About RTeach Institute
The RTeach Team
Julia Westera founded RTeach Institute to provide a sound knowledge and practice base of how to best use modernised Reciprocal Teaching for high impact results.
Julia Westera is an Educational Psychologist and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Auckland. Julia is a passionate advocate for reciprocal teaching, probably the most effective evidence-based and culturally responsive teaching methods we have. Her ambition is to see reciprocal teaching used in a powerful way in our schools, increasing the likelihood of success for our tamariki and encouraging them to become life-long learners.
Julia’s concern is that modernised Reciprocal Teaching is not in widespread or high impact use.
Robyn Foster is an experienced educator. She has taught in secondary schools, and worked as a Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) and as an advisor in the Assess to Learn and Secondary Literacy teams with School Support Services, The University of Waikato. Robyn is a certified facilitator - she has co-worked with Julia Westera on the RT3T™ initiative for the last 3 years in both primary and secondary schools in predominantly Māori communities. Robyn is making a significant contribution to the evolving development of RT3T™ to new efficiencies and different contexts.
Support and Referees
Ongoing advisory and consultancy support is provided by Judy Hanna, retired principal, and Dr Deidre LeFevre, Senior Lecturer, Learning, Development and Professional Practice, University of Auckland.
Referees for RTeach: Margaret Palmer, Waterlea School and Gregory Pierce, Aorere College.
What is RT3T™ (Reciprocal Teaching - Three Track)?
RT3T™ is a modernised version of reciprocal teaching. RT3T™ is a core multi-strategy research-based package which aims at improving students' skills in accessing and understanding challenging text in any learning area.
RT3T™ is not just about 'reading', but also about:
- cross-curricular learning in core skills: communication, thinking, teamwork and leadership skills
- accelerate coaching at formative year levels and for inclusion
- teaching for transfer and integration into all learning areas
This powerful team approach to collaborative teaching and learning is popular with teachers and students alike.
The newly refined tools are developed for high impact and sustainability with our school|kura, CoL|Kāhui Ako.
If RT3T™ is implemented by skilled trained operators, students can become focussed and empowered learners, and accelerate in literacy and deeper thinking skills, while also growing in tuakana-teina and collaborative kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) skills. These skills are central to success throughout school and tertiary education, and for lifelong learning.
Research Background to the modernised RT3T™ (Reciprocal Teaching - Three Track)
Julia’s research on reciprocal teaching has attracted both national and international recognition. Her PhD (2002): ‘Reciprocal Teaching as a school-wide inclusive strategy’ was one of five US and international studies accepted for the What Works Clearinghouse review of reciprocal teaching for secondary schools.
In 2011 she was asked to co-author ‘BES Exemplar 4: Reciprocal Teaching’ with Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee and Cathy Pulegatoa Diggins.
In late 2013 Julia left the Ministry of Education with an intent to scale up and modernise reciprocal teaching with an updated evidence-based and concerted strategic approach. In collaboration with many schools, educators and students, this single-minded effort has led to our modernised strategy: RT3T™ (Reciprocal Teaching - Three Track).
This new version comprises two unique developments.
The first is a contemporary and accessible prototype of Reciprocal Teaching, RT Tokotoko™, specifically for the NZ context. This includes adaptions based on the latest research. Developed initially with Pasifika students, this prototype generates quick excitement, ownership and strong outcomes with all students and their teachers.
The second development is the new RT3T™ (Reciprocal Teaching – Three Track). RT3T™ is a modernised school-wide and cluster-wide multi-phase strategy for high impact results for all students. RT3T™ raises both the capability of teachers to effectively apply reciprocal teaching, and the schools’ capability to effectively implement a sustainable, school-wide strategy.
We now have documented results of implementing the first phase of RT3T™ in a low decile Pasifika primary school (Westera & Alton-Lee, 2014) and a large Pasifika secondary school. Results from both schools replicated those of a large scale NZ study with secondary schools (Smith, Timperley & Francis, 2011). All these studies used an adapted version of reciprocal teaching with trained teaching teams and demonstrate acceleration on e-asTTle (especially deep feature) scores for all students, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and prior achievement levels.
We have also repeatedly shown that RT3T™ is working from year 3 upwards, including breakthrough news with our robust results with primary and secondary schools where the vast majority of students are Māori.
In 2015 Julia presented at the EARLI Conference in Cyprus. At this leading European biennial conference her paper was ranked in the top 15% in terms of relevance. This followed Julia’s successful presentation the previous year on her research and development of the reciprocal teaching method at the Implementing Implementation Science Conference at Cambridge University in the UK.
Julia has also written three feature articles for the Education Gazette and Gazette Focus: 'Reciprocal Teaching: a School-Wide Core Teaching and Learning Strategy for all Schools' (2014); 'Reciprocal Teaching: an update on this core teaching and learning strategy' (2015); and 'Generating Seismic Shifts with Reciprocal Teaching' (2016).
See Services if you wish to find out more or wish to make an Expression of Interest.
 Westera, J., & Alton-Lee, A. (2014). Reciprocal Teaching: An Implementation Case.
Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme │ Hei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education.