From Grad to Lead how does your impact change from career stage to career stage? - Edufolios

According to the Australian Standards for Teaching, our classroom teaching career can be broken down into four career stages.  As we reflect on our practice, it’s a great idea to understand the difference between the these career stages.  Interestingly, it all comes down to the impact and influence you’re creating.  Each career stage sees that impact stretch further and further into our education community.

Imagine a circle with you at the centre.  Let’s see how far your influence reaches as you progress through those teaching career stages. Let’s work out how to reflect at Graduate, Proficient, Highly Accomplished and Lead status – with your Edufolios of course!

The Focus Areas at Graduate Level 

Grad Career Stage circle - Edufolios

Now, it’s ok for some of your evidence to be at Graduate even when you’re a Lead teacher.  Why? The graduate standards are all about acquiring new knowledge.  Knowledge that you haven’t yet had chance to put into practice. As a result, many of your first reflections about professional learning may start at the graduate stage and then, in subsequent posts, progress to the other career stages as you begin to implement what you’re learning in your classrooms and across your school sites.

The graduate stage is all about you.  What impact are your studies ( or new learning)  having on your understanding of how to teach well and make a positive impact? That’s it.  You might get a chance to put into place one or two ideas but you’re not expected to go much beyond what you know you could apply. The vast majority of the focus areas use the verbs “Demonstrate (broad) knowledge or “Understand the…”  This is focused on the “science” part of your pedagogy (the theories and frameworks you’ve studied) and begun to put into practice.

In fact, in standards 1 and 7 that’s all your expected to do.  No need to put anything into practice there.  There are actually only 11 of the 37 Focus Areas in which you need to show you can apply your knowledge and measure the teaching impact on your students. For more information about what these might be just click the expandable section below.

Standard 2

For standard 2 (Know the Content and How to Teach it) you will notice that you’re asked to write a few unit and lesson plans to show that you know the content and can “Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence“, can  “Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans“. You’re also ask to reflect on how you can “Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand learning opportunities for students

TOP TIP: You might notice that I’m colour coding the verbs of the focus area in red and the what you’re supposed to have done in green.  The blue colour shows the “why” you’ve done what you’ve been asked to. This strategy can be a great way to check your focus as you gather evidence and share what you’ve been doing.  Use the verbs from the focus area in your writing and make sure that you explain how your artefact supports that “what” and “why”.

Standard 3

Whilst you’re working with this planning (to demonstrate you know the content and how to teach it) it stands to reason that you’re also going to need to hit some of the focus areas in standard 3 (Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning).  In this standard, you’re going to need to show that you’ve applied your knowledge to “Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.” This is a great time to talk about lesson outcomes and pupil need. You’ll also need to make sure that your plans “Include a range of teaching strategies”. You might want to talk about why you’ve picked particular strategies (This is where you get to represent the other half of pedagogy, the “art” part) and show that you can “Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies”.  

You’ve probably noticed that there is a fair bit of natural overlap between the second and third standards.  Don’t forget to start with your practice not the standards. You might find you can fit a few more focus areas from other standards in there at the same time! Like standard 4, for example.

Standard 4

In standard four you have two spots to apply your knowledge.  When you’re chosing those teaching stragegies in standard 1 and 2, have a look to see if there’s an opportunity to “Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.” Note, you’re not being asked to talk about the impact of your choices, just to show that you have some ideas that you might use. If you can talk about safety in your classroom, about student well being perhaps, then you’ll be able to demonstrate that you can “Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.” Maybe you saw something on prac you can write up?

Standard 5

Whilst you’re doing all this planning and preparation you’ll obviously be drawing on your ability to “Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.” in standard 5 (Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning). Perhaps you can talk about how you’re going to use technology to help you do this quickly during a lesson? Maybe, in one of your reflections, you can call upon the data you collected from marking their books and talk about how that might influence next lesson?

Standard 6

Finally, and perhaps one of the most important focus areas of all.  Whilst you’re working with your uni colleagues, your tutors and your mentors you need to show that you are able to “Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.” from standard 6 (Engage in professional learning) This is why it’s important to keep the feedback on your assignments, the notes from your mentor meetings (etc.) and to provide evidence you’ve been able to use this advice to move forward.  This focus area is one of my personal favourites because it reminds us that in order to grow we have to make mistakes and get some support.  Your portfolio should be full of evidence of that. Don’t be afraid to show that you’re developing and growing as an educator.

The Focus Areas at Proficient Level 

At proficient (the stage you complete after graduation) you start to work on showing how your impact has moved from just your own awareness squarely onto your students.  The focus at Prof. is to show how you are making  a positive impact on the students you are working with and in a range of contexts.

