What is Quality Teaching?

Improving the quality of teaching has been an objective of education ministers, systems and schools for decades. The research is clear that the most important in-school factor driving student outcomes is teaching practice. But teachers and teaching are often talked about in media and by politicians in ways that fail to respect the complexity of classroom practice. Part of the problem is, as a profession, we have struggled to define quality teaching.

In much the same way as we would think about principles guiding the practice of law or the practice of medicine, the Quality Teaching (QT) Model is about the key principles that underpin teaching.

Standing the test of time

Developed in 2003, the QT Model is based on evidence of what makes a difference to student learning, namely:

  • intellectual quality or challenge in every learning experience
  • classroom environments that support student learning
  • significant learning experiences that help students connect their schooling to the world beyond the classroom.

The 18 elements sitting beneath these three principles describe quality teaching in detail. The QT Model and its elements are elaborated in detail using specific examples and a 1-5 coding scale in our QT Classroom and Assessment Practice Guides.

These guides are freely available to download below. More resources and additional tools can be found in our Members Area.

The QT Model provides the shared conceptual language for defining and understanding quality. Having a quality teaching framework is only one step in the journey to improve teaching practice. When the Model is combined with the powerful processes of Quality Teaching Rounds, that’s when real improvement occurs.

One initiative, broad impact.

Quality Teaching Rounds is an approach to teacher professional development applicable to every grade, subject and stage of teachers’ careers. It requires minimal external input while producing rapid positive effects on teachers, their students and their schools.

Quality Teaching Rounds traditionally starts with two teachers (or leaders) per school attending a two-day QTR workshop.

Those teachers then join two more teachers back at school to form a professional learning community. Over a period of weeks, they observe each other teaching a whole lesson which they analyse and discuss using the QT Model to collaboratively refine their practice. Completing a ‘set of Rounds’ means the process is repeated on separate days until all four teachers have taught an observed lesson. Those teachers can then form new PLCs with other teachers to lead them through the process and ‘ripple’ QTR across a school.

Our research shows that participating teachers significantly improve the quality of teaching and experience enhanced morale, collaboration, self and collective efficacy, and a stronger school culture focused on teaching and learning. Most importantly, we have gold standard randomised controlled trial evidence of impact on student achievement — two months’ greater growth in mathematics and one month in reading compared with a matched control group.

Alternatively, teachers can engage with the Quality Teaching Model through our one-day workshop QT: Enhancing Assessment Practice. We recognise that student learning is shaped by what happens in their classrooms as well as the assessment tasks used to determine their understanding and progress. Using the assessment practice guide, this workshop examines assessment practice and implications for schools through interactive learning opportunities.

Since 2019, more than 3,500 teachers from almost 1,300 Australian schools have participated in a QTR workshop, impacting at least 400,000 students.

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