New Teachers’ Support Group

HEDC establishes each year a small interdisciplinary support group of new teachers who meet together at intervals over lunch between February and November for discussion and mutual support. The main purpose of the group is to provide high levels of institutional and mutual support for new teachers and to help with teaching issues – but a measure of the group’s usefulness will be if other purposes are explored. The focus is on identifying issues that are important to members of the group, and we provide a secure forum in which discussions can take place. In the 2011 pilot, we successfully trialled linking colleagues from different campuses in a meeting. Where there is interest in the future we shall hold our meetings in this way and involve colleagues from all campuses together. The New Teachers’ Support Group can address a wide range of issues, including:

  • Discussing and sharing experiences of personal professional development
  • Discussing and sharing Otago Teaching Profiles
  • Sharing ‘micro-teaching’ experiences
  • Other themes by request

All new Lecturers and Professional Practice Fellows will be invited to join this group, but if we miss you please contact Professor Kerry Shephard.

In 2014/15 the New Teachers’ Support Group established itself as Pooling Teaching Tips, with two not-so-new colleagues (Ben Schonthal and Colin O’Byrne) taking a lead. Pooling Teaching Tips is a workshop held regularly at HEDC for all teaching staff at the University of Otago. It meets over lunch hours in the HEDC seminar room from 12:00-12:50 on designated days. The goal is to bring academic staff from around the university together to share practical and easy-to-implement teaching strategies. The format is informal and conversational. Simply bring your lunch and be ready to brainstorm! This is about sharing practical advice and concrete techniques, so please come with a few specific ideas in mind. If you’re interested in coming to a session, please rsvp online.

The PTT blog site is for recording tips, suggesting new sessions and continuing the conversation. All Otago staff can look at and contribute to the pages here. The address is:

Links to our workshop sessions can be seen in the left panel. If you have suggestions for future sessions, please leave a comment here.

Please comment freely. In addition, you can upload links and documents by contacting Ben Schonthal ( or Colin O’Byrne (