Hillbrook School

A lovely school that is using research methodology to drive conversations about professional practice and shift the culture towards peer observations. The process is facilitated by a researcher and staff are encouraged to perform action research on aspects of teaching and learning. A facilitator helps staff to develop measurable research questions and also processes the data once collected.

Hillbrook uses iLabs that are content agnostic where classes can be booked in. Furniture is not configured. At the start of the lesson, teacher informs students what they will be doing and students are in charge of organising the room (chairs, tables etc) to suit what they think they need to achieve the lesson objective.

In this example, productivity was compared when the teacher selected and organised the learning space versus the student organised learning space.

photo 1

Productivity was measured in terms of the number of words students had written during their writing time and the quality of their responses. The results were as follows:

photo 2

The areas of action research identified for the future include:

photo 3

The notion of student centred approach is in the empowerment of students to organise their own space. This is an example of a Science Classroom and the way it was organised today. The layout may change from period to period, day to day.

photo 4

The school has a residency programme where newly credentialed teachers team teach classes. In the US, there is no requirement for a teaching qualification. Potentially, resident teachers may have content expertise and use the residency programme to train and get experience as teachers. However, as Hillbrook is a primary school, many of their residents have a teaching qualification.


  1. Great summary and photos Les.

    The resident teacher programme was very impressive and could easily be adopted by pre-primary classes where TAs would be replaced by resident teachers on 2 year contracts. The programme allows for co-teaching and mentoring – brilliant.


  2. Absolutely agree. A good summary and photos.
    The resident program sounds as though it could have application for graduate/inexperienced teachers who are keen to gain a position at an independent school. Hillbrook offers a supportive and collaborative approach to teacher progression and ongoing professional learning.
    The iLab environment could have many applications to independent schools in WA and encourage collaboration, self regulation, and decision-making.


  3. Recent changes to teacher registration may enable this residency program to be implemented with the creation of the Limited Category of registration. The TRB website states ‘The category of Limited Registration was created to allow employers the ability to employ suitably qualified people who are not registered teachers to fill specific teaching roles when needed’.


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