PRT: choosing your inquiry of focus

JULY 2018
20 MARCH 2017 (first published)

To help you achieve (full) registration, you’ll need to undertake an inquiry into your own practice in the education setting where you teach. This will provide evidence that you’re demonstrating the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers PDF, 382.48 KB (APST) at the Proficient Teacher level. You can find out more about this process here.

First, you need to decide what the focus of your inquiry will be - it’s important to choose a focus area and corresponding APST descriptors which will help you develop your practice as a teacher.

The Staff in Australia’s Schools Survey (SiAS) asked principals to assess their recent teacher graduates on how well they were prepared against a range of descriptors in the APST.

The table below shows some of the results. The right-hand side compares those results with feedback VIT sought from graduate teachers on what their inquiry focus was, and highlights APST descriptors that were popular among graduate teachers.

It’s worth noting only 6% of the surveyed teachers chose to focus on managing classroom behaviour; an ‘area of need’ identified by principals in the Grattan Institute Engaging Students Report.

The report makes informative reading and includes some useful teaching strategies. It identified that handling difficult student behaviours was the top professional challenge for new teachers, with minor disruptions being more prevalent and stressful to teachers than aggressive and anti-social behaviours. This report maintains that many classrooms have environments which produce disengaged students (and a subsequent reduction in learning).

Evidence-based strategies such as high expectations, strong teacher-student relationships, clarity and structure in instruction, and active learning may be useful to address this challenge – and could form the basis of an inquiry focus on ‘Strategies that improve managing student behaviour’.

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