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Teaching standards

The ‘Australian professional standards for teachers’ is central to national reform in teacher quality, and ensures quality teaching practice in NSW schools. The standards define what effective teaching looks like, how it displays in the classroom, and how it improves student learning. The standards form the core framework against which teachers gain their accreditation and maintain accreditation throughout their career.

The Australian professional standards for teachers (the standards)

Australian states and territories are committed to ensuring that all young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active informed citizens as outlined in the 2008 Melbourne Declaration.

Until relatively recent times however, as a nation and as a state we have not had a public statement of what constitutes ‘quality’ in teaching. The now nationally agreed Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (opens in a new window) provides that public statement.

The Australian professional standards for teachers (the standards) is the core framework around which teachers gain and maintain accreditation throughout their careers. The standards are a result of a rigorous analysis of effective contemporary teaching practice in Australia, and are underpinned by a strong international and national evidence base.

The standards were informed by an extensive validation process that involved more than 6,000 teachers to ensure all 148 standard descriptors were shaped by the profession.

The standards framework outlines the knowledge, practice and the professional engagement needed for effective teaching - teaching shown to improve student learning. They publicly state what high quality teaching looks like, and what we can expect to see effective teachers doing in the classroom.

The 7 standards are:

  1. Know your students and how they learn.
  2. Know the content and how to teach it.
  3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
  4. Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
  5. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
  6. Engage in professional learning.
  7. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/ carers and the community.

The critical role of the teacher

Research shows that successful students are a result of high quality teaching - a hallmark of effective teachers and excellent schools. Students deserve a system where the very best teachers work in our classrooms and schools. The standards framework outlines the preparation, development, support and recognition of all teachers across career developmental stages:

  • graduate teacher
  • proficient teacher
  • highly accomplished teacher
  • lead teacher.

A shared language for learning and growth

The standards give the teaching profession a shared language to talk about teaching practice - what we know as teachers, what we do, what we believe in and what we value about teaching. They are also a framework and common language to communicate with others - school leaders, teacher educators, professional associations, parents/ carers and the public - and are a public statement attesting to the professionalism of teachers.

The standards enable us, as teachers, to plan, practise, reflect on, and refine our teaching practice. We use them to monitor our ongoing growth and development as professionals, and the associated classroom practice, capabilities and expertise.

Spreading quality practice

The framework’s 4 career stages acknowledge and map out a career-long continuum of classroom practice, capabilities and expertise.

Additionally, the career stages of highly accomplished and lead teacher are designed so our most skilled teachers can lead and model best practice for other teachers to learn.

These stages provide a clear career pathway where exemplary classroom teachers can be recognised and rewarded for their expertise, for their skills and for their support of other teachers.

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