Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Illustrations of Practice



Standard 1.5 - Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

Differentiation by Readiness
Year 8 Visual Arts - Tiered Unit and Lesson Plan

This unit has been designed guided by the philosophy that underpins differentiation theory and with the understanding that students will meet their learning with unique learning profiles and at different stages of readiness. For this reason, learning experiences are designed to be student-centred rather than teacher-led. Although the practical discipline of Visual Arts lends itself to natural differentiation due to student personal choice of expression and artistic style, this unit recognises the need to address learner’s profile in a holistic manner. A variety of different learning strategies are implemented to cater for student’s preferred learning styles and to support individual learning needs including readiness, knowledge acquisition and production. Teaching instruction, lesson structure, pre-assessment, ongoing formative assessment and summative assessment are managed and differentiated to allow for all students to reach attainable goals, to provide appropriate levels of challenge and to ensure that all students have equal opportunities for success in their learning.


Differentiation by Interest and Learning Profile
Year 8 English - RAFT Lesson Plan

The RAFT: Writing persuasive news articles activity is differentiated by student interest. Students make decisions about about their role as a writer, the audience who they are writing for, the format (or type) of article they are writing and the topic they are writing about. Through providing students the ability to personalise their assessment they will be more motivated to complete their assessment, to persist through struggles and to draw upon prior knowledge. Although the RAFT is differentiated by interest, the delivery of the lesson content as been adapted considerably to support the needs of student’s learning profiles .This differentiation is mirrored throughout the entire five week unit. 

This lesson has been designed to put emphasis on teacher and student feedback. Feedback is frequently given to students, against the criteria of the task and learning objectives of the lesson, as a way of reduce the gap between where student is and where they should be. This transparent way of instruction allows students to move their understanding towards success criteria and learning objectives. Through reflection students engage with their learning and find appropriate actions needed, which will lead to closing the gap between where they are currently and they should be. Students also develop skills for evaluating their own work, which later provides students more opportunities for improvement during an assessment task, and an opportunity to be more independent in their learning.


Supporting Students with Specific Learning Needs
Whole School Intervention

This whole school intervention was created while I was working as a special educational needs teacher in London. The intervention is labelled as providing support for students with dyslexia but also caters to the needs of students with dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. The document was released to the school community to provide teachers and parents with an understanding of their role in providing support to students in the classroom and at home. As a part of the intervention’s roll out, teachers were also provided with training that explored the diverse needs of students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia and a reference booklet with strategies for each specific learning disability. The intervention is broken down into three waves: Wave 1 (whole school), Wave 2 (in-class) and Wave 3 (targeted group). Each wave is outlined below. 

Wave 1: Whole School Level intervention is inclusive of student, parent and teacher need, recognise the role each member in this trinity and establish the importance of good relationships between parent/cares and the school. This relationship sets a precedent in building a community that supports on-going quality approaches for learning. 

Wave 2: In Class intervention supports students and teachers in adapting to necessary practice that provides active learning strategies. The majority of students will achieve through high quality classroom teaching. As standard practice, student’s progress should be monitored in the mainstream classroom. Student’s reading, comprehension and learning difficulties may be a consequence of the nature of the teaching they receive rather than inherent learning difficulties.  For this reason, when a student is identified as having difficulties, the response should always take into account the quality of the teaching they receive.

Wave 3: Targeted Group intervention will personalise learning by matching the type of provision with the student’s individual need. Student’s learning will progress faster and their attainment gap will narrow to help them achieve in line with their same aged peers. Small group programmes will be offered based on the demand of our students’ need.One-to-one intervention is for students who require intensive support that is tailored to their specific, often severe, difficulties.


2   Know the content and how to teach it

Standard 2.4 - Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. 

Exploring Indigenous Perspectives
Year 8 Visual Study - Indigenous Australian Artists

In this learning task, students chose a contemporary Indigenous Australian artist to explore. Students were required to study the techniques, styles and themes of the artist's work. They were asked to identify and consider the different viewpoints of the artist and meaning behind each work. Students engagement with this process enables them to enrich their own art making and come to respect the culture and histories of different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist's perspectives. 


Year 9 Inquiry - Indigenous Australian Artist's Visual Arts Practice

As part of a broader unit of work, in which students created linoleum print designs based on their connection their exterior surroundings, students were also required to write a personal artistic statement about the influences they took in creating their piece of artwork. To inform their piece of writing students engaged in an inquiry project about the perspectives that Indigenous Australian artist, Nici Cumpston, explored in her own work. Below is a worksheet that students used to guide their understanding and learning when viewing a documentary about the artist and her work. Students gained an understanding of and respect for how Cumpston's art practice is informed by her Indigenous cultures and connection with the land. The documentary presented this knowledge through Cumpston's own perspective. 


