Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)

Q1 What are the Illustrations of Practice?

Illustrations of Practice capture teaching practice aligned to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in a range of contexts and across career stages, year levels and learning areas. The Illustrations are aligned to relevant Standards and are accompanied by information about the learning and school context. Discussion questions are also provided for each Illustration and in many instances also link to the Australian Curriculum. The video for each Illustration is captioned for accessibility and can be downloaded for offline viewing.

The Illustrations of Practice are authentic, illustrative and instructive but are not prescriptive or exhaustive. They can be viewed via the AITSL website.

Q2 How are Illustrations of Practice used?

The Illustrations are used by individuals, whole-schools, teams, and school leadership to:
• become familiar with or better understand the Standards
• see examples of practice aligned to the Standards
• understand how individual Standards might be demonstrated or evidenced through practice
• locate their own practice within the Standards
• discuss and debate teaching practice within their school context
• inform school-based discussions on professional learning and development.

The Illustrations support pre-service students and teacher educators to introduce, unpack and discuss the Standards.

There are Illustrations available for each focus areas of the Standards and each career stage. They can support professional discussions about the Standards, teaching practices and professional growth.

Q3 Do Illustrations of Practice show only exemplary practice?

Illustrations show a range of authentic teaching practice aligned to the career stages of the Standards and at differing levels of capability within each career stage. Illustrations can assist teachers to understand what the Standards might look like in practice. However they are not prescriptive or exhaustive.

The Illustrations also highlight the increasing levels of support, leadership and expertise exhibited by teachers working at the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages.

Q4 What was the process to develop the Illustrations of Practice?

AITSL engaged professional associations in the production of Illustrations to utilise their disciplinary expertise, promote engagement within the profession, and develop a shared sense of ownership of the Standards. In addition to the many professional associations, AITSL also engaged the Catholic Education Office, the Department of Education and Children’s Services South Australia, and the Association of Independent Schools New South Wales to produce Illustrations. AITSL engaged Education Services Australia (ESA) to complete all additional production work associated with the Illustrations.

Feedback from the professional associations emphasised that a wide variety of Illustrations would be required, in order to capture the wealth of differing teaching and learning contexts.

Q5 How does AITSL select the practices that are highlighted and is this based on research evidence?

Teachers and schools were selected in consultation with professional associations, systems and sectors with a view to illustrating practice in different contexts, year levels, learning areas and career stages.

As Dylan Wiliam states, ‘In education, “What works?” is rarely the right question, because everything works somewhere, and nothing works everywhere. Which is why in education, the right question is, “Under what conditions does this work?” 
Presentation to Cambridge Assessment Network, Cambridge, UK: September 2006. Accessed from on 14 January 2015.

Q6 Why don’t the Illustrations just feature expert teachers?

The Illustrations were developed to inform the implementation of the Standards and to support all teachers to situate their practice within the Standards. The Illustrations therefore capture practice at a range of abilities within each career stage including the practice of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers.

To support greater understanding of teacher expertise, AITSL has developed the Classroom Practice Continuum which articulates through the use of profiles, the nature of increasing teacher expertise in the Professional Practice Domain. The Classroom Practice Continuum illustrates increasing levels of expertise across all career stages.

Expert teachers (Lead and Highly Accomplished career stages) are able to work across the full extent of the continuum based on the needs of the students.