The future effectiveness of education in Australia depends on the cultivation of expert communities of knowledge, practice and formation, bridging the divide between schools, universities and workplaces. This is the vision that lies at the heart of our Strategic Intent and our 125th anniversary campaign, Reinventing Education. It’s one thing to have a big vision, but another to make it happen ‘on the ground’, in the experience of every boy, every day. The broader picture on teacher improvement and efficacy indicates that teacher quality is the most important in-school factor in student achievement and learning outcomes (Hattie, 2003; OECD, 2005). How, then, do we work to help our teachers develop expertise? One important strand is encouraging highly experienced, inspiring and effective teachers to stay in the classroom and pass on their expertise to the next generation of teachers.
In light of this, Dr Caitlin Munday, Research Fellow (Professional Learning) has been piloting a Master Teacher Program over the past three years, exploring how teachers develop mastery and how they might pass it on through mentoring of those new to the profession. This program has proved quite transformative for the pilot group of master teachers and junior teachers. From 2018 the pilot is being taken to scale with the awarding of annual Master Teacher Fellowships in the Senior School to teachers of both experience and expertise, who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom, and who are recognised as pedagogical leaders within the College. These Fellowships provide professional pathways for keeping excellent teachers in the classroom while making their expertise available to the broader College community, boys and teachers alike. Over the course of the year, Master Teachers participate in a tripartite program of mentoring, research, and professional engagement within and beyond the College, centering on teacher development.
After a rigorous selection process, the 2018 Senior School Master Teacher Fellowships were awarded to:
- Mr Eric Gibbings (Science)
- Mr Mark Halstead (History)
- Ms Caudia Brin (PDHPE)
- Mr Patrick Barker (TAS)
- Mr Bryan O’Meally (Visual Arts)
- Mr Neil Smith (English)
- Mr Anthony Chandler (Maths)
Under the direction of Dr Munday, the Fellows are already well underway in mentoring their colleagues, designing research projects, and reflecting on what it means to develop genuine mastery.
We look forward to seeing how these exemplary teachers will demonstrate the Brave Hearts and Bold Minds educational philosophy of the College in action, and encourage others to do the same.