The Six Key Elements

About Jenny

Dr Jennifer Nayler

Dr Jennifer Nayler is an independent educational consultant, speaker, facilitator and writer. As well as tertiary teaching and research experience, she has worked in education and social policy development, taught in secondary schools and worked on major national and state projects.

Jenny’s professional interests include:

  • alignment of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment within the context of the Australian Curriculum
  • inquiry-based learning, as a structured teaching approach which also includes direct, collaborative and experiential teaching
  • equity and differentiated support for all learners
  • leadership and strategic planning to enact quality curriculum, assessment and teaching/learning
  • development, collection and sharing of artefacts that demonstrate the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

All of this work is underpinned by a strong commitment to social justice. Jenny has published papers and books in these areas. She was chief external writer for the Queensland Studies Authority’s (QSA; now QCAA) publication, Building student success. She has written several discussion papers for the QSA, including Planning issues and strategies for P–10 multiple year level classrooms. Her most recent paper for QSA was launched at their 2014 mini-conference. This paper, Enacting Australian Curriculum: Making connections for quality learning, offers practical advice in relation to drawing on two or three learning areas/subjects to design real-world learning. Her recent research has also included a focus on effective and equitable ways in which students can be grouped in the classroom to maximise learning.

Jenny’s professional support to schools and other learning organisations is based on her belief that powerful student learning is based on productive teaching that is:

  • in line with curriculum and assessment
  • innovative
  • inquiry-based
  • inclusive
  • integrated where appropriate; and which supports
  • intellectual rigour.

Browse my A to Z of support for Productive teaching for Powerful learning below.

Align the required curriculum, assessment and pedagogy through design, enactment and review of teaching/learning | Download the resource
Build and maintain communities of practice—based on shared values and goals—driven by improving student learning
Change assessment practice (where necessary) to ensure the use of credible, intellectually rigorous, authentic and user-friendly tasks and guides to making judgment (‘CIAU’, QSA [now QCAA], n.d.) | Download the resource
Differentiate their teaching for the range of diverse learners in their classes | Download the resource
Expand repertoires of practice across direct, indirect, collaborative and experiential approaches with a focus on the explicit teaching of thinking taxonomies and questioning frameworks | Download the resource | Download the resource
Facilitate strategic planning around where they are, where they want to be and how they will get there
Gather evidence of teaching practice demonstrating the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (and specific values) in a range of formats including multimodal ones
Hone teaching approaches through action research generally and specifically through mentoring, coaching and feedback related to specific evidence-based frameworks taken up in local contexts
Innovate to carry out routine and non-routine practices in more sustainable and effective ways
Judge their own teaching practice and performance against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and their own success criteria to bring about continuous improvement
Keep a relentless focus on improving student learning within the context of national, state, sector and school goals and accountabilities
Lead curriculum, assessment and teaching reform tailored to local contexts through an explicit use of educational, intellectual, organisational, personal and relational capabilities*
Manage resources and more broadly enhance organisational leadership skills
Negotiate structures and cultures at the local level to build ownership of productive teaching for powerful learning
Optimise student learning through curriculum that is personally meaningful for learners and for society—within the context of the required curriculum | Download the resource
Purposefully connect learning areas and subjects while maintaining the integrity of each curricular area | Download the resource
Question policies and practices in constructive ways to develop solutions that serve student needs
Reflect on and review the nature and impact of teaching on specific individuals, groups of learners and classes to determine what it takes to bring about improvement
Strategically take action where there is clear leverage to improve results in targeted areas
Teach for the world we want to live in
Utilise a range of digital pedagogies to improve learning for the range of learners
(en)Vision what successful learning looks like at the school, team and classroom levels and work towards it
Wonder about what could be
(e)Xert the focus where a difference to outcomes needs to be made
Yield the benefits of action research in local contexts to bring about improved learning
Zoom in on local professional learning intentions, success criteria and actions to achieve these

Message to schools

I offer quality support to make schools better learning places for everyone

The organisational structures and cultures needed to equip our students as lifelong learners require thoughtful design and deliberate construction. The rewards, however, are worthwhile: students who are capable of productive response to change and who can lead fulfilling lives. I am committed to the provision of high quality support to educational communities in their development of socially just and innovative learning places that serve the needs of their diverse populations.

The core business of my consultancy is the provision of quality support to make schools better learning places for everyone. Specifically, my support for schools (and other organisations) is based on productive teaching for powerful learning.

I believe that:

  • we need to strive for and carefully scaffold intellectual rigour in all of our work;
  • we need to meet the challenges of today’s BIG questions;
  • all members of a learning community should have a voice and have their voices heard;
  • collaboration and ownership are the cornerstones on which continuous organisational renewal is built; and
  • professional learning should involve action that improves the circumstances and outcomes for those involved.

Watch the video Watch as Janice Chee (former Assistant Director QCAA) provides a background to the work carried out for the Queensland Studies Authority.

