3.3 Use Teaching Strategies

(Last Updated On: November 23, 2023)

What does this descriptor look like at different levels?

Use teaching strategies is the third descriptor of the third standard of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

This focus area is all about what you do in the classroom. It covers both what strategies you know, whether you can apply them to the correct context, and whether you can actually implement them or not.

As you move through the different career stages of this focus area, you’ll notice that you’ll be expected to get increasingly flexible. You will build a broader repertoire of strategies and know when to use each of them.

See more: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers Terminology Explained

You’ll also notice that these strategies are about teaching, not behaviour. This focus area specifies strategies that directly impact learning, not manage behaviour. Behaviour management is important, but what you do when you’ve got a student’s attention is covered in this focus area.

See more: Male and Female Teachers NEED to Use Different Teaching Strategies


What does it look like?

At the Graduate level, teachers are expected to include a range of teaching strategies.

The “include” part of this descriptor is a little vague.

You need to be working at the Graduate level before you become a qualified teacher. The common interpretation of this descriptor is that this means include strategies in a teaching and learning program.

What this looks like can vary. You can include teaching strategies in your planning documents, such as unit or lesson plans. In a university, you will be expected to do a teaching placement. This is the prime opportunity to show what teaching strategies you can include!

Remember that this standard doesn’t say that you need to include a lot of strategies or even do them well. You need to know a few teaching strategies and how to use them.

What evidence can I collect?

Your lesson plans are a good piece of evidence for this descriptor. Your lesson plans that you do for uni should include the teaching strategies that you’re going to use and how you’re going to use them.

Your mentor teacher’s notes are also a great piece of evidence. They should write down what they observe in your lessons, giving you a record of what you’ve done. When you only need to show that you can include teaching strategies, this is more than enough to reach the Graduate career stage.

See more: 10 Tips for Making the Most of your Teaching Placement


What does it look like?

At the Proficient level, teachers are expected to select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

To become a Proficient teacher, you need to know more than just a range of teaching strategies. At this career stage, you need to know a number of strategies well enough to be able to use them well in different contexts.

Not every teaching strategy works for every student. To be an effective teacher, you need to know that the way you like to teach (or the way you were taught yourself) doesn’t necessarily work every time.

Looking at your students is the best way to tell if your teaching strategies are working. Are they developing knowledge? Developing skills? Problem-solving and thinking critically? These are all things that your teaching strategies should help them do.

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

What evidence can I collect?

You’ll need three different types of evidence for this descriptor:

  • What teaching strategies did you use?
  • How did you know if it was working?
  • How did you adjust your teaching strategies?

The best way to organise your evidence for any of these descriptors is by telling a story. Your story for this descriptor needs to show that you pay attention to your students and adapt your teaching to better meet their needs. You can do this by hitting the three points above.

As for what your evidence actually looks like, it could range from:

  • Lesson observations detailing what strategies you used.
  • Lesson or unit plans that outline teaching strategies with your reflections on how they went.
  • Samples of student work showing their learning.
  • Student grades, literacy and numeracy data, or any other data that shows learning.

Highly Accomplished

What does it look like?

At the Highly Accomplished level, teachers are expected to support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.

As with most of the Highly Accomplished descriptors, here you’ll need to be supporting your colleagues. You can do this in a range of ways:

  • Working one-on-one with a team teacher or colleague who is teaching the same class for a different subject.
  • Working in a small action-research group.
  • Working with another teacher who you are mentoring.
  • Working with a curriculum area team.

What evidence can I collect?

No matter who you’re working with, you need to show that you’re supporting them. This doesn’t necessarily mean close collaboration, but you’ll need evidence that their students have improved, not just yours.

What the evidence could look like will be similar to the Proficient level of this focus area. You will need to have evidence of your colleagues’ teaching and their data as well, though.

See more: Closer and Quieter: How to Manage Attention-Seeking Behaviour


What does it look like?

At the Lead Teacher level, teachers are expected to work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem-solving and critical and creative thinking.

While the previous career stages ask you to select the right strategies for the job, a Lead Teacher will support their colleagues to broaden the range of strategies that they are choosing from.

You will need to do research into effective strategies. You’ll need to be able to figure out how to apply them in your school context. You’ll need to train teachers to use these strategies and support them in their classrooms.

See more: How To Manage Attention-Seeking Students

What evidence can I collect?

You’ll need evidence of the process that you’ve gone through in improving teaching practice across your school. You’ll need to show that you researched strategies and learnt about them yourself. This could be notes, research papers, books or professional learning.

You’ll need evidence that you supported your colleagues. If you presented slides during a meeting or workshop, this can be fantastic evidence.

You’ll also need to show that teachers were using them effectively. Lesson observations are fantastic, but you’ll also need some student data to make sure that you can prove that you’ve had an impact.

To tie all of these individual pieces of evidence together, you are, of course, going to need to annotate. Your annotations should tie everything together to tell the story of your practice and the impact that you are having.

See more: How to Present a Great Professional Learning Workshop

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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