Initial Teacher Education

Improving Professional Experience for Initial Teacher Education Students

Professional experience is a critical component of teacher preparation. It provides pre-service teachers with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, including assessment for classroom readiness.

Professional experience is also the opportunity to immerse pre-service teachers in the culture of a school to help develop confidence in catering for a range of different student learning needs and to understand the complex but rewarding environment in which they will soon work.

What have we done?

Working closely with our stakeholders and building on work in professional experience by the states and territories, AITSL has built new requirements for professional experience into the revised Standards and Procedures. Every professional experience placement must be underpinned by strong university-school partnership and communication.

Find out more: See Standard 5 of the revised Standards and Procedures (280KB PDF)

We have also developed video case studies of great practice examples of professional experience.

This is further supported by our participant roles and responsibilities - these are a supporting resource that set out what each partner involved in professional experience placements should know and do. 

For providers, guidelines and a template (37KB DOCX) have been developed to assist in fulfilling requirements for Program Standard 5.1 of the Standards and Procedures. These guidelines and template aim to be applicable across the range of contexts within the Australian education landscape to assist effective delivery of professional experience and strong partnerships between schools and universities.

Why a focus on professional experience?

The Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report indicates that there is a high degree of variability in the types and quality of professional experience placements and the extent to which they are integrated as part of an initial teacher education program. It also indicates that quality of placements is influenced by the quality of the partnership between universities and schools, as well as the supervising teachers selected to guide and assess pre-service teachers and how well these teachers are prepared for the role.

"Beginning teachers in Australia consistently rate professional experience as the most useful part of their initial teacher education."

Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers (2015)

What will the outcome be?

Through strengthened accreditation processes, programs being accredited will be required to demonstrate that high quality professional experience placements are embedded in every teacher education program across Australia.

All ITE students will develop strong pedagogical skills through theory and practice linkages, will be rigorously assessed, and will be more confident and 'classroom-ready' upon graduation.

"Schools, school systems and higher education providers face challenges in ensuring that a sufficient number of professional experience placements of appropriate timing and length are available for all pre-service teachers."

Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers (2015)