Academy insights: A look back at the Teaching Excellence Program 2022

  • Article

Key insights: 

  • Teachers find that connecting and learning together is valued and impactful. 
  • Being challenged by experts who present evidence and suggest alternative approaches and ideas: 
    • creates opportunities for discussion and reflection 
    • challenges teachers to step out of their comfort zone. 
  • Practitioner inquiries help teachers figure out and test what works best in their context 
  • Quality professional learning makes teachers feel they, and their profession, are valued. 

Professional learning can come in many forms, and the Teaching Excellence Program (TEP) is no exception. TEP is a world first, year-long, flagship program for high-performing teachers from across all school sectors in Victoria. The program is designed as a collection of experiences and activities that encourage teachers to reflect on their practice. Learning from experts, teachers discuss and debate evidence-based strategies and pedagogies. They then test these approaches to understand what works in their school context, to boost student outcomes.

Our 2022 evaluation of the TEP’s inaugural year highlighted that:  

  • 89% of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the TEP is a worthwhile and high-quality professional development program.  
  • 94% of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that participation in the TEP had a positive impact on their teaching practice.  
  • 84% of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the program content was appropriate (at the right level) to contribute to the development of exceptional/expert teachers.  

These are significant achievements for the program’s first year. So why was the response so positive? What insights did the evaluation provide about quality professional learning? 

The considered design of TEP’s learning experiences in part led to these positive responses. The results show a strong alignment between the TEP’s objectives, and design and implementation that meets teachers' needs.  

The program evaluation showed that:  

  • The most useful elements of the program to participants were:  
    • masterclasses 
    • Teacher Excellence Learning Communities (TELCs) 
    • provocations conferences 
    • collaborative extended practitioner inquiries. 
  • The most common highlights for participants were: 
    • the ability to meet ‘other like-minded educators’ 
    • the ‘sharing of ideas’  
    • being ‘actively involved in group discussions’.  
  • Many teachers in small, rural and regional schools did not have regular access to opportunities like TEP. 
  • Working with like-minded participants was a source of inspiration and energy for participants. One participant said that while meeting people in person was ‘nerve-wracking’ they left thinking that ‘this will be one of the most impactful PLs I ever do’.  
  • There is evidence that the program is raising the status of the teaching profession. TEP has achieved this by encouraging participants to feel that teaching as a profession – and they as individuals – are valued. 

These insights show how TEP positively impacts how teachers view their own practice as well as their ability to positively influence their students. 

All in all, participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Most participants believe the TEP is valuable.  

Of course, there is more to do, and we have already started this process. The insights above allow the Academy to continue to make an impact across the state on the quality of teaching and on student outcomes and improve on the TEP in its second year. 

Last updated 12 October 2023