Professor Jenny Gore.

Professor Jenny Gore.

University of Newcastle's teacher program could help reverse learning disruption caused by COVID-19

University of Newcastle's teacher program could help reverse learning disruption caused by COVID-19

Education
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A UNIVERSITY of Newcastle professional development program for teachers has been found to accelerate student learning outcomes, which could potentially reverse disruption caused by COVID-19.

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A UNIVERSITY of Newcastle professional development program for teachers has been found to accelerate student learning outcomes, which could potentially reverse disruption caused by COVID-19.

Director of UON's Teachers and Teaching Research Centre, Laureate Professor Jenny Gore, said the Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR) program is "a form of professional development that involves teachers observing and discussing and analysing each other's lessons to refine their collective practice".

"A lot of professional development has the external expert or mentor or coach come in and work with teachers," Professor Gore said.

"My view is that ultimately is a bit disempowering for teachers because they rely on the expert," Professor Gore said.

In QTR, the delivering teacher and three observing teachers - from different grades or subject areas - "code" each lesson, or provide a number on a scale of one to five, for six "elements" that sit under each of the three "key big ideas".

The numbers stay between the group, are not tied to supervision or performance and become the basis for discussion.

"Teachers don't get the luxury in classrooms to focus on one skill at a time," she said.

"The ideas are intellectual quality, or the intellectual demands you place on kids' work; quality learning environment, so that's all about having high expectations and supportive classrooms and the third key principal is significance, or making learning meaningful.

"Instead of just having these vague conversations about 'that worked well or the kids seemed to like that or you might have tried something else', it leads to a level of specificity that is pretty rare in teaching...this actually puts some really clear concepts and language around their practice."

She said a 2019 study with more than 5000 year three and four students from 126 NSW government schools focused on maths, reading and science.

It found QTR increased learning outcomes in maths by 25 per cent - which is equivalent to two months additional learning over the eight-month study period.

She said this was an unexpected, "extreme, fabulous result".

Professor Gore said researchers will repeat the study with 85 schools next year and she is anticipating they will see some improvement in reading too.

She said previous research had showed QTR improved quality of teaching in primary and secondary schools, teacher morale, relationships and learning culture. Further studies are planned.

The story University of Newcastle's teacher program could help reverse learning disruption caused by COVID-19 first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

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