Teachers are wasting time in staff meetings, assemblies and at sports days that would be better spent honing their skills, a new report says.
The Grattan Institute worked with six schools on professional development programs for teachers that required 135 extra periods in a year.
The report, Making Time for Great Teaching, said teachers could find about 24 per cent of the time they needed for professional development if staff meetings were more efficient.
''One of our case study schools could free up the equivalent of 19 periods a year for each teacher if the 15-minute staff briefings it holds twice a week are reduced to once a fortnight.''
Teacher training included individual development plans, group collaborations, classroom peer observations, mentoring for junior teachers, constructive feedback and participation in research groups.
''Australian teachers spend considerably less time on professional learning than do teachers in the world's best systems,'' the report said.
The institute worked with independent and state schools in metropolitan and regional locations throughout Australia.
The report said up to half of teachers rostered on for sports days could be released for training, depending on supervision requirements.
It found government policies meant teachers were given time-consuming tasks that other responsible adults could complete.
''Teachers spend considerable time monitoring student behaviour, taking school detentions, yard duty, bus duty, supervising extracurricular sport and exams and attending assembly.''