If you’re relief teaching then you’ll get plenty of opportunities to work in different contexts, the challenge for you is to then get the evidence of any impact you are having. Grab copies of everything that shows the progress those students are making in any aspect of the learning and teaching you’ve been a part of.

Whether you’re contract, permanent or relieving, at Prof. you need to be busy gathering artefacts which show how your students are making progress and how you’re making that happen.  For accreditation, all 37 of the focus areas at this career stage require you to do something with students or your colleagues that shows the impact or growth that has occurred as a direct result. IF you want to delve deeper into this , expand the section below.

The verbs (or things you’re supposed to be doing) at the proficient career stage all move from “understanding” and “demonstrating knowledge” to terms such as “use”, “design”, “implement”, “apply”, “select and use”, “evaluate”and “manage”.  At the proficient level, you are fully entrenched in the business of teaching.  You’re aware that every choice you make will have an impact on student outcomes and your job is to make that a positive impact. There’s more on that here but how does the language in the focus areas change?

The language of the Focus Areas

When we look at the language referring to whom you’re impacting you’ll see a lot more references to your students and your classes.  At Proficient, the scope of influence expands.  We are moving from what you know to how you’re applying that and what the affect has been for your students.

For example, at graduate for standard 1.1 you were being asked to:

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

now, at the proficient career stage, you need to:

Use teaching strategies based on knowledge of students’ physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics to improve student learning.

You can see that two things have changed here.  We’ve moved from “demonstrating knowledge” to actually using it. Perhaps more significantly we’re not just considering “how these may affect learning.” but having to show how our choices have helped to “improve student learning.“.  

This means that your artefacts move from theory into practice.  You’ll need your lesson and unit plans and your assessments to inform your choices. Along with, your records of interactions with students, you’ll also need to start considering impact and where you can see it.  To do that, you’re going to need a ‘control’. A record of where they were at before you started and where they are now you’ve implemented these strategies (the ones based on your understanding of your students). Perhaps you might include work samples from before and after you taught them something using a particular strategy?

What ever you do, make sure you include the language of the focus area in your evidence.

TOP TIP: You might notice that I’m colour coding the verbs of the focus area in red and the what you’re supposed to have done in green.  The blue colour shows the “why” you’ve done what you’ve been asked to. This strategy can be a great way to check your focus as you gather evidence and share what you’ve been doing.  Use the verbs from the focus area in your writing and make sure that you explain how your artefact supports that “what”.

The Focus Areas at Highly Accomplished Level 

At Highly Accomplished, we’re still looking at how your impact on your students is strong, stronger perhaps than it was when you were prof. However, we’re also beginning to see how you’re helping to influence your colleagues (and outside agencies) too.  You might have been mentoring a pre-service teacher or running professional development activities.  Either way, as you explore your role as a highly accomplished teacher you need to focus on gathering evidence of your impact and you need to do it for all 37 focus areas to pass the first stage of accreditation at this career stage.

As before, this might include data samples of your students work before and after you implement something but it will also include evidence that shows how your influence on others has resulted in a direct impact on their teaching and outcomes for their students.  It’s not going to be enough to simply write about what you’ve been doing with colleagues you also want to ask them to show you what they’ve been doing as a result, and how what they’ve learnt from you has helped them to deliver better outcomes for their students.

In fact, 25 of the focus areas specifically mention the impact you’re having on your colleagues. Only 9 of them focus on your impact on students, a further 5 look at both your impact on your students and colleagues together.  There are even two standards which focus on your impact on outside agencies such as pre-service teachers and associations.  More on that in the expandable section below.

Have a look at the table below which should give you an idea for the focus of your evidence gathering in each focus area.

Standard Students Colleagues Students and Colleagues Outside Agencies
1 – Know Students 1.1,1.2, 1.5 1.3, 1.4, 1.6
2 – Know content 2.2 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 2.6
3 – Plan Teaching and Learning 3.1 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7
4 – Supportive Learning and Teaching 4.4 4.3 4.1, 4.2, 4.5
5 – Assess, Feedback, Report 5.2, 5.3 5.4, 5.5 5.1
6 – Professional Learning 6.1, 6.3, 6.4 6.2
7- Engage Professional 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 7.4

The language of the Focus Areas

Let’s look at how the language shifts from Prof to HA too.  Let’s pick Focus Area 6.1.  At prof we are asked to  “Use the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and advice from colleagues to identify and plan professional learning needs.” at this point the why of this focus area is all about you and your practice.  Let’s see what happens when we get to Highly Accomplished.

