As a provisionally registered teacher (PRT) you undertake an inquiry approach to develop your practice and collect evidence that you meet the APST at the Proficient Teacher level.

By following the inquiry approach,  you have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and practice of teaching within a supported environment. You'll work with more experienced colleagues and reflect on the effectiveness of your practice in relation to your students or learners.

VIT offers a range of resources, including seminars, to help you understand and apply the inquiry approach. 

What the inquiry approach looks like 

The inquiry approach is adapted from Helen Timperley’s cycle of teacher inquiry and knowledge building.  

inquiry_diagram 

The inquiry approach requires PRTs to:

  • select a class or group of students, and assess the level of learning and factors affecting learning
  • determine what they already know and curriculum expectations to expand learning
  • develop a question for inquiry
  • deepen professional knowledge and refine skills to respond to the identified area of inquiry
  • use this knowledge to establish and implement an action plan to improve student learning
  • assess the learning of students
  • reflect on the effectiveness of practice on the learning of the students and the implications for future practice and professional learning.

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Where you can undertake an evidence-based inquiry approach 

You can undertake the evidence-based inquiry approach in a school, an early childhood service or a range of non-school settings so long as the learning environment meets some essential requirements.

A learning environment is appropriate provided that it:

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Approved curriculum

An approved curriculum is one that is taught in a school or early childhood setting and delivers:

  • The Victorian Curriculum/AusVELS;
  • The Australian National Curriculum; 
  • The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE);
  • The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL);
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET);
  • Any other curriculum or program approved by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) or Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA);
  • The International Baccalaureate (IB) authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation;
  • A program that, in a non-government school, is authorised and reviewed by the Victorian Registration & Qualification Authority (VRQA) and is approved as the educational program of the school by the school’s governing body;
  • A program that forms part of the compulsory curriculum of a school for students attending that school;
  • A program that is comparable to an Australian Year 12 course as recognised by an Australian legislative framework; or
  • An overseas curriculum delivered at a school registered with the VRQA as a ‘Specific Purpose’ school.

Approved curriculum in an early childhood setting is any educational program or curriculum based on:

  • The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework; or
  • The Early Years Learning Framework.

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If you are provisionally registered in two divisions

If you hold provisional registration in two divisions (as both a teacher and an early childhood teacher) you will only have to undertake the inquiry approach once to become (fully) registered in both divisions.

If you are a Casual Relief Teacher

As a Casual Relief Teacher (CRT) undertaking the inquiry approach, there are a few extra considerations you should bear in mind.

Ideally you should:
  • Seek employment for an extended period of time in one workplace.
  • Focus on a constant or particular type of learner (e.g. a specific year level, a specific subject/learning area, or catering for a mixed ability class).

Read our 2016 Supporting Provisionally Registered Teachers guide pgs 35 to 37 to learn about working in other contexts as a CRT. 

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How the Special Needs Plan affects you as a PRT

If you are a PRT and apply for (full) registration in 2016 and beyond, you will be required to include a focus on learners with disabilities in your evidence of practice. This will be included in the inquiry approach.

Including a special needs learner

Because the definition of a special needs learner is quite broad, it would be unusual not to teach learners with special needs. If you don’t teach a learner with special needs, you will need to hypothetically include a learner with a disability in the group you have selected for your inquiry approach.

To make the process feel more ‘real’, we suggest basing your hypothesis on another learner in the learning environment who has special needs - and as part of your evidence-based inquiry – ask: 

  • What would I do if I had this learner in my group?
  • How would I adapt or modify my teaching to ensure this learner achieved the same learning outcomes as the other learners in the group?

You should also have at least one professional discussion with your mentor that includes a few hypotheticals which focus on what you will do and how you will record the approach that you will take.

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Including a student who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

If you don't teach a learner who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) in the group you have selected for your inquiry approach, we suggest that you hypothetically include a learner who does identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. 

You could base your hypothesis on another learner in the learning environment - and as part of your evidence-based inquiry - ask: 

  • What would I do if I had this learner in my group?
  • How would I design and implement effective teaching strategies that are responsive to the local community and cultural setting, linguistic background and histories of ATSI learners?

You should also have at least one professional discussion with your mentor that includes a few hypotheticals which focus on what you will do and how you will record the approach that you will take.

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