Supporting teachers and school leaders - Education Matters Magazine
Professional Development

Supporting teachers and school leaders

Lisa Rodgers, CEO of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), explains how the organisation provides continuous support to teachers and school leaders through all stages of their careers.

Primary schooling lays the foundations for lifelong learning. The lives of your students can be shaped by your practice and guidance, which no doubt inspired many of you to start teaching in the first place.

AITSL’s job is to support you and we do that by working with the profession, for the profession. What this means is collaborating with teachers to develop the resources and tools you want and need. Among other projects, we’ve worked closely with primary and secondary teachers to build practical, professional learning resources like the Classroom Observation Strategies, a set of coaching resources, and the Essential Guide to Professional Learning series.

I’m privileged to work alongside our committed AITSL team. Many of the team are former teachers themselves; a big advantage as they continue working with you to draft national policy and develop resources. We have teachers from Australia, the UK, Singapore and Germany. This wasn’t quite by design, but having international perspective helps.

We draw on the very best evidence in the projects we deliver for you. All of our work is research based and we incorporate international best practice. Having said that, there is best practice in Australia and we don’t need to go overseas to see it. So we work on a daily basis with teachers and school leaders to build evidence-based tools and resources that help improve the practice of educators across the country.

This will be the first of several columns we’ll be writing in Education Matters, so please consider this a warm introduction to AITSL, as we all start planning for the remainder of 2018 and first term next year.

To better understand how we support you, it’s revealing to look at our projects through the prism of the teacher lifecycle, from pre-service to lead teachers and school leaders, and everything in between.

Our best-known achievements are working with teachers and school leaders to develop and implement the landmark ‘Standards’ – the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the Australian Professional Standard for Principals.

These twin standards provide clear, detailed, nationally agreed definitions of what it means to be an outstanding teacher or leader, and a road map to get there. After close consultation with the profession across all jurisdictions, systems and sectors; we’ve also developed seven additional evidence-based frameworks to support quality teaching practice across all career stages.

AITSL has developed nine foundation policies that underpin each stage of the teaching lifecycle:
1. Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
2. Accreditation of ITE programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures
3. Graduate to Proficient: Australian guidelines for teacher induction into the profession
4. Nationally consistent registration for all teachers
5. Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders
6. Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework
7. Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Australia
8. Leading for impact: Australian guidelines for school leadership development
9. Australian Professional Standard for Principals and the Leadership Profiles

Teachers and school leaders gain free access to virtually all the digital tools, resources and other services on the AITSL website.
AITSL’s most popular online resource is the 300-plus Illustrations of Practice, which are short, practical videos showing teachers examples of the Standards in action across a range of contexts. They’ve been viewed more than 1.5 million times.Also popular are these tools:
• The Teacher Self-Assessment Tool, or TSAT;
• The School Leader Self-Assessment Tool, or School leader SAT;
• The Supervising Pre-service Teachers Modules; and
• The My Induction App.

Launched in 2017, the My Induction app supports beginning teachers as they are inducted into schools, and has been downloaded 10,000 times and counting. If you have any friends about to start their first year in the classroom, make sure you tell them about it.

Because we exist to support you and promote your excellence, we’re always reaching out to you with our resources and tools through AITSL eNews (go to our website and subscribe if you haven’t already) and our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn platforms. If you’re not following us yet on social media, give it a go and keep up-to-date with engaging and helpful information.

Right now is the perfect time of year to be getting stuck into your professional learning plans for next year, so take advantage of our free resources to make the second half of 2018 and early 2019 easier and more effective.

I hope you have a better feel for AITSL and our passion for quality teaching and school leadership in primary and secondary schools. No matter where you are in the country, know that we have a range of resources and tools that are easy to access and use. We develop them to support your growth and positive impact on the learning outcomes of Australia’s school students.

Lisa Rodgers is the CEO of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), and a powerful, respected advocate for education. Ms Rodgers was Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Education in New Zealand and held substantial posts across Justice, Health, and in service for the British Army. She is a Board Director of the Foundation for Young Australians and a member of the Advisory Board of the Asia Education Foundation.

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