College of Teachers

The development of the College of Teachers aims to inspire teaching quality and continuous professional learning, realising the Barker mission of “inspiring every learner, every experience, every day”

As education systems look to implement purposeful and engaging learning frameworks, it has become important for staff to continuously engage in their own learning as a means of developing knowledge and capacity, so as to ensure they have the very best knowledge combined with the efficacy to engage every student, every day within their school environment.

In a 21st-century learning framework (Bellanca & Brandt, 2010) that is resistant to a "one size fits all" approach to pedagogy it is important to harness the diverse skills and capacity of a large teaching cohort such as exists at Barker College in a manner that surpasses the traditional model of appraisal. At Barker College, through the development of the College of Teachers (COT) we are seeking to enhance the many strengths that exist in our community of teaching practice. Created in 2015 by the Head of Barker College, Mr Phillip Heath and implemented by Dr Greg Cunningham and Dr Brad Merrick over the past two years with lead coach Mr Len Nixon, the membership of this COT group now exceeds 45 staff and will continue to be increased in size in the future to provide a large support structure for professional development with all staff.

The long-term goal is for all teaching staff to be members of the COT. The College of Teachers is an important component of the professional learning opportunities and conversations that need to occur in a school such as Barker College. Classroom teaching can be a solitary experience and given our large number of teaching staff across the school, this initiative seeks to harness and share the both the creative and most effective methods of teaching currently being employed across the PreK-12 classrooms.

The College of Teachers provides a way forward that honours the strong capacity of all our teaching community by developing partnerships with fellow practitioners (Groundwater-Smith, Mitchell, Mockler, Ponte & Ronnermann, 2013). Using a coaching model based on  ‘Growth’ mindset and through the regular provision of meetings, training sessions and opportunities to observe teaching practice and have professional conversations, the COT is a key component of the Barker Institute’s work now and into the future. 

References

Bellance, J., & Brandt, R. (2010).  21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn. Solution Tree. USA.Groundwater-Smith, S., Mitchell, J., Mockler, N., Ponte, P. & Ronnermann, K., (2013). Facilitating Transformational Partnerships. Routledge. London.

Vision

The development of the College of Teachers aims to inspire teaching quality and continuous professional learning, realising the Barker mission of “inspiring each learner, in every experience, every day” as a lived reality within all classrooms. The College of Teachers is focussed on making all teachers better through shared practice and constructive feedback provided in a supportive manner. The College of Teachers looks to lead educational change where observation and open classrooms are an integral part of every teacher’s ongoing practice. This is evident in the current reflective research work that Barker Staff are engaged in with Macquarie University and the School of Education with the Teachers Channel Research Project. The philosophy of the COT is that all teachers can benefit from coaching and shared practice across the School as a whole. This is being developed through a culture of shared practice, open discussion, reflection and observation in the School as a whole from PreK-12.