning record.

Click on the link below to open Template 1.1

Template 1.1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Click on the link below to open Template 1.2

Template 1.2

Click on the link below to open Template 1.2a

Template 1.2a

How does this completed form compare with your own? Focus on the types of information that have been included rather than the actual content related to the subject area.


After attending a continuing professional development (CPD) course, it is not always easy to identify specific examples of how techniques and ideas being presented can be applied back in school. When the skills being developed are fairly practical, then it is usually easier to replicate them. The use of ICT in teaching and learning is a good illustration of this. Communicating the techniques about using a specific piece of software can be relatively straightforward. However, considering why, how and when the software should be used is more complex. Making these judgements requires time for reflection.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus