A record number of Queensland independent school teachers signed up to have their teaching expertise and impact evaluated and confirmed through the prestigious Highly Accomplished or Lead Teacher (HALT) national certification program in Brisbane on Monday.
The 50 senior teachers, and their mentors, from 17 Queensland independent schools join a further 37 Queensland independent school teachers who are close to certification and 28 who are already fully certified.
For the first time, the impact of HALT teachers has been examined as part of a collaborative research project between Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The report’s key findings, Recognising the Impact of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Queensland Independent Schools, found their impact extended beyond their own classrooms to their colleagues and wider school community.
The research was based on the results of interviews and surveys of HALT candidates, their school leaders and mentors, and an examination of a sample of teacher portfolios.
ISQ executive director, David Robertson, said in the contemporary age of “influencers”, HALT teachers could be the most important of all.
“These exemplary professionals are having a ripple effect across their communities,” Robertson told The Educator.
“They are champions of teaching excellence, inspiring and supporting their colleagues and building professional communities of practice within their schools that uplift everyone.”
Robertson added that these teachers are a “powerful and influential force” in schools.
“It’s critical that their expertise is recognised and leveraged for maximum impact locally and nationally,” he said.
The key findings of the report also identified the challenges HALT aspirants faced in quantifying and evidencing their impact as well as managing the additional workload.
“ISQ works closely with candidates and has developed a comprehensive program involving ongoing professional learning, feedback and support, including data collection and impact presentation,” Robertson said.
“The report also recognised the pivotal role school-based mentors and leadership teams play in teachers successfully completing HALT certification.”