Quality Teaching Rounds training reboots and powers up

An unexpected outcome of the pandemic disruption has been increased access to a respected teacher professional development program.

16 June 2020
Professor Jenny Gore using a computer.
Image: Professor Jenny Gore delivers QTR professional development over Zoom.

Teachers have joined students in learning from home during the pandemic with a respected professional development workshop being moved online.

The University of Newcastle has converted its Quality Teaching Rounds program from a face-to-face workshop to an online course allowing teacher professional learning to continue despite the pandemic.

Quality Teaching Rounds is an evidence-based professional development course, developed by Professor Jenny Gore with PhD student and colleague Julie Bowe, that brings teachers together in small and highly focused 'professional learning communities'.

Each participant teaches a lesson and is then observed by other teachers who code the lesson using the Quality Teaching model and materials to guide the observation, feedback and discussion.

As part of its partnership with the NSW Department of Education, the university’s Teachers and Teaching Priority Research Centre has been working since 2019 to train at least two teachers from every school in Quality Teaching Rounds.

When the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put that timetable in doubt, staff at the centre quickly moved to develop a highly effective blend of online learning that engages participants with a mix of presentations, videos and small group discussions.

The course was initially road tested with the 31 Teacher Quality Advisors across the state to rave reviews, including from Adriene Muscat, a Teacher Quality Advisor in Forster.

“The interactive options which forced random group interaction were excellent,” Mr Muscat said.

“The QTR coding protocols supported excellent collaboration, [while the] platform worked smoothly and enabled remote participation without disadvantage (ie travel, time away from home).”

For small and remote schools looking to implement QTR across school communities, the university also offers QTR Digital, utilising an online platform to conduct training, lesson observations and discussions.

Professor Gore said the pandemic had provided an opportunity to expand the reach of the Quality Teaching Rounds project.

“I’m delighted that we can now support teachers in schools throughout NSW with our three forms of QTR professional learning: face-to-face and online, for all schools, and digital for small and remote schools,” Professor Gore said.

“With exciting evidence of impact on student learning, teaching quality and teacher morale, we’re keen to see the difference QTR can make for all NSW government schools.”

All Term 2 online workshops are now fully booked, but online workshops will continue in Term 3 and 4 alongside a limited number of face-to-face workshops (where social distancing requirements can be met).

Schools who have not already accessed their two free places for training in QTR can get two free tickets to either face-to-face, digital or online workshops.

Learn more about Quality Teaching Rounds.

QTR is strongly endorsed by the Department of Education as research-based professional learning that makes a difference to teachers and student outcomes.

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