Steps to teaching success

How Victoria University of Wellington promotes the use of inclusive teaching practices that benefit our increasingly diverse community of students and staff.

If you don't have a commitment to the sea of faces that come before you for 12 weeks, you shouldn't be there. You should never forget that they are the reason you are there. Your job is to keep the smile on their faces... keep them stimulated, not just about your course, but life. And you can't underestimate the influence that has on your students' lives.
Aroha Mead

By acknowledging top teachers and encouraging them to share their success strategies and experiences, we aim to lift teaching standards and student achievement in Wellington School of Business and Government (WSBG).

The Showcasing Teaching Excellence project grew from an idea to develop a one-stop teaching and learning resource for commerce teachers. Across the faculty, we are aware that teachers are seeking tried and tested strategies to improve their teaching and enhance student-teacher engagement.

The focus of this project has therefore been to develop a highly accessible collection of strategies, ideas, and insights from top teaching staff to help raise teaching standards across the WSBG. This collection is the result of listening to the voices of some of our best teachers. Teachers who have
generously shared with us, their experiences, strategies, and wise reflections.

Twenty-six teachers from five commerce schools participated in creating this teaching and learning resource, based primarily on in-depth interviews. In addition, sixteen third year students enrolled in a project management course took part in focus group conversations to reflect on group work.

Our wholehearted thanks to all who participated in the project.

How to use this resource

Are you a new teacher, or an experienced teacher interested in refreshing your teaching? Do you want ideas on what to do in your first class of the trimester? Are you looking for the best advice on how to teach theory, on how to deal with large classes, with group work, or how to get your students to better engage with readings and their writing? Do you provide tutorials? Do you want to learn from other teachers?

The Project Chart is your guide to navigating this site and finding out what you need to know.


This resource is not intended to be prescriptive. It is very much descriptive, with teachers sharing what works for them. As far as possible, we have endeavoured to be true to the voices of WSGB staff. Some ideas will work better in some contexts than others and of course, we cannot guarantee success, but there are plenty of fantastic suggestions to get you thinking. Pick and mix to find out what works for you.

Outcomes from this project are being added to over time, while also providing guidelines for similar projects in other faculties. We are more than happy to offer advice (and to receive feedback!) on applying the ideas.

A teaching portfolio is a collection of relevant information from a variety of sources, that, when taken together, provides a comprehensive record of your development and performance. It should be both descriptive and evaluative. It should include:

  • a statement of your teaching philosophy or approach to teaching
  • evidence of outcomes you have achieved
  • significant innovations you have undertaken
  • teaching-related grants and awards
  • peer review
  • teaching-related publications.

Your portfolio is different to a Teaching Performance Profile, which is a collection of your student feedback results.

Using your portfolio

A teaching portfolio can be a useful focus for reflection on your teaching. You can also include material from your portfolio in applications for promotion.

A teaching portfolio is required if you apply for Victoria's teaching awards.

To be nominated for a Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award, you need to make a portfolio according to a set of criteria. The Centre for Academic Development can help you with this process.

Features of a good portfolio

The contents of your portfolio will largely depend on what you want to use it for. Suddaby (1998) sets out the key attributes most portfolios share.

  • A statement of personal philosophy and/or teaching goal.
  • A professional appearance and well organised structure.
  • Ease of accessibility for any user with clear indexing and referencing.
  • Reflective commentaries that highlight the teaching and learning documented and link the parts together.
  • Not more than ten pages of material, although additional appendices containing supporting data may be attached.
  • Evidence of development over time which should be reflected in content structure and reflection.

Taken from Suddaby, G (1998), Teaching Portfolios, TDU, Massey University.

Using ePortfolio

An ePortfolio is a useful tool for making and sharing your teaching portfolio. There are a number of platforms suitable for building an ePortfolio.

Resources for creating your portfolio

To find more resources, search the Library catalogue for "teaching portfolio".

For more information


Arranging a peer review of your teaching is a good way to reflect on your teaching skills. When done in a friendly and reflective way, it will give you constructive and informed criticism. This will help you identify your strengths and plan your teaching development.

For more information, download the Peer Review of Teaching guide, prepared by the Centre for Academic Development. It outlines good practice approaches and protocols for peer reviews of teaching.

Read the guide to find out:

  • the difference between peer review and peer observation of teaching
  • how a peer review could work for you
  • how to choose a reviewer
  • the steps involved in completing a reflective peer review of teaching
  • protocols and templates for recording the process
  • what to do with the feedback you receive.

Try micro-teaching

Micro-teaching is a teaching improvement technique. It involves getting a group of teaching colleagues together and each giving a mini lesson that the other participants can feedback on.

What you need

You need a group of colleagues, a facilitator and a device that can record and play video. Ideally, your facilitator should have experience with micro-teaching. The Centre for Academic Development team will be happy to provide a facilitator and help you arrange your session.

The process

Each participant will go through the following process:

  • presentation and videoing (5 mins)
  • viewing video with facilitator (5 mins)
  • receiving feedback (10 mins).

Choosing a topic

Choose a topic that you have a genuine interest in. It could be a hobby or a key concept that you need to teach. Teacher enthusiasm is closely associated with student motivation to learn and perceptions of good teaching.