Read the reviews

Practical strategies to enact the Australian Curriculum across learning areas/subjects

I have just read your paper on purposefully connected curriculum* — it is brilliant — I love it and will be using it in my teaching at the Australian Catholic University next year.
* Nayler, Enacting Australian Curriculum: Making connections for quality learning, QSA Issues Paper, February 2014

Dr Catherine Hart, (ACU)

Leading teachers in productive teaching for powerful learning

For the past seven years Jenny Nayler has been a critical friend to many teachers in Townsville Catholic Education schools who have participated in and contributed to the Inquiry-Based Learning Professional Learning Community. This has been the principal strategy in the Productive Teaching for Powerful Learning priority in the Diocese which has aimed at improving teacher quality by focusing on pedagogy which promotes active and successful learning through purposeful, aligned, inclusive and inquiry-based activities.

Jenny has been the principal architect of the Productive Teaching for Powerful Learning strategy and provides insightful, inspirational and active mentoring of all participants in the program. Jenny is not just a capable facilitator; she has a depth and breadth of knowledge, a wealth of experience, and a positive and passionate advocacy for dynamic and effective teachers and teaching. Jenny understands the teaching–learning paradigm and is able to enthuse and educate through a supported action research approach. Feedback on the programs and projects Jenny has facilitated has been consistently positive. Through the Productive Teaching for Powerful Learning strategy, effective pedagogy has been a well-supported priority in Townsville Catholic Education schools.

Stephanie Giorcelli, Education Consultant, Townsville Catholic Education (June 2015)

Supporting quality curriculum through alignment

Jenny worked with our large staff of 80 teachers to assist us in developing a clearly documented whole-school plan for curriculum delivery. Jenny assisted staff in developing a strong alignment between the overall curriculum delivery plan, term and unit plans, classroom teaching and the regular assessment of student progress in relation to curriculum expectations.

She enabled considerable attention for the whole staff in ensuring ‘vertical’ alignment of the curriculum so that there is continuity and progression of learning and pedagogical practices across the years of school, with teaching in each year building on to and extending learning in previous years. Jenny assisted us in developing our collaborative planning processes across the whole school. She utilised international research to inform the curriculum discussion through the implementation of professional development for staff and provided a credible and well-structured learning opportunity and approach to adult learning.

Judy Menary, Principal, Morayfield East State School (June 2015)

The role of constructive friend in school improvement

Our school has had the advantage of working with Jenny Nayler as a constructive friend for nearly 10 years for strategic and curriculum planning. She has high level skills in asking the right questions at the right time to promote and provoke deep reflection for school improvement. Jenny’s extensive knowledge of the latest in Australian Curriculum has really helped us to devise and deliver our school curriculum units and lessons.

Louise Wilkinson, Principal, Heatley State School

Supporting school reviews

Jenny worked with our school in facilitating our whole school Quadrennial Review Process. Using appreciative inquiry procedures, Jenny was able to skilfully establish purpose, direction and agency for all members of the leadership team. She created a sense of urgency in the review, draft, edit and report stages of the process and brought, from international research, a clear and realistic perspective regarding highly effective practices in schools. Jenny used her ability to reflect and engage the team to analyse aspects of current practice, revealing areas for improvement and posed deep questions that provided evidence and confirmation for the final report. The final outcome of this work was the creation of a 4-year strategic plan that is the core element of more comprehensive school improvement programs, frameworks and initiatives.

Judy Menary, Principal, Morayfield East State School (June 2015)

Working with special schools to design relevant and rigorous curriculum

I have worked with Jenny Nayler over the last 10 years and have utilised her knowledge and skills in a number of ways. This includes engaging her to deliver workshops to the teachers at both Bundaberg Special School and Goodna Special School. These workshops were designed to increase teachers’ capacity to fully understand the intended curriculum, plan units of work using the curriculum and align assessment tasks to the intent of the curriculum. The workshops were at all times engaging and staff feedback was extremely positive.

Most importantly teachers’ understanding of the curriculum was enriched and they were able to plan more meaningful and challenging units of work that were rigorous and relevant for the cohort of students at the special school.

Although Jenny does not have a special education background, her depth of knowledge within her own areas of expertise and her desire to work with us meant that she delivered relevant and, at times challenging, workshops for the staff at both schools.

I have been supported by Jenny to contribute to the Primary and Middle Years Educator journal over the last 2 years. Jenny has encouraged me to provide commentary of current special education issues that form part of the wider education agenda within Australia.

Tracey Chappell, Principal, Goodna Special School

Watch the videos

Introducing Jenny

By |July 12th, 2015|

Janice Chee (former Assistant Director QCAA) provides a background to the work carried out for the Queensland Studies Authority.

Jenny talks about BIG questions

By |July 12th, 2015|

Jenny talks about the use of conceptual and connected BIG questions to motivate learners.

More on BIG questions…

By |July 12th, 2015|

More from Jenny on BIG questions that can drive purposefully connected curriculum.

Reasons to purposefully connect curriculum

By |July 12th, 2015|

Jenny talks about the reasons why we should be aiming to purposefully connect curriculum.

Purposefully connected curriculum

By |July 4th, 2015|

Jenny talks about purposefully connected curriculum and identifying conceptual links.