Promoting Reconciliation within the Classroom
Implementing a Reconciliation Module Using Effective Teaching Resources

The importance of teaching for reconciliation goes far beyond any symbolic gesture of recognition of Indigenous peoples, histories and cultures. Instead, reconciliation requires enduring relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians that are respectful, friendly, mutually beneficial and rigorously work for change. Reconciliation starts in the classroom and as teachers we play a pivotal role in promoting equity and social justice for our First Nations to all our students. Implementing a reconciliation module that deals with the social injustices that continue to occur in Australia addresses the silencing of Indigenous voices in the past and allows students to use their learning for positive change in the wider community for the future. Effective strategies, practices and pedagogies of reconciliation, inclusiveness, empathy and liberation not only discourage but begin to break the continuation of colonisation and the white privilege that our current society is built on. Indigenous students should feel safe, purposeful, free, equal and empowered in taking opportunities at school.


Domain 2 : Professional Practice

3   Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

Standard 3.3 - Use teaching strategies. 

Relevant and Varied Teaching Strategies to Develop Knowledge, Skills, Problem-Solving, Critical and Creative Thinking
Year 8 English - News and Media Unit Plan

A variety of teaching strategies are used in the delivery of the following unit of work. By studying different aspects of newspapers and on-line news sources students build an understanding of current issues in the local, national and global community.  Students will explore a variety of different texts which are part of newspapers, namely; letters to the editor and ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ news articles. This unit will assist students in building their critical analysis skills and teach them how to recognise, name and explain the impact of persuasive literary techniques.  Students will have the opportunity to produce a variety of their own texts, incorporating their knowledge of context and the ways that language and visuals are used for specific reasons.  Students will understand the different contexts provided by newspapers and on-line news sources and will reflect on this in their own writing.  They will build skills in text production and analysis which will be beneficial as they progress through their English studies. Class discussions and inquiries will invite students to appreciate how the media can be used to inform, persuade, manipulate and report and build their critical literacy skills.


Student-Centred Inquiry
Year 10 Visual Arts - Social Justice Sculptures

These are images of student work that resulted from a student-centred inquiry project in which students were required to research a social justice issue of their choosing and create a mixed media artwork that advocated for or created an awareness of this issue. Students were required to produce a folio that showed their journey in concept and skill development and to write an artist statement that demonstrated their influences and the purpose of their sculpture. Students were encouraged to direct their own learning and research and to make informed decisions about the materials and techniques they used to create their sculptures. They engaged in a range of activities from mind-mapping to produce ideas to media experimentations to develop and refine their artistic skills, processes and techniques. Students engaged in discussions with their peers and myself about the direction they were taking, viewed teacher-led demonstrations and videos on how to use new materials and developed concepts for their art practice through analysis of other's artworks. 


4   Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

Standard 4.1 - Support student participation.

Safe and Supportive Environments for New Students
Year 7 Transition Booklet

This transition booklet was created when I was working as a special educational needs teacher in London. Transition from primary school to middle school can be a turbulent and scary time for adolescent students. This booklet welcomes new students to their school by providing them with information about their teachers, school rules and procedure, and offers a space for the student to tell their teachers about themselves, their learning preferences, home lives and background. The booklet offers students the opportunity to feel safe and confident in their new surroundings and to feel they are a valued part of their new school community. It is hoped that with this students will feel more comfortable to actively participate in their learning as they have less to worry about.


Celebrating Student Achievements
Sharing Student Work in a Supportive Environment

This is an example of student work that was presented as part of a whole class display of artwork. Artwork is created to be viewed and often students miss out on this vital part of the art making experience. Through displaying student work student are given the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement and to be proud of their work. It also gives an opportunity for student's peers and teachers to offer praise for their successes and to acknowledge the effort that students have put into their work. Student's confidence levels are raised and as a consequence they are more motivated to actively participate in art making in the future. 


Establishing and Communicating Clear Expectations for All Students
Year 11 Visual Arts - Lesson Structures and Expectations

When beginning a new unit of work I provide students with an outline of lesson content and expectations about time management, workload expectations and extensions. These expectations are often done collaboratively with students to give them a sense of ownership over their own participation in their learning. While learning activities are differentiated, these collaborative expectations are the same for all students and I encourage them to develop and use their own initiative in seeking adaptations. In knowing what is expected of them, students develop critical study skills of organisation and time management.  


5   Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning

Standard 5.1 - Assess student learning.

