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Professional Experience Framework - Q & A

What is professional experience?

This supervised teaching practice (also known as ‘professional experience’, ‘practicum’ or ‘practicum placement’) is a critical component of teacher training, as it provides teacher education students with an opportunity to apply both their subject knowledge and their teaching skills in a real classroom. Teacher education students are exposed to the tasks of delivering the curriculum, managing students in a classroom and working as part of a school community. Teacher education students continue to learn through their professional placements by being supervised by teachers already in the workforce.Teacher education students completing four year undergraduate programs are required to complete 80 days of supervised teaching practice; while those completing graduate entry two-year programs are required to complete 60 days of supervised teaching practice.

What is the Professional Experience Framework?

The ultimate test of great teaching is in the practice. Preparation is crucial but in the end teachers must be effective in front of students. This is only properly assessed in practicum in the first instance.Throughout the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL) consultation process, stakeholders consistently said that the partnership between initial teacher education providers and schools needed to improve.In response, the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning – A Blueprint for Action committed to a framework for professional experience. That has now been developed and it includes:

  • best practice guidelines for teachers, teacher educators and teacher education students
  • an evidence guide for supervising teachers
  • a common report template
  • a statement of common roles and responsibilities
  • data exchange guidelines.

How will the framework help teachers supervising professional experience?

The evidence guide will help supervising teachers to make consistent judgements about the quality of a teacher education student’s teaching capacity. Use of the common report template by universities will make it easier for supervising teachers to assess teaching students against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Universities will get better quality and more consistent reports from classroom teachers so that they can be sure that student teachers are ready for the classroom before they graduate.

In addition, supervising teachers will undertake professional development to better prepare them for this important role.

How will this ensure that only the best teachers will be guiding our trainee teachers on professional experience?

The framework aims to create greater consistency in the quality of professional experience arrangements across all NSW universities and schools. For the first time, there will be a common set of expectations and guidelines for quality practice for those involved in supporting professional experience, both in schools and in universities.

The framework makes clear what is expected of those classroom teachers who nominate to supervise professional experience placements. It raises the professionalism of this role and requires professional development support for teachers supervising professional experience placements.

Will the framework help universities secure the number of professional experience placements they need?

Through the framework universities, employing authorities and schools will have more confidence around the number of placements available.

There is a commitment in the framework to exchange data on professional experience placements. All school sectors have agreed to cooperate in ensuring a coordinated approach.

How will the framework ensure that unsuccessful teacher education students do not become teachers?

All the evidence tells us that the quality of teaching is the single most important influence on student performance.

The feedback received during the GTIL consultation made it very clear to the NSW Government that the education community in NSW believes there are changes that can be made to improve the quality of teaching and learning in NSW schools. During the consultation for GTIL, the quality of professional experience placements and their assessment was a key issue.

The framework’s quality practices, guidelines and evidence guide establish greaterclarity around the assessment of student teachers by supervising teachers. This will lead to greater confidence among supervising teachers to make clear and consistent assessments as to whether a student is meeting, or failing to meet, the standards.

This framework has been designed to ensure that only the right teachers are accredited and can compete for jobs in NSW classrooms. Teacher education students who are unsuccessful in their practicum placements will not be able to be accredited as teachers in NSW.

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that only those students who are clearly meeting the Graduate Teacher Standards will become teachers in NSW. That is why there are now tougher requirements for teacher education students and why schools and universities are working with the government to achieve this objective.

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