How to Improve your Craft in 2021 – Australian Professional Standards for Teaching

The start of a new year. A chance to start fresh and prioritise your goals for the coming year. Last year, about 79% of Australians committed to a New Year’s resolution. 

While the most common goals involve eating healthier or exercising more, many people also aim to learn a new skill or improve their career.

Luckily for Australian teachers, they do not have to wait for the start of the new year or spend copious amounts of time reflecting to set a professional growth goal. Instead, they simply need to look at their current career stage and direct their focus to one of the carefully designed Australian professional standards for teachers.

What are The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers?

Australian professional standards for teachers | Leaders of Evolution

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is an organisation dedicated to improving the education outcomes for Australian students through properly guiding and empowering teachers and school leaders. Their mission is to promote growth and excellence so that teachers and school leaders have “maximum impact on learning in all Australian schools and early childhood settings.”

To accomplish this, the AITSL has crafted The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. With the help of extensive research and input from over 6,000 teachers and principals, the AITSL created a public statement of the characteristics of a high-quality teacher. The seven Standards represent what all teachers should know and be able to do.

To help provide teachers with a clear outline of what they should be striving to achieve during each stage of their career, The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers has described each focus area in four different ways, corresponding to the four levels on the teacher continuum – graduate, proficient, highly accomplished, and lead. These detailed descriptions provide a framework by which teachers can self-reflect and self-assess on their own capabilities. They also enable school leaders to follow a consistent rubric for teacher assessment and therefore, advancement across all subjects.

The Organisation of The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers consists of seven standards that are each broken down into 4-7 more specific focus areas. The standards are also categorised into three overlapping domains, Professional knowledge, Professional Practice, and Professional Engagement. 

Professional Knowledge – Standards 1 & 2

Very well summarized by the standards themselves, having professional knowledge means that teachers know students and how they learn (Standard 1) as well as their content and how to teach it (Standard 2).

Teachers understand that their students come from diverse backgrounds and adjust their classrooms to meet all learners’ physical, social, and developmental characteristics.

Professional Practice – Standards 3-5

This domain outlines what is necessary for teachers to have an effective practice at all stages of the learning cycle. First, teachers must plan for and implement effective teaching and learning (Standard 3) by designing engaging lessons

Then, teachers must create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments (Standard 4) through fair behaviour management systems and relationship building. 

Finally, teachers need to assess, provide feedback, and report on student learning (Standard 5). This means they need to correctly gauge student understanding, offer growth opportunities, and communicate with student families.

Professional Engagement – Standards 6 & 7

Teachers lead by example. They are lifelong learners and always strive to improve their craft. They engage in professional learning (Standard 6) to fully understand The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and seek help from supervisors and peers to identify areas of improvement.

Teachers also engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers, and the community (Standard 7). They always maintain high ethical standards, adhere to all policies, and get involved in their school and professional communities.

Each of the above seven Standards acts as a substantial column of support to the foundation of good teaching.

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and Leaders of Evolution

At Leaders of Evolution, we support the growth and development of teachers and students year-round. Just as the AITSL encourages teachers to reflect on their current practice and look for ways to improve continuously, our courses teach students how to engage in self-reflection and look for ways they can become a better student and a better leader.

Our online e-learning courses provide teachers with the resources necessary to support students during all stages of the learning cycle so they can develop self-awareness and increase their leadership effectiveness.

To get started making progress on your professional goals and see more of what Leaders of Evolution has to offer, check out 21+ free Tools, Templates, and resources here.

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Hannah Hunt

Former Division 1 lacrosse player who is still trying to get her fill of competition through local club sports and intramurals. Hannah is her happiest when doing something active or spending time with friends and family. Currently living abroad with her husband, she stays busy learning the language, exploring new places, and cooking fun recipes.

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