Setting direction for professional learning

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What is Touchstones?

Designed to provide direction for professional learning, Touchstones embeds a proven process of evaluation and goal setting into a unique and user-friendly online environment. Using a simple four step process the software guides staff as they gather and review feedback, set goals, and reflect on their progress and achievement. It embraces a supportive coaching methodology that encourages collaboration and peer interaction. Selected frameworks of best practice form reference points along the path of reflection and action, helping to align individual effort with strategic intent.

Setting the direction

The flexibility of Touchstones allows individual goals for teaching inquiry to sit alongside the school’s strategic objectives and selected best practice frameworks as the focus for learning and growth.

Gather > Review > Set Goals > Reflect

The guided process promotes open communication and sharing between staff, builds capacity for self-direction, and fosters a culture of individual accountability and success.

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Nationally and internationally there is unequivocal evidence that the quality of teaching is the most significant in-school factor affecting student outcomes. There is also strong evidence that better appraisal, coaching and feedback leading to targeted development can improve teacher performance.

Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework, August 2012


For Teachers

  • Guides teachers along a path of reflection, dialogue and inquiry into their own practice.
  • Uses multiple feedback modes to assist them to better understand their own learning needs.
  • Encourages openness and collaboration as they engage with, and contribute to, each other’s learning.

For Senior Leaders

  • Manages the paperwork!
  • Gathers, collates and presents data which adds richness to coaching conversations.
  • Improves the tracking of staff professional learning.

For Principals

  • Helps align individual goals for professional learning with the Australian standards and the school’s priorities.
  • Builds learning momentum by fostering a culture of individual accountability and success.
  • Generates reports on whole school data to inform strategic planning.

Better outcomes for more learners

Touchstones is brought to you by CIRCLE. The experience gained in over a decade of working with schools in developing professional learning programmes has enabled CIRCLE to encapsulate a proven methodology within a unique and innovative online environment.

Touchstones has been developed to equip and empower teachers to grow and develop their own potential, by giving them an understanding of what it is they need to do and their capacity to do it. Every school in Australia needs to engage their staff in the professional growth process in order to achieve better outcomes for more learners.

Dr Philip SA Cummins, Managing Director, CIRCLE
Dr Philip SA Cummins