QTR: the Danebank experience

Danebank is in its second year of implementation of Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR) as a way to facilitate teacher collaboration and reflection and to develop quality teaching practice. QTR, developed by Jenny Gore and Julie Bowe, involves teachers working in professional learning communities (PLCs) of four or more to observe and analyse each other’s teaching practices using the Quality Teaching Framework (Bowe & Gore, 2017).

Research undertaken by the QT Academy in conjunction with the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle, demonstrates that teacher participation in QTR improves student achievement and the quality of teaching. In addition, it improves teacher morale and efficacy, and builds collaborative practice and professional relationships amongst staff, enhancing school culture.

As part of the National Teacher Workforce Program, the Federal Government has provided funding to expand QTR, a testament to its proven success and impact for teachers, especially graduate teachers.

Why is QTR such an effective program?

QTR is so effective as it involves teachers learning from teachers within their school context. Small pods of teachers from across different stage levels, subject areas and career levels engage in a collaborative process of observing and analysing classroom practice using the Quality Teaching Mode, generating rich professional conversations.

The Quality Teaching (QT) Model, developed by Gore and Ladwig (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003), guides teachers to ask three major questions about their practice:

• To what extent is there evidence of intellectual quality?
• In what ways is the environment supportive of student learning?
• How can learning be made more significant or meaningful for students?

QTR allows teachers to address these significant questions in a safe process and supportive environment.

How QTR operates on a practical level:

Reading Discussion

A professional reading is selected to align with whole-school priorities and a discussion is facilitated.

Lesson Observation

One PLC (Professional Learning Communities) member teaches a lesson observed by the others

Individual Coding

The Quality Teaching Practice Guide is used to code the lesson across the 3 dimensions and 18 elements of the Quality Teaching Model using a 1-5 coding scale

Coding Discussion

Follows a strict turn-taking protocol and draws on the language and concepts of the Quality Teaching Model.

Discussion works towards a shared view of each element.

Not every element is expected to score highly in every lesson: the purpose and the specific context of the lesson will impact the coding.

Some of the essential features of the program include the provision of strict protocols to support the discussion as well as the confidentiality of the PLC which is maintained throughout the process.

“One of the most exciting findings of our research to date is that QTR improves the quality of teaching while impacting positively on teachers’ morale.” (Gore, 2018)

teacher working with students in a classroom

How does QTR impact teaching Danebank?

The program is thriving, with rounds happening each term with teachers from across the Junior and Senior Schools participating. They engage in lesson observation, reflect on the lesson using the Quality Teaching framework and a professional discussion follows.

So far 20 teachers have undertaken a QTR experience, with some wanting to have a second opportunity as they love the way the experience has helped to deepen their reflective practice and strengthen their teaching.

“It has already adjusted my teaching. I am now thinking a bit more about how the elements fit into my lesson, and activities or tools I can use to better engage my students in lesson content for a deeper understanding.” Senior School Teacher

One of the reasons for this high level of teacher engagement is the strong alignment between the Quality Teaching Framework and our Danebank Approach to Learning. As a school, with two campuses, QTR brings together the Junior and Senior Schools for collaborative professionalism and reduces campus isolation.

"Being part of a QTR team with colleagues from the senior school, whom I didn’t have contact with prior to QTR, allowed me to develop trusting, lasting relationships. By developing these relationships, built on mutual respect, no judgement, and the desire to reflect and improve on our practice, I was able to engage in authentic discussion about teaching as a practice and continue these discussions/relationships beyond our term of QTR together." Junior School Teacher.

Emma Pay, Director of Teacher Practice P-12, leads the QTR experience at Danebank and highlights “transforming Danebank as a collaborative learning community and building on our current knowledge and expertise” as two of the key benefits for our community.

“I now look at the way I teach and plan lessons with a different perspective. I think that participating in QTR has meant that I appreciate reflection and verbal feedback - using it in a constructive and effective manner.”Junior School Teacher

Using the experiences gained from QTR, the program can be extended to also look at assessment and programming through a lens of reflective practice with an evidence-based approach. The Danebank Academic Committee has incorporated the consideration of elements of the Quality Teaching Framework as part of the whole school approach to curriculum design.

What is the impact of QTR on students?

Research shows that the quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor affecting student outcomes. This premise is at the heart of our theory of change - that building capacity for quality teaching can improve student achievement.

Large-scale studies conducted by researchers at Newcastle University across a variety of contexts and educational jurisdictions have demonstrated significant improvement in student achievement in both reading and mathematics when their teachers participate in Quality Teaching Rounds (Building Capacity for Quality Teaching In Australian Schools, Research Impact 2019-2023.).

At Danebank with a focus on quality teaching being at our heart, QTR serves to further strengthen our teachers and develop their practice, impacting positively on student achievement and outcomes.


Bowe, J. M., & Gore, J. M. (2017). Reassembling teacher professional development: The case for Quality Teaching Rounds. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 23, 352–366. doi:10.1080/135 40602.2016.1206522

Jenny Gore, Making a Difference through Quality Teaching Rounds, ACER Research Conference (2018)

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2003). Quality teaching in NSW public schools: A classroom practice guide. Sydney, Australia: NSW Department of Education and Training, Professional Learning and Leadership Development Directorate.