According to Tamsin Watson, building trust and deeper connections with her colleagues are two immediate benefits she’s felt since participating in Quality Teaching Rounds. It’s led to a sense of affirmation in her capacity as a teacher.
“It was quite reassuring – it was nice to have your colleagues say that was a really good lesson.”
Tamsin is a Year 5 teacher at Peregian Springs State School in a rapidly growing suburb of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. In only 11 years, the school has grown to more than 1,400 students.
Like all schools, especially big ones, it’s incredibly busy and getting to know your colleagues and build strong relationships with them takes time, but it is something Tamsin believes the QTR process enables.
“As teachers we always see the value in seeing what someone else is doing. But what the QTR structure does is give you a chance to talk it all through, which is something you don’t get when you just pop into someone’s class. This gives you the opportunity to really pull it apart and look at every aspect of the lesson.”
“It was so much easier to talk in the QTR environment. Everyone felt like they could speak.
Tamsin said observations and “walk throughs” can sometimes feel intimidating, but that QTR promotes a safe environment that focuses on building capacity and collegiality.
“It was so much easier to talk in the QTR environment. Everyone felt like they could speak. I like the structure, and the protocols that gave everybody their opportunity to talk. You couldn’t interrupt and everyone had their time.
“I was happy with us all being equals, all doing the same thing. The focus wasn’t on what the teacher was doing, but on the lesson, on the teaching.”
Tamsin, along with three of her colleagues, volunteered to take part in a Quality Teaching Rounds randomised controlled trial that is investigating the impact of the professional development program on teacher and student outcomes in Queensland government schools.
QTR is a high impact approach to professional development that involves collaboration, analysis and discussion of practice through the lens of the Quality Teaching Model of pedagogy. Similar trials in NSW have shown that participation in QTR improves the quality of teaching, teacher morale and school culture.
In particular, a 2019 randomised controlled trial found that student achievement growth was two months greater in classes where teachers participated in QTR compared to a control group. The QLD study aims to see if these incredibly positive results can be replicated in a new educational jurisdiction.
Having completed one set of in-school Rounds, Tamsin is already seeing positives.
“It’s very much about self-reflection. It has helped us to affirm the pedagogies we already use in the classroom,” she said.
“We’re excited, we can already see the benefits of it. Our goal now is to get QTR going throughout the whole school.”
There are more opportunities for Queensland teachers to participate in this study in 2022. This opportunity attracts $7,000 in funding for schools to support participation in QTR.