What is RT3T™ – Reciprocal Teaching 3 Track?


modernised school-wide strategy of reciprocal teaching, based on improvement science, for impact, inclusion and sustainability.

This collaborative foundational pedagogy
Builds teacher and ākonga capacity with instructional coaching

ako, kanohi ki te kanohi, whānaungatanga

crucial 21st century literacy skills and
confident cross-curricular meaning-making and multi-perspective thinking skills

RT3T™ is about dynamic learning-focussed relationships
between teachers, ākonga and whānau

What is Reciprocal Teaching 3 Track - RT3T™?

Rakau Korero with Piripi Davies and Thomas Hansen at Orakei
Piripi Davis (Ngāti Whātua) and Thomas Hansen (carver) with RT Rākau Kōrero at Ōrākei marae

Reciprocal teaching is one of the most powerful evidence-based strategies we have today. Reciprocal Teaching 3 Track, or RT3T™, is a new modernised version of reciprocal teaching that we have designed to dynamically accelerate learning and empower our 21st century learners – and to mobilise schools to deeply embrace equitable pedagogy and collaborative school cultures.

RT3T™ is a core multi-strategy research-based package which aims at improving students’ skills pertinent to accessing and understanding challenging text in any learning area.

RT3T™ is not just about reading and reading comprehension, 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

RT3T™ provides essential skills such as critical thinking, talking and teamwork –
for reading, focussed discussions, studying, project work, perspective-taking and handling challenges

This powerful team approach to strategy instruction and collaborative teaching 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 agency, tuakana-teina and collaborative kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) language skills. These skills are central to success throughout school and tertiary education, and for lifelong learning.

See Services if you wish to find out more or wish to make an Expression of Interest.

The essence of RT3T™ translates in Te Reo Māori as whakaako tauutuutu, meaning to teach and coach one another, with kaiako and ākonga confident to be both teacher and learner when working collaboratively

Research Background to RT3T™

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. We now have documented results of implementing the first phase of RT3T™ in a low decile Pasifika primary school (Westera, 2014)[1] and a large Pasifika secondary school.

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).

In 2014 Julia completed research for Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee on behalf of the Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme │ Hei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education. The purpose of this case implementation study with 5 year 4 to 6 classes within a multicultural primary school was to identify factors that would be critical for success when implementing Reciprocal Teaching as an effective school-wide strategy in New Zealand. This research provides much of the rationale underpinning the Reciprocal Teaching RT3T™ implementation model. 

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).

Implementation research in New Zealand schools: publications, papers and presentations

Westera, J. (2019). Reciprocal Teaching: Critical Success Factors. Paper written for the Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme│ Hei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Westera, J. (2017). Reciprocal Teaching – RT3T™ Initiative. Paper written on request of Chris Harwood,  Ministry of Education.

Westera, J. (2016). Efficacy of Reciprocal Teaching – RT3T™. Paper written on request for NEXT Foundation.

Westera, J. (2015). Reciprocal Teaching: Towards high impact results: inferential questioning and other key elements. Paper presented at EARLI, Cyprus. EARLI 2015 Book of Abstracts.

Westera, J. (2014). Reciprocal Teaching: An Implementation Case. Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme│ Hei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Westera, J. (2014). Reading Together and Reciprocal Teaching: the interface. Preliminary Discussion. Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme│ Hei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Westera, J. (2014). Reciprocal Teaching: an update from a New Zealand perspective, with implications for effective school-wide implementation. Implementing Implementation Science Conference, Cambridge, UK, 28 July.

Westera, J., Ritchie, B., Smith, S., Francis, R. & Gasson, C. (2013). Reciprocal Teaching: a No. 1 smart tool to accelerate achievement across the curriculum for all students. Presentation to Ministry of Education, Wellington, June.

Westera, J. (2013). Reciprocal Teaching: a Rethink on Effective School-wide Implementation. 6th Educational Psychology Forum, Hamilton.

Westera, J. (2012). Effective and Inclusive teaching practices in the Best Evidence Synthesis (BES). Presentation at District Day, Ōrākei Marae.

Alton-Lee, A., Westera, J., & Pulegatoa-Diggins, C. (2012). BES Exemplar 4 Ngā Kete Raukura – He Tauira 4 Reciprocal teaching. Ministry of Education.

Westera, J. & Beilby, S. (2005). Is “the proof of the pudding” in the eating or in the ability to follow a recipe?  Practice-Based Evidence and the Implications for Psychologists in Special Education. Presentation and workshop at the GSE Northern Region Professional Development Day, Ministry of Education, Auckland. 

Westera, J. (2002). Reciprocal teaching as a school-wide inclusive strategy. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Auckland, Auckland.  

Westera, J. (1999). Report on implementation of Reciprocal Teaching in a Polynesian school. SEMO Project.

Westera, J. (1996). Developing a systemic approach to reading comprehension in high school. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 31 (2), 121–130.

Westera, J. & Doherty, L. (1995). An Introduction to Reciprocal Teaching of Reading Comprehension.  A kura-based course with a bilingual emphasis.  University of Auckland.

Westera, J. & Moore, D.M. (1995). Reciprocal teaching of reading comprehension in a New Zealand high school. Psychology in the Schools, 32. pp.225–233.

[1] Westera, J. (2014). Reciprocal Teaching: An Implementation Case.

Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis ProgrammeHei Kete Raukura. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

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