3.2 Plan, Structure and Sequence Learning Programs

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What does this descriptor look like at different levels?

Plan, structure and sequence learning programs is the second descriptor of the third standard of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

This focus area is about how you sequence your teaching. To become a great teacher, you’ll need to create learning sequences that support your students to learn.

See more: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Terminology Explained

Doing this requires you to do a few different things. You’ll need to understand your students, where they’re starting, and where they need to go. You’ll also need to be confident enough with your teaching area to understand the skill and knowledge progressions in detail.

Creating a quality scope and sequence balances your students’ current and future needs. You’ll need to be able to plan to ensure that your students have the foundation they need to extend themselves in the future.

See more: High Teacher Expectations – What Does it Really Mean?


What does it look like?

At the Graduate level, teachers are expected to plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

You’ll need to reach the Graduate level before completing a teaching degree in Australia, so this level is about planning. Your university should give you plenty of opportunities and guidance on doing this well.

You’ll need to plan a sequence of lessons that take a few things into account. You’ll need to ensure it reflects where your students are, where they need to go, and how you will get them there.

See more: 6 High Impact Teaching Strategies That Take 30 Seconds or Less

What evidence can I collect?

Collecting evidence for the Graduate level of this focus area is easy. It will be as simple as your sequence of lesson plans.

You’ll need to include all the details needed for a lesson plan, plus a few more pieces of information. Annotating your plans to show why you decided on this sequence will clarify that you’ve met the Graduate level of this standard.


What does it look like?

At the Proficient level, teachers are expected to plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.

At the Graduate level, you’re only expected to do the planning. At the Proficient level, you need to be able to implement your plan.

There are a few more differences with this descriptor. You’ll now need to engage students and promote learning. It’s not enough to think that your strategies will work, but they need to actually work for your students.

Lesson sequences and structures are responsive. This means that your plans and sequences may not work, and you’ll need to change them if this is the case. No matter how good a teacher is, students are unpredictable. This isn’t just about behaviour either; students learn at different rates and may find a concept easier or harder than you expect. You may also encounter a misconception that you weren’t expecting, and good teachers will alter their plans to make sure to address it.

See more: The Problem With Teachers Being Content Experts

What evidence can I collect?

Like at the Graduate level, your lesson plan sequence will provide good evidence for this descriptor. To show that you’ve implemented these plans, you could do a few things:

  • Write a reflection on each lesson plan with how the lesson went and what you’d change next time.
  • Include student work to show the impact of your lesson sequence.
  • Include notes from a lesson observation.

Annotations will make sure that your evidence makes sense. Including this documentation is great, but you’ll need annotations to link your work to the descriptor. With this, an assessor will see how you’ve specifically met this standard.

Highly Accomplished

What does it look like?

At the Highly Accomplished level, teachers are expected to work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify learning and teaching programs to create productive learning environments that engage all students.

At this career stage, you’ll need to work with others. You could work with a team teacher, a small group, or an entire teaching team to do this.

The Highly Accomplished level also talks about modifying teaching and learning programs. While we discussed responsive teaching at the Proficient level, this is about modification year-to-year as well. These modifications can be based on reflection on how the unit went, or on ongoing training that you or your team have done.

What evidence can I collect?

You’ll need your learning plans, but you’ll also need evidence that you collaborated. You could do this through annotations, particularly if your colleagues have included their annotations as well. Every person who worked on the plan could outline what was changed and why they decided to change it. This shows collaboration as well as shows how you intentionally improved the learning program.

You’ll also need to include evidence about why you made certain changes. For other career stages, annotations with an explanation may have been enough. You may need a little more at the Highly Accomplished level.

This evidence could come in the form of notes from professional learning. You could also include student work samples or other student data forms. Make sure that your annotations link this learning to the changes you’ve made to your learning programs.

See more: How to Present a Great Professional Learning Workshop


What does it look like?

At the Lead Teacher level, teachers are expected to exhibit exemplary practice and lead colleagues to plan, implement and review the effectiveness of their learning and teaching programs to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills.

The Lead level is a bit more data-driven. A key difference in the descriptor for this career stage is that you’ll need to lead colleagues in reviewing the effectiveness of their learning and teaching programs.

Effectively using student data is essential to quality teaching practice. Leading teachers to do this properly is a core skill for a Lead Teacher. In this context, you’ll need to support teachers to collect and analyse data on how effective their learning programs are. This data could include:

  • Samples of student work.
  • Student grades or engagement data.
  • Student statements on their learning or engagement in the learning program.
  • Lesson observations.

What evidence can I collect?

At the Lead Teacher level, the story is essential. You’ll need lead teachers in collecting data, learning about best practice, acting and reflecting. You’ll then need evidence for every step along the way.

Individual pieces are not important at this career stage if they don’t tie into the story. Because of this, the evidence you collect will depend entirely on your story.

A few pieces of evidence that you could include:

  • Project proposals to make school-wide changes.
  • Formal processes for action research groups.
  • Minutes of meetings or other communication between colleagues.
  • Annotated teaching and learning plans that link to research, data, and input from different people.
  • Student evidence. Provide evidence of where students are at before the change you’ve made and after.

Make sure that you include high-quality evidence. A few pieces of evidence that show how you’re working are better than lots of little pieces that don’t mean too much.

To learn more about the other descriptors in the third standard of the APST, use the following links:

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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