The first of these domains is Professional Knowledge.
What is the Professional Knowledge domain?
The Professional Knowledge domain of the APST describes all of the things that teachers need to know and learn to be able to do their job.
Teachers in Australia are expected to have a certain level of knowledge in a variety of areas. These areas include:
- Up-to-date knowledge of their curriculum area.
- Child development.
- Various disabilities and learning difficulties.
- Child and young person psychology and mental health.
- Current pathways and job prospects relevant to their students.
- Cultural and religious factors that could influence engagement with school.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and perspectives.
- Literacy and numeracy development, regardless of curriculum area.
- Current technology and how it can be applied in the classroom.
The knowledge that teachers need to have (and keep up-to-date) is extensive. This is why there is a requirement in every state in Australia for teachers to do a minimum amount of professional learning over their registration cycle.
What does Professional Knowledge look like?
Professional Knowledge is important both in and outside of the classroom. Teachers need to have knowledge about their curriculum area to plan their learning programs. In these plans, they also need to include strategies to support their wide range of students.
Deep knowledge and understanding are important for teachers. We need to know enough about our students and how to support them to change gears immediately in a lesson if our plans aren’t working. We also need to be confident enough in our curriculum area to be credible, answer difficult questions, and provide extension activities at the drop of a hat.
What do teachers need to do to build their Professional Knowledge?
Ongoing professional learning is an important part of building your professional knowledge, as well as maintaining it. Not only is current best practice always changing, but teachers need to also ensure that their knowledge is current and strong in their minds.
Seeking support from your colleagues or leaders can provide incredible opportunities to develop your professional knowledge. Every person has different experiences and different strengths, so talking to other teachers is key to building your knowledge and expertise.