The role of improvement teachers
Improvement teachers are experienced teachers within a school who are provided with time release to deliver literacy or numeracy direct teaching support to prioritised students.
Each year, schools must advise the department’s MYLNS Implementation Team of their nominated improvement teacher/s via the teacher nomination .
Schools will be allocated a minimum of 0.2 FTE for direct student support in literacy and 0.2 FTE for direct support in numeracy. This allocation increases based on the number of prioritised students.
Improvement teachers directly support Year 10 students who are falling behind and are below year level expectations in literacy and numeracy.
Improvement teachers have the flexibility to support all prioritised students through:
- in class co-teaching, such as:
- teaching a segment of the lesson
- providing in-class support for prioritised students
- small group work
- individual student support.
Support for students can include:
- establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with students, parents and other teaching staff to focus on student learning, wellbeing and engagement
- identifying the education requirements of students with complex learning needs
- monitoring and analysing student data to inform teaching for improved student learning
- differentiating teaching practice to meet the students at their point of need
- implementing high impact teaching strategies which enable prioritised students to achieve their full potential
- tracking and monitoring student progress
- providing student learning outcomes data to classroom teachers to support differentiation and inform the reporting cycle, as appropriate.
A Humanities class is working in small groups. One group is with the classroom teacher, one group is working independently, and one group is with a literacy improvement teacher.
The literacy improvement teacher is working with a small group of prioritised students, plus a few of their peers who the classroom teacher thought could use additional support.
The literacy improvement teacher is guiding their group through a year-level text by pre-teaching key vocabulary and modelling through a ‘think-aloud’ on how students will make sense of the text. The literacy improvement teacher then checks in with students about their understanding during and after reading.
A numeracy improvement teacher meets regularly with small groups of students to preview the concepts that are coming up in their Mathematics classes.
The numeracy improvement teacher coordinates with the regular classroom teachers to know the language they are planning to use to teach the concepts, along with the learning intentions and success criteria for the unit. This ensures that students can be prepared to access the mathematics content.
Who can be appointed to the role?
Improvement teachers are required to be qualified, effective and experienced classroom teachers. This role requires expert curriculum and pedagogical knowledge and should not be filled by less-experienced teachers or education support staff.
It is an individual school’s decision as to which teacher is appointed to the improvement teacher role and how this will fit with their current responsibilities.
To ensure continuity for students and for the initiative, it is recommended that schools continue to keep the same improvement teacher for a minimum of 2 years (unless they do not meet the requirements of the role). Evidence shows that at least 2 years is necessary to have maximum impact in the role.
Lessons learnt from MYLNS implementation so far show that effective improvement teachers demonstrate:
- a growth mindset
- curriculum and pedagogical knowledge to target students’ learning needs and differentiate teaching to support students at their point of need
- the ability to build positive learning relationships with students and colleagues.
A school may choose to appoint their existing learning specialist, literacy leader or numeracy leader as their improvement teacher. Other schools will choose to allocate these roles to different staff members to build an integrated team approach and to champion literacy and numeracy improvement across their school.
If a learning specialist is appointed to the role, they will be required to manage their improvement teacher responsibilities (including by an increased focus on prioritised students) as well as their responsibilities as a learning specialist. This is part of their obligation under the Victorian Government Schools Agreement .
Improvement teachers have access to an extensive professional development suite to support them in the role.
Reviewed 03 February 2023