“Good people helped me get here”

Oliver’s response to national survey ranks teaching at Avondale number one.

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Credit: Cybele Craig.

Oliver Doyle’s Avondale experience is a reminder of what makes good teachers good. “The people I respected the most were the people who invested in me.” People like Jason Hinze who “modelled engagement in the classroom,” Aleta King who “taught what we needed to know in a way that helped us teach it,” and Peter Kilgour who “told you upfront what he expected.” Oliver seeks advice from his lecturers even in his second year as a maths and music teacher at Heritage College Lake Macquarie. “I still have a relationship with them.” He hopes those in his classroom will say the same thing. “Students learn best from people they trust.”

Responses from Oliver and more than 40 of his classmates to a survey about graduate outcomes have ranked our undergraduate education and teaching degrees as number one in Australia for overall satisfaction and good teaching.

The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) data compares us to the 36 other universities and higher education providers offering similar courses. Acting Quality Assurance Manager Dr Gwen Wilkinson describes the results as “robust.” QILT is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Data comes from four surveys covering the full life cycle of students from enrolment through to graduation and employment. “It’s especially useful for internal and external benchmarking and for identifying particular strengths as well as any weaknesses.”

As head of a school that teaches teachers, Beverly Christian and her colleagues maintain best practice by doing what they expect their students to do. “We read widely, make changes based on our reading, evaluate those changes through research, and modify our teaching practice to fit our findings. This cycle and commitment to excellence keeps us moving forward.”

She loves her role as a “change agent.” “I see the shining eyes of my students when they understand a concept, master a skill or find an unexpected solution and know this will have a ripple effect when they enter the classroom.”