Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Unpacking the metalanguage

About this Illustration of Practice

In teaching students from a very diverse range of cultural backgrounds in an Alice Springs senior college, the teacher understands how intercultural understanding is a key to unlocking knowledge and understanding to which many of her students have previously not had access. She describes two of the key tools used in her class to redress this imbalance: a highly visual 'wiki' and an ever-present map. Using language strategically, whether in teaching materials, in individual tuition, when providing feedback, is key to how she sees her role in catering for students with different characteristics at different stages of development.

Standard 1
Know students and how they learn
Focus area 1.3
Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds
Career stage
Highly Accomplished
Support colleagues to develop effective teaching strategies that address the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Other descriptors
Standard 2
Know the content and how to teach it
Focus area 2.2
Content selection and organisation
Career stage
Highly Accomplished
Exhibit innovative practice in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs.
  1. What teaching and learning strategies can be used to cater for students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds?
  2. What specialist knowledge and skills are required of teachers with Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander students?
  3. How might a wiki/collaborative construction site provide support to students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds?
Centralian Senior College
Northern Territory
Year level
Year 12
Stage of schooling
School type
School location
View full map

Centralian Senior College is the largest senior secondary education provider in Alice Springs. The school was established in 2005 and has approximately 600 students in years 10, 11 and 12. Almost 50 percent of the student population has an Indigenous background with English being in some cases a second, third or fourth language. The teacher believes that different teaching methods and materials are required in order to engage students from such culturally diverse backgrounds but resists any idea that students should be denied access to the metalanguage that is required for success in learning.

Content provider
Education Services Australia

© Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), 2012 (except where indicated under acknowledgements). You may use, reproduce and adapt this material for educational purposes until 30 June 2019, provided you retain this notice and all acknowledgements associated with the material.