College of Teachers

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.”


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As education systems look to implement purposeful and engaging learning frameworks, it has become important for staff to continuously engage in their own learning to ensure they have the very best knowledge combined with the efficacy to engage every student 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 in a manner that surpasses the traditional model of appraisal.  The College of Teachers was created in 2015 by the Head of Barker College, Mr Phillip Heath AM and implemented by Dr Greg Cunningham. Lead Coaches are Mr Len Nixon and Ms Jacqui McLachlan. Membership of this COT group now exceeds 50 staff and will continue to increase to provide a support structure for professional development.

The long-term goal is for all teaching staff to be members of the COT. Classroom teaching can be a solitary experience and given our large number of teaching staff, this initiative seeks to harness and share the both the creative and most effective methods of teaching currently being employed. 

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 training sessions, 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. 

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.

The COT 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. This is being developed through a culture of shared practice, open discussion, reflection and observation in the School from Pre K-12.

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. At Barker, 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.