If you choose a topic you know well, you can ask your colleagues to provide feedback on skills and techniques you know are effective, thus boosting your confidence.

Choosing a new topic lets you take some risks with your presentation and extend yourself, receiving constructive and encouraging feedback.

Preparing your mini lesson

You need to prepare a lesson plan and give it out before your presentation. You also need to identify the specific skills you would like feedback about.

Your mini lesson should have a beginning (warm-up), a middle (concept development) and an end (closure or transition). As you prepare, you might also think about incorporating:

  • questioning
  • silence
  • nonverbal clues
  • multimedia
  • verbal reinforcement
  • student participation.


Try to treat your mini-lesson as a real teaching experience, just one with fewer complexities than a real classroom. Your colleagues will stand in for students.

Stick to the five-minute time limit and stop when asked. Running out of time is a realistic classroom concern. There will still be enough material for effective feedback and reflection.

Receiving feedback

You will watch your video with the facilitator while the other participants prepare your feedback. You’ll then spend ten minutes as a group discussing your presentation, and receiving written feedback.

Repeat until all participants have had their turn.

Giving feedback

The 'student' group should focus on the specific skills the presenter requested feedback on. Keep the tone positive and constructive during your group conversation, and when reporting back to the presenter.

Try to think in terms of what the teacher did that helped you learn and what might have improved your learning.

Finally, write a summary of the group feedback onto the presenter's lesson plan. You don't need to reach a consensus.

Acting on feedback

You can use your colleagues' feedback to decide what skills you want to develop. The Centre for Academic Development team can help you figure out where to go from there. They can point you to resources that fit your needs. They can also tell you about different teaching approaches or help you innovate your own.


This micro teaching outline has been adapted from guidelines prepared by Dr Barbara J. Millis, University of Nevada, Reno, and from a handout created by Dr Christine Asmar, University of Sydney.

If you're applying for promotion or have a performance review coming up, you need a summary of the feedback you're received from students about your teaching. This summary is called a Teaching Performance Profile.

Information you need to supply

  • The number of years you wish your TPP to cover. If no timeframe is provided a TPP will be provided for the last 5 full years.
  • Whether you are seeking feedback on teaching in the most recent Trimester.

All applications for a TPP are actioned on a first-come first-served basis. Applications made close to the promotions round are not guaranteed to be prepared in time for the promotions deadline, so it is advised that TPP applications are made as early as possible.

Applications should be made to

Types of profiles

Standard profile

A standard profile shows a summary of your teaching feedback results for the current year and the previous four. It is used for most academic promotions, including PA1 and PA2 promotions. If you require a TPP covering more than the standard profile you must advise this at the time you make your request.

Complete profile

A complete profile summarises all of your teaching feedback results from your time at the University. You need one if you're applying for promotion to professor. Information is available from 2007 onward.

Required development for new staff

New academic staff need to attend an academic orientation. New tutors need to get introductory tutor training before they start teaching.

New academic staff with fewer than three years of tertiary teaching experience need to complete a total of 20 hours of professional development in their first two years at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington. Talk to the Centre for Academic Development for advice on finding opportunities that are right for you.

Upcoming events

Check the calendar to stay up to date about upcoming workshops, learning and teaching events and training opportunities.

Get training and qualifications

The University offers a variety of professional development opportunities for Academic staff to support teaching enhancement, academic career progression, and capability development.

Resources are available on the Learning Hub and all PD or training events and activities are logged on the staff development calendar.

The Te Arawai Ako: Pathway to Learning and Teaching Fellowship is a professional development programme that supports staff to reflect upon and receive recognition for their teaching and learning through the award of an HEA fellowship. The fellowship is granted in recognition of meeting a set of internationally agreed upon professional standards.

Connect with your colleagues

Ako Symposium

The Ako Symposium is a learning and teaching event hosted by the Centre for Academic Development.

It's an opportunity for you to meet with your academic colleagues from around the University. You can talk about learning and teaching at the University and celebrate our successes in the field. Each event has a different theme. Find out more about the Ako Symposium.


VicTeach is a community-led initiative for staff interested in developing and sharing best practice in learning and teaching. Any staff member with an interest in tertiary learning and teaching can join. The group meets informally twice a month.

See the Vic Teach page on the Innovation Incubator for more information, or join the VicTeach mailing list for updates.

Join the learning and teaching discussion list

The Centre for Academic Development operates this email discussion list. It's open to all staff interested in discussing learning and teaching matters at the University, and sharing ideas and resources.

Subscribe to the list and find out more about its purpose and how to use it.

Tips for posting

  • Indicate your topic in the subject line.
  • Be a good digital citizen—pay attention to netiquette.
  • Include your full name, school or department, and contact details at the end of your post.
  • If you post a query, offer to compile the responses and post a summary.
  • Turn off any read receipt confirmations as these are posted to the whole list.
  • If you have any problems or questions about the list, contact the Centre for Academic Development.

Peer review of teaching

Having a colleague watch you teach is a good way to get an informed and friendly perspective on skills you could develop or new methods you could try. Get some tips for arranging a peer review of your teaching.

Get mentoring

Find out about the University's academic mentoring programme for staff. New mentoring applications are taken at the beginning early in the year and around July/August.