“These descriptors encapsulate the basis for the thinking and planning process for teaching. Without the understanding of these factors a teacher can provide instruction and learning activities but not grounded by professional understanding. These Standards will spark collegial dialogue and more reflective teaching practice with hopefully enhanced outcomes for student learning.”

— Deputy Principal, Independent School, Northern Territory. Validation Survey 2, 8 October to 5 November 2010

Organisation of the Standards

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers comprise seven Standards which outline what teachers should know and be able to do. The Standards are interconnected, interdependent and overlapping.

The Standards are grouped into three domains of teaching: Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement. In practice, teaching draws on aspects of all three domains.

Within each Standard, focus areas provide further illustration of teaching knowledge, practice and professional engagement. These are then separated into Descriptors at four professional career stages: Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead.

of teaching
Standards Focus areas
and Descriptors
Professional Knowledge
  1. Know students and how they learn
  2. Know the content and how to teach it
Refer to the Standard at each career stage
Professional Practice
  1. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
  2. Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
  3. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
Professional Engagement
  1. Engage in professional learning
  2. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/ carers and the community

The focus areas and descriptors identify the components of quality teaching at each career stage. They constitute agreed characteristics of the complex process of teaching. An effective teacher is able to integrate and apply knowledge, practice and professional engagement as outlined in the descriptors to create teaching environments in which learning is valued.