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More than 7.6 million migrants live in Australia¹, and there are over 300 identified languages spoken in Australian households, with more than one-fifth of Australians speaking a language other than English at home.

Almost one-third of Victoria’s population was born overseas. Melbourne experienced the largest net gain of migrants in 2019-20 of any capital city in Australia. Barriers experienced by culturally diverse learners can include

  • a lack of teaching materials in languages other than English
  • inconsistent access to education and/or teaching materials, and
  • a lack of cultural awareness or representation in the teaching materials.

Professional learning

Professional learning undertaken for teaching learners from culturally diverse and refugee backgrounds should meet descriptor 1.3 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), however it may meet other descriptor(s) of the APST depending on the type of professional learning undertaken.


Visit the Teacher resources page to find out how to log professional learning activities in MyPD.

Teachers should consider the modifications to the curriculum and/or practice they will need to make for culturally diverse learners to access learning.

If they do not have a culturally diverse learner in their learning environment, teachers can

  • observe an experienced teacher’s practice and/or approach to a culturally diverse learner and base their demonstration of descriptor 1.3 on another student in the school, or
  • hypothetically include a culturally diverse learner to demonstrate the standard.

Then they will need to ask themselves

  • 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 culturally diverse learners?


The Foundation House School Support Program is funded by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to provide statewide professional learning and resources to both government and non-government schools, aimed at building the capacity of the sector to support trauma recovery and improved educational outcomes for students and families of refugee backgrounds.

Visit the Foundation House website to find professional learning programs for teaching learners from culturally diverse and refugee backgrounds.

¹ Australian Bureau of Statistics, Migration, Australia, 2019-20 financial year, <>, retrieved 28 July 2022

Last updated: 28 Jul 2022

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