Case study snapshot
Traditional forms of professional development are struggling to engage with teachers, particularly early career teachers.
TeachMeets are teacher-led professional development events, where like-minded educators share ideas on a chosen education topic. TeachMeets are usually hosted in informal settings, and organised online and via social media. Many early career teachers regularly participate and organise TeachMeets.
Teacher-led professional development is an effective method of engaging with early career teachers. The professional networks established by TeachMeets have acted as an additional source of professional support for early career teachers.
TeachMeets are informal, teacher-led professional development sessions that share practical insights between educators. TeachMeets provide a platform for teachers to give a brief presentation (two – seven minutes) on their ideas to other interested teachers. Topics for each TeachMeet are decided beforehand by the event organiser. TeachMeet events are free to organise and free to attend.
The origin of the TeachMeets global movement was with a group of teachers who met at a pub in Scotland in 2006. The informal meeting was for these teachers to share ideas and discuss their teaching. From these humble beginnings this movement has spread across the world, meeting the demand for teacher-led, needs-based professional learning. These un-conferences reflect educators’ desire to be more actively involved in their own professional learning. TeachMeets have moved away from the traditional professional learning model of knowledge transfer from ‘expert’ to learner. The TeachMeets purpose is to create and enhance shared knowledge between passionate educators.
Matt Esterman started organising TeachMeets in Sydney in 2010. His first event was held at his school and was promoted purely by word of mouth. After this first successful TeachMeet, Henrietta Miller a primary teacher from a nearby school contacted him as she had also just independently arranged a TeachMeet. They joined forces to continue sharing the TeachMeet format and grow the movement across the country. Since beginning in 2010, there have been over 100 TeachMeets across Australia, reaching over 3000 teachers.
While not explicitly related to early career teacher professional development, a growing number of early career teachers are involved and organise local TeachMeets (see Rooty Hill High School TeachMeet case study for an example). As such, TeachMeets are changing the face of professional learning for educators, and are proving to be an effective means for engaging early career teachers in professional learning.