Choosing your secondary teaching methods

Every teacher in a secondary school is qualified to teach one or more discipline areas but the approval process to study a particular subject differs between institutions.

  • Secondary teachers are trained to teach specific subjects in a secondary school. These are known as their teaching methods.
  • People studying secondary teaching usually focus on one or two teaching methods, which is linked to their specialist areas from previous university studies. For example, if you wanted to teach chemistry, you would need to have previously studied chemistry subjects at a tertiary level.
  • It is important for teachers to teach into areas they are experts in to ensure they hold the relevant knowledge and theoretical understanding to pass onto students. 

Choosing your teaching areas

There are two different ways that you can qualify for your teaching methods, either through:

studying a Bachelor in Education that integrates coursework for your teaching method(s), or

gaining a Master of Teaching and choosing teaching methods that align with your previous studies.

Often, upon application, you will need to select which teaching methods you are interested in pursuing.

Each tertiary institution then has subject content requirements which applicants must satisfy in order to be able to teach these different subjects. These requirements may vary depending on if the subject will be your major or additional/minor teaching method.

Not every tertiary provider offers every teaching method, so make sure to do your research to find out if your preferred institution offers the method you would like to teach.

Each provider will have different requirements, and you can contact them directly or look on their website for more information. As an example, this brochure from the University of New South Wales outlines the requirements of prior tertiary learning in order to undertake different teaching specialisations.

Remember: Each university is different and so ensure to check with the university you are intending to apply with.

Each tertiary institution has their own requirements for approving teaching methods, often depending on the structure and courses undertaken in the student’s previous tertiary studies. As this process is unique and done on a case-by-case basis, we are not able to offer any specific advice on which teaching methods you may be able to study. Instead, we asked some teachers to share their individual experience in applying for and being offered their teaching methods:

Case study 1

Paul studied a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and applied to two universities for his Master of Teaching (Secondary). The first university offered him the following choices for teaching methods: Business Management, Legal Studies and 7–10 Business Studies. The second university offered these same teaching methods, with the addition of Economics and Accounting. He ended up selecting the second university, and chose the three teaching methods of Business Management, Accounting and 7–10 Business Studies.

Case study 2

Mary studied a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science in her undergraduate, and also studied a Master of Theatre (Directing). She subsequently applied to two universities to study a Master of Teaching (Primary and Secondary). Within her application she specified the teaching methods she was interested in, with ‘Drama’ as her number one preference. The first university, which offers 2 teaching methods in the dual degree, approved Drama and Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) as her teaching methods. The other university, which has one teaching method in the dual degree, offered Geography. Mary enquired to the second university if she could change her teaching method to Drama, and this was approved by the university.