Professional reading as professional development

22 February 2023

Professional reading can be a great way to engage in professional development; it can offer diverse voices, insights to specialist subjects, and flexibility in time commitment, content and location.

It’s considered by many to be an essential part of professional development as it can help teachers keep up-to-date with current research, best-practice and trends across the education sector. It can be an excellent source of inspiration for new ways of teaching, and offer insights into how to make subject matter meaningful.

While many people may consider reading to be something to be done alone in silence, professional reading groups can function just like book clubs, creating networks of teachers and supporting discussions about teaching practice.

Several members of parliament’s staff come together on a regular basis to read and discuss articles relevant to our work. The articles have ranged from pieces written about the mostly unknown female artists of the Premiers’ portraits to Ron Ritchhart’s (from Harvard Project Zero) work on developing museums and public spaces that promote thinking. The discussion varies from asking questions about how different ideas might apply to our work to sharing bits of the articles we found most interesting, or even most challenging.


Questions to get you started

Here are some useful questions to help kick off the conversations:

  • What were parts or points that stood out to you most?
  • How might you incorporate the content, teaching strategies or insights into your teaching practice?
  • What perspectives are being represented?
  • Are there any assumptions or generalisations that don’t fit with your classroom experience or practice?
  • What questions does the article raise?

There are also a range of thinking routines such as those produced by Havard Project Zero that can be a useful starting. Here are some of our favourites:

  • 3-2-1 Bridge–this is a great routine to do before and after reading to see how much your thinking might have shifted. If you’re reading the same material as other people, it’s also really interesting to hear what other people have highlighted and picked up on. Answering the questions is also a really good way to kick-off the discussion and is a really nice starting point if you would like to do further investigation on a topic.
  • Creative question starts–much of the literature around literacy and reading suggests that strong readers ask questions. This thinking routine encourages you to think of a range of questions you could ask when reading. You might like to have some core questions, such as “how does this apply to my teaching practice?” that can be used across a lot of different reading material, and/or questions that relate to specific topics or pieces.
  • Walk the week–This routine is a great one for reflection and connecting reading material back to the classroom, either pre- or post- reading. Take one or two key concepts and see if you can identify connections to your classroom/s over the last week. How are those moments examples of the key concepts? How might you apply those key concepts in future classrooms?

Keeping track

Keeping track of some of the thoughts, reflections and things you have learnt during your reading and conversations, is also useful documentation and evidence for your VIT registration. You might like to create a reading journal, which could include details such as:

  • Title, author and date read
  • One to two sentence overview of the article (always useful to help remember what the article was at the end of the year)
  • Any key points or reflections from the discussion or your reading
  • Key connections to the classroom, e.g. how has the reading changed your practice. This may be in relation to one piece of material, the practice of professional reading itself, or longer term reflections on the impact of several pieces.

Download 'In conversation' professional learning notes

If you’re looking for some reading to get you started, we have you covered. We’ve included two documents, professional learning notes from some short ‘In conversation’ panels we ran at the end of December 2023. The first is a summary of the conversation between two of our procedural experts, Kate and Annemarie, who offer a behind the scenes glimpse at how the chambers work. The second is a summary of the conversation between two of our committee managers, Jess and Patrick, who discuss in detail the role of parliamentary committees.


Additional reading material

Below are a few more other sites to get you started. A few of the teaching associations have blogs and associated journals, but may be member access only; don’t forget to check if your school has a membership.

Social Education Victoria

Victorian Commercial Teachers Association

Victoria Law Foundation

Education related publications

Let us know what you're reading

If you’re discovered a source of professional reading or have read something of interest, let us know at We’ll add it to the list!