APST 4: Create and Maintain Supportive and Safe Learning Environments.

(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)


The fourth of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is to create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments. This standard covers all of the parts of your in-class teaching that you can’t plan for, from responding to students’ needs to managing behaviour.

See more: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Terminology Explained

What does this standard mean?

There are five descriptors that describe this standard:

These descriptors cover managing the classroom environment to ensure that every student feels safe and can learn. While Standard 3 – Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning describes the teaching strategies that you plan to use, this standard is more about how you respond to unexpected situations in your class to ensure that your students feel safe and supported.

What does meeting this standard look like?

At the Graduate level, teachers need to make sure that they can describe a range of strategies that they can use to manage a range of situations. At higher levels, teachers need to build flexibility into their repertoire, especially when it comes to managing student behaviour.

See more: The Impact of Challenging Behaviour: How Teachers Can Cope.

A teacher who excels in this standard will be able to respond quickly and efficiently to a range of situations both in the classroom and online. They will have a range of strategies that they are can employ, as well as a good sense of which strategy is the most appropriate for any situation.

What evidence can I collect to show that I’m meeting this standard?

As with Standard 3, this standard can be very difficult to find written evidence of. Because this standard is about how you react and respond to create feelings of safety and predictability in your classroom, the best way to gather evidence for this standard is through classroom observation. You could also include:

  • Class agreements about behaviour that have been negotiated with your students.
  • Records of behaviour or incidents that show how a student has been behaving over a period of time. Ideally, their behaviour will be improving because of the strategies that you have been using.
  • Feedback from your students, especially around participation. You can gather evidence from your students about how they feel about the class environment how how engaged they were in a particular unit.

Learn more about the other Australian Professional Standards for Teachers:

  1. Know students and how they learn.
  2. Know the content and how to teach it.
  3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
  4. Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
  5. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
  6. Engage in professional learning.
  7. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.
Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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