Insights into how university teachers develop their teaching can strengthen the effectiveness of professional learning activities. Professional learning initiatives aim to support teachers in developing a teaching profile that is focused on student learning. However, university teachers often report a combination of content- and student-focused approaches to teaching and are not systematically focused on the learning outcomes of students. Teacher development theories hypothesise teaching growth as a hierarchy in which the development of more-complex skills (student-centred teaching) is based on the easier ones. This cumulative development of university teachers’ teaching has not yet been examined in authentic learning environments. We explored whether the hierarchy can also be found in observed teaching behaviour. Rasch analysis of 203 classroom observations revealed a stage-wise ordering of the teaching skills from basic to complex, consistent with the theorised development of teaching in the literature. University teachers develop from teacher-centred to student-centred teaching by increasingly acknowledging the student in the teaching and learning process. At the same time, they aim first to gain comfort in a stage (self-focused) before improving their teaching in that development stage (focus on task). As teachers develop, they move on to student-learning focused skills, such as teaching–learning strategies.