An Introduction to the Australian Teaching Standards

The Australian National Teaching Standards were published in 2011 and are now a vital aspect of teacher training and development across the country. The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) have produced a large number of resources and tools to help teachers to become familiar with these standards and learn how to use them to improve teaching practices.

The Teaching Standards are divided into 3 domains of teaching: Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice, and Professional Engagement. These then encompass the 7 teaching standards every teacher should understand and be able to apply in their context.

Each standard is further divided into focus areas which have a descriptor for each of the 4 career stages: Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished, and Lead.

These standards were written based on a huge amount of research and underwent a validation process with over 6000 teachers and so have rightly become the basis for teacher professional development across the country and particularly in NSW.

In NSW all teachers now have to complete a minimum of 30 hours of accredited professional development. That is 30 hours of professional learning delivered that has been matched up with specific descriptors for a particular career stage and been pre-approved by NESA to meet one of the key priority areas. Overall in NSW teachers must complete 100 hours of professional learning every 5 years. The other 70 hours can be accredited or elective.

As a teacher who has had to interact with the standards since their release, I have found them hugely helpful in developing myself as a teacher and to guide my practice when I first became Deputy Principal. Some of the best learning that I have undertaken has been to regularly reflect on these standards to identify my strengths and weaknesses in order to set myself goals for professional growth.

Last year, I used the Lead Teacher standards to help guide my actions in my new undefined role as Deputy Principal at SEDA College. As a new school that is growing quickly, I needed to settle into my role and identify the best uses of my time and expertise. The Lead descriptors helped me identify key aspects of my role in developing my staff and ensuring their continued growth as educators.

The first course I created focuses on using the teaching standards to reflect on your practice and to help you identify your strengths as well as areas where you can focus to improve your teaching. You can check out this course by clicking the link here.

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