Pre-assessment to Inform Differentiation
Year 8 Visual Arts - Sketching and Annotating

At the beginning of this unit, students completed a pre-assessment task that assessed student's technical readiness, knowledge and understanding of drawing techniques, art elements and principles. In addition to observation of student’s drawing and technical readiness, I discussed with individual students how their drawings might translate to a printmaking design. Student responses will contributed to determining which tiered activity they completed when constructing their design drawing in the first lesson. Consequently, the complexity of their design drawing tiered the remainder of the unit, but allowed for adjustments to the complexity of the task to be made throughout the unit.


Formative Assessment as a Diagnostic Tool
Year 8 English - Persuasive Texts

Formative assessments are an important diagnostic tool for understanding how students are progressing against set learning objectives, whether students are working at an appropriate level of challenge and how tasks can be adjusted to better meet the learning needs of my students. The formative assessment tasks I set my students require them to move through the each level of Bloom's Revised Taxonomy including remembering, understanding, applying, analysing and evaluating. Students work at the level of creating when completing summative assessment tasks. This piece of evidence shows a variety of formative assessment tasks that ask students to work individually and in groups in remembering, understanding, applying, analysing and evaluating the use of persuasive language techniques in texts. These assessment tasks are scaffolded to assist students in applying new knowledge to the creation of their own texts and are assessed informally.


Summative Assessment Approaches
Year 8 English - Summative Assessment Task Sheet

This summative assessment task sheet demonstrates my ability to construct summative assessments that are meaningful and that fairly assess student learning against the Australian Curriculum performance standards. Before completing this task students were provided with examples of the outcome in order to establish structural and content expectations. The assessment criteria was discussed with students as a class and followed up with conversations with each individual student throughout the creation of the assessment piece in order to check for understanding of the task and its expectations. Students were also provided with a rubric, which they were able to use to check their own learning.


Domain 3 : Professional Engagement

6   Engage in professional learning

Standard 6.2 - Engage in professional learning and improve practice. 

Engagement in Professional Development and Learning

Throughout my development as a teacher I have participated in various professional development activities. This learning as enabled me to update my knowledge and practice that have been relevant to my various roles as teacher. This learning has also enabled me to take on new roles that have target the needs and priorities of the school. .

  • Assessment for Educators - Module 1: Principles and Language Assessment
    (Institute of Educational Assessors, SACE Board of South Australia)
  • Valuing Safe Communities: A framework for safe and professional relationships in Lutheran schools. Level 2
    (Lutheran Schools Association)
  • Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Provide basic emergency life support, Provide first aid
    (CBD College, Adelaide)
  • Post Adoption Training
    (Post Adoption Centre, London)
  • Strategies for Inclusion: Supporting Students with Speech, Language and Communication Difficulties
    (Haringey Council/NHS, London)
  • Responding to abuse and neglect - Education and care update course
  • Improving Learning Outcomes Through Classroom-Based Research
    (Haringey Schools Learning Forum, London)

Engagement with Professional Communities

The Council of Education Associations of South Australia is a useful source of information for finding out about professional development and professional associations relevant to my curriculum areas. I am currently a member of Visual Arts Educators South Australia (VAESA) and Arts Education Australia (AEA). Being a member of these professional communities enables me to expand my network of professional contacts, to join in on professional discussions about educational issues, and to share and critique a range of teaching resources. 


 7 Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community

Standard 7.3 - Engage with parents/carers.

The graduate benchmark for Standard 7.3 requires that I understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers. The following pieces of evidence show examples of this. 

Working Effectively, Sensitively and Confidentially with Parents/Carers

A significant part of my role as a Special Educational Needs teacher, while working in London, was my work as a key worker to eight students in years seven to twelve. As a key worker I helped to coordinate student’s schedules in conjunction with parents and families, school staff and other key professionals to ensure that a clear, effective and individualised plan of support was in place to achieve positive outcomes for the student. I acted as a first point of contact for the student, their parents and school staff when issues arose and ensured effective communication was maintained between the school and the student’s families. I believe that parents should be offered the opportunity to be involved in their child’s education and that this home-school relationship will ultimately benefit my students’ learning and wellbeing.

I also provided students and parents with regular, relevant and purposeful feedback regarding learning and acquisition of skills that focussed on giving authentic detail for improvement, while reinforcing student achievement strengths and success. This report is an example of this feedback. The report was written as part of a yearly process in which I met with parents to discuss student progress in all areas of learning, including social, emotional, behavioural, physical and academic, and set goals for the coming year. 


Multiple Modes of Communication with Parents/Carers

Effective communication with parents/carers is an important aspect of teaching and learning. Building positive relationships with parents/carers allows me to better understand my student and their learning needs. Throughout my various roles as a teacher I have engaged through a variety of way, including through newsletters, class letters, phone calls, meetings, emails and parent-teacher interviews. These are two letters in which I have used while teaching to engage professionally with parents/carers.