Developing focus

The second phase of induction for beginning teachers is developing focus. It involves the beginning teacher reflecting on their teaching practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and using these standards as a framework for their reflection.

Image: This phase develops beginning teachers understanding of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and sets up reflection processes

Improving teaching practice

Reflective practice against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (the standards) helps beginning teachers improve their teaching practice.

Ongoing reflection informs their teaching practice. It helps them to meet their students' learning needs effectively by revisiting their enacted practice to guide their future action.

Doing this regularly on an ongoing basis helps beginning teachers to align and inform:

  • their performance and development process
  • their steps towards gaining proficient accreditation.

Reflection against the standards

The Strong start great teachers (SSGT) induction framework and accreditation process provides the structure and opportunity for beginning teachers to develop the 'learned skills' of reflective practice against the standards as a teacher.

Reflective practice involves adopting specific attitudes and attributes, reflecting at different times, and viewing reflection through different perspectives.

Teaching standards as a framework supports reflection against the 37 standard descriptors for the proficient teacher career stage. It can be adapted by beginning teachers, supervisors and mentors to:

  • record insights, experiences, successes and challenges
  • seek and provide feedback
  • identify areas of strength
  • determine the next steps for professional development
  • act as a springboard for gathering evidence for proficient teacher accreditation.

The department and AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) provides resources to assist reflection against the standards. See Further support for reflection.

Key areas of need

Reflection against the standards allows beginning teachers - and their principals, supervisors and mentor/ coach - to identify key areas of need to be supported. When beginning teachers detect areas of need during their reflections, it is important they receive timely and targeted support, as well as relevant professional learning, to develop these areas.

Find a list of resources to support the development of key areas of teaching practice for beginning teachers, as identified in the research and in the standards at the proficient career stage, in Developing key practices.

The High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL) model is embedded in the Department’s Professional Learning Policy for Teachers and School Staff. The model supports teachers to engage in a cycle of continuous professional learning which involves identifying student's needs to select relevant professional learning and using effective evidence sources to measure its impact.

Resources for mentor/ coach

In-school mentors play an important role in supporting beginning teachers to reflect on and develop their teaching practice through practice-focused mentoring.

The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) describes practice-focused mentoring as the strong professional relationship that involves ongoing observation, conversations, evidence about and assessment of: practices, goal-setting and technical and emotional support.

The HIPL model describes the importance of collaborative and applied professional learning in strengthening teaching practice. Key practices and illustrations of practice are available to support school leaders and mentors in implementing this practice in school.

For a list of department resources to support in-school mentors, refer to Further support for in-school mentors and Teacher Mentors.

  • AITSL (2014) Learning from practice - workbook series.
  • Biggs, J. (2003) Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does (2nd ed.) Berkshire: SRHE & Open University Press.
  • NSW Education Standards Authority Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
  • Brookfield, S. (1995) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Dewey, J. (1938) Logic: The Theory of Inquiry New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • Killion, J & Todnem, G. (1991) 'A process of personal theory building' Educational Leadership, 48(6).
  • Larrivee, B. (2006) An Educator's Guide to Teacher Reflection, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Timperley, H. Wiseman, J. Fung, I. (2003) The Sustainability of Professional Development in Literacy, Part 2. Final report to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Education, Wellington New Zealand.

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