Professional experience provides an important avenue through which preservice teachers develop and demonstrate the professional standards. Professional experience involves actively engaging in all aspects of the teaching process, in different school settings, and with a range of learners.
Professional experience includes supervised professional experience (‘practicum’ or ‘practice teaching’), wider field experience and internships.
For national accreditation, the supervised professional experience component of each program must include no fewer than 80 days of well-structured, supervised and assessed teaching practice in schools in undergraduate or double degree teacher education programs and no fewer than 60 days in graduate entry programs.
Supervised teaching practice must be undertaken mostly in a recognised Australian school setting over a substantial and sustained period and be relevant to an authentic classroom environment. Teachers supervising professional experiences must be suitably qualified and registered. Both AITSL and the QCT suggest that for this important role, supervising teachers are experienced and have preparation for the supervisory role including making judgements about whether students have achieved the Graduate Teacher Standards.
The QCT has developed a printable single page overview of the Australian Professional Standards for Graduate teachers.
Internships offer a valuable transition to becoming a teacher and are components of many initial teacher education programs. An internship is not considered part of the required amount of supervised professional experience.
Wider field experiences allow preservice teachers to explore resources and support services available and to work with relevant professions and welfare agencies. This is not a compulsory component of initial teacher education programs but may be valuable to understand the broader educational context.