Analyse the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to plan personal professional development goals, support colleagues to identify and achieve personal development goals and pre-service teachers to improve classroom practice.”

Not only does the verb move to a new taxonomy in Blooms (from apply to analyse) but look at the scope of the impact we’re measuring. In the blue “why” section, we’re still thinking about our own needs but we’re also being asked to assist our colleagues to find theirs. We’re also being asked to look at developing goals  any pre-service teacher we might get to mentor.

Of course, the analytics tools available inside your Edufolios will certainly help with this.  Using the heat map tool with your colleagues will spark some awesome conversation that’s focused specifically on them as a learner. It’s a great way to stay focused and set targets really easily.

The evidence you need to provide here is not only of the impact of your own development but also the impact of your advice. Advice given to colleagues and pre-service teachers needs to be recorded and the impact of that advice measured and shared in your portfolio.

 

TOP TIP: You might notice that I’m colour coding the verbs of the focus area in red and the what you’re supposed to have done in green.  The blue colour shows the “why” you’ve done what you’ve been asked to. This strategy can be a great way to check your focus as you gather evidence and share what you’ve been doing.  Use the verbs from the focus area in your writing and make sure that you explain how your artefact supports that “what”.

The Focus Areas at Lead Teacher Level 

At Lead, we’re still looking at how your impact on your students is the strongest it’s ever been, we’re still exploring how you influence and strengthen the practice of others but now we’re also looking at how your leadership and impact affects everyone at your site.  Just as the name of this career stage suggests, you’re a leader.  The special thing about the AITSL standards and their career stages is that they give you an opportunity to be a leader whilst remaining in your classroom.  You are someone who might co-ordinate areas and aspects of school, you might be a head of year or head of a subject.  Your role allows you to find things at your site that could grow and then make that change happen. All whilst you continue to teach your own classes. Go you!

Often, your evidence might sound like the run down of a whole school project or a strategy plan and  implementation that you lead.  The important thing, however, is that you have measured points in your plan that allow you to show the impact that the changes, support or advice you gave has had.  The word “lead” will appear in fourteen of the 37 focus areas in this career stage.  Interestingly, this word does not appear in standard 7 where you are mostly expected to facilitate connections between colleagues and parents. There’s more on the language of the focus areas at Lead career stage in the expandable box below.

Have a look at the table below which should give you an idea for the focus of your evidence gathering. The headings will give you an idea of the types of things you need to be doing, measuring and reflecting upon at this career stage.

Standard Lead (colleagues or processes) Demonstrate exemplary practice and use that to influence others Initiate, plan, develop and implement an idea Evaluate, review, co-ordinate, modify and expand on something already in place
1 – Know Students 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 1.4, 1.6 1.3
2 – Know content 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6 2.1, 2.2 2.5
3 – Plan Teaching and Learning 3.3,3.5 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5 3.7 3.3, 3.6
4 – Supportive Learning and Teaching 4.1, 4.3 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 4.4, 4.5
5 – Assess, Feedback, Report 5.3 5.2 5.2 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5
6 – Professional Learning 6.1, 6.4 6.1, 6.2, 6.3,
7- Engage Professional 7.1, 7.4 7.2, 7.3

The language of the Focus Areas

Let’s look at how the language shifts from HA to Lead too.  Let’s pick Focus Area 1.1. at highly accomplished, this was one of the places you could talk about your own practice.  “Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.” Now we’re looking at:

Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

You can see straight away that the focus of the verb (in red) has changed.  The terms “lead colleagues” or” processes” appear in 25 of the focus areas.  It’s very popular at this career stage! We’re looking for evidence of how we’ve lead a colleague to develop and select teaching strategies (or pedagogies) AND how that work has helped to make things better for student outcomes.

This focus area may well sit with others inside a project plan where you’re developing something new or indeed reviewing and improving something already in place. If so, you’ll need to remember to gather evidence of where things were at before you did anything, where they moved to as you started to make changes and what the overall impact was once you’d completed your project.  That’s why it pays to be proactive with your reflection.  If you write and reflect regularly on what you’re doing, as you’re doing it, you’re less likely to miss things and more likely to see further opportunities for growth.

TOP TIP: You might notice that I’m colour coding the verbs of the focus area in red and the what you’re supposed to have done in green.  The blue colour shows the “why” you’ve done what you’ve been asked to. This strategy can be a great way to check your focus as you gather evidence and share what you’ve been doing.  Use the verbs from the focus area in your writing and make sure that you explain how your artefact supports that “what”.  More on that in this article.

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