Working under the supervision of Professor John Hattie to complete a Doctor of Education at The University of Melbourne, Guedes has relished the rare luxury of getting to pick the esteemed expert’s brain on a regular basis.
The teacher, coach and educational researcher from Thomas Carr College was drawn back into the tertiary world after an “intriguing” PD experience threw up some questions begging to be answered.
“What I got curious about was, ‘well, why was this PD so different and what made it so positive and appealing to us?’,” Guedes recalls.
“And that led me to finding out what effect was this [the coaching model] having on building teacher capacity, looking at the skills, knowledge and dispositions of staff – and when I started investigating this I found that there wasn’t much research out there that actually looked at this in great detail.”
Describing Hattie as a “natural fit” to guide his inquiry, Guedes says the experience has enriched his appreciation for teachers and their capacity to affect change on young lives.
It’s also led to a few concerning revelations.
“One of the things I noticed very quickly when I was doing the research review was that there are all these negative connotations with professional development as a way to fix things when they are wrong,” Guedes shares.
“But as John has mentioned, and I agree with him wholeheartedly, there is so much positivity [in a] school and to come at teachers with a PD model that is about fixing things or making them better because they are not as good, it really takes away from the passion and the enthusiasm that [teachers] bring everyday.”
Despite a few “tremendously challenging” periods, Guedes has his eyes set on completion.
“It’s really informed a lot of my knowledge so it’s really been a definite blessing in that regard ... overall it’s been an amazing experience.”