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Gain first-hand experience of the teaching profession

COVID-19 Update

NOTE: UniSA has been proactive in its response to COVID-19 and has had protocols in place since January 2020 for students attending placements. This information is being updated regularly in line with federal and state advice. For the most up-to-date information on how UniSA is responding to COVID-19, please access our website here.

Professional experience placement courses differ from most other courses as they include course work on campus as well as learning time at educational sites through placements. Depending on your program, placements can take place in a variety of care and school settings, including in rural and remote locations. Placements enable first-hand experience of the teaching profession and help develop your understanding of teaching contexts and of different teaching roles.

Placements help you put your university course work into practice and integrate learnings from your placement and supervising teacher/s back into your course work. Over time you will become more involved with all aspects of teaching, including planning, teaching and evaluating learning experiences, preparing learning materials, addressing student needs, maintaining appropriate behaviour and engaging with extracurricular activities. During placements you will also experience a professional community of teachers, and will undertake yard duty, attend staff meetings and participate in professional development where appropriate.

You must be adequately prepared for placements. Understanding all aspects of your placement gives you the maximum benefit from this valuable learning experience and ensures that all places in host school communities are filled with appropriately prepared preservice teachers (PSTs).

At the heart of the teaching profession in South Australia is a commitment to the education, learning, protection and wellbeing of learners that is aligned with the Teacher’s Registration Board of South Australia code of ethics. During your placement you are representing UniSA as a preservice teacher and as a visitor to the site, and it is expected that you will behave professionally at all times and in accordance with the Australian Professional Standards of Teachers. While engaged in formal professional experience placements or work integrated learning experiences, PSTs are required to embody integrity, respect and responsibility aligned with the Teachers Registration Board code of ethics and the UniSA Code of Conduct for Students.

Your responsibilities

As a Preservice Teacher (PST) entering the teaching profession, it is your responsibility to monitor and provide evidence that you meet eligibility requirements for professional experience placements. You are responsible for meeting several critical deadlines associated with placement prerequisite requirements to be eligible for placements. View the specific requirements for your course below: 

It is your responsibility to manage all prerequisite requirements by uploading the relevant evidence and documentation to InPlace (login required). The due dates for completing the requirements for each placement will also be communicated by the Professional Experience Office (PEO). Professional experience placements cannot be released until all prerequisites have been met. There are six prerequisite areas. Your personal requirements may vary depending on whether you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate course, and which year of your program you are currently in (e.g. a name badge must be obtained in first year, but can then be reused in later years). Failure to meet these requirements by the due dates as advised by the Professional Experience Office could result in you:

  • being ineligible to undertake placement
  • being required to withdraw from the course.

Please note: if course withdrawal takes place after the census date, a fail grade may be recorded for professional experience and this may result in an extension to the duration of your program.

Program details 

  • unisa-student Placement options minus-thin plus-thin

    Having practical classroom experience is important, that’s why we get you to start placements in your first year of study. You will complete up to 105 days of professional experience during your degree in a range of early childhood, primary and secondary settings, with placements offered in both metropolitan and rural schools. You can also choose to complete an education-based internship in your final year or gain an international perspective by participating in an overseas placement.

    Metropolitan placements

    Gain first-hand experience of the teaching profession through a local placement.

    Regional placements

    We are very excited to introduce a new Regional Opportunity Program in 2020.

    Interstate placements

    There is a high demand for interstate placements, so Preservice Teachers need to contact the PEO to advise their preferences as early as possible.

    International placements

    Your studies can be enhanced through international placements and study tours to various international destinations.

    Internship program

    All final year Preservice Teachers (PSTs) at the UniSA are offered an internship opportunity that leads to their final professional experience placement.

    TESOL professional experience

    In the TESOL Professional Experience, PSTs are connected with experienced qualified teachers, recently qualified teachers, and novice PSTs.

    Placement preferences

    • Site exclusions minus-thick plus-thick

      The University values diversity of professional experiences to support the development of the Preservice Teachers. It is important that you experience a range of school contexts throughout your degree to give you a broad understanding of working with children and young people from diverse communities.

      To ensure diverse experiences, you are unable to attend the same site for more than one placement or internship. You are also unable to undertake a placement at a site where a close friend or family member works, where you have worked previously or currently work/volunteer, or anywhere you have attended as a student in the past five years.

    • Public or private transport minus-thick plus-thick

      We aim to match you to a placement that is within 90 minutes travel to/from your home. Please use your preferences to advise whether you will be travelling via public transport or a private vehicle. We use public transport routes and road travel maps to calculate travel distances.

      As per the Professional Experience Placement Agreement form, you should expect to travel up to 90 minutes from your home to any Professional Experience placement. If you are unable to fulfil this requirement, you can un-enrol from the relevant course and re-enrol when you are able to do so.

    • Metro, regional or interstate placement minus-thick plus-thick

      You need to let the PEO know where you are wanting to complete your placement. If you would prefer a placement up to 90 minutes from your Adelaide residence, please select metro. If you would prefer a regional or interstate placement please mark your preference accordingly. 

    • Residential address while on placement minus-thick plus-thick

      We use the address you have registered on InPlace to inform where you will be residing while on placement (except if you have advised a preference for regional or interstate).

      Please check that the address you’ll be residing in during your time on placement is lodged correctly on InPlace. If this address is incorrect, please update your address details via student information on Learnonline. Please note this change takes 24 hours to update in InPlace.

    • Speciality learning areas, major and minor for secondary minus-thick plus-thick

      Please advise us of any specialty learning areas, majors and minors using the preferences in InPlace.

  • future-student Your commitment minus-thin plus-thin

    Placement hours

    Students are expected to attend all compulsory Professional Experience days from 8.15am—4.30pm (or as required by your site), including blocks which require a continuous, full-time, on-going commitment. Preservice teachers may also be required to attend additional events or activities as requested by sites and schools.

    Placement experience is important and requires a full-time commitment from you (there are no part-time placement options available). You are expected to keep your university schedule clear for placement dates, and to make adequate space with your personal/work schedule so that you can fully commit to your placement. Our school partners need preservice teachers who have the time and energy to commit fully to placement and deserve this commitment from you.

    Placement days

    Undergraduate PSTs commit to undertake an experience spread over four placements (please note: early childhood PSTs will undertake an additional 20 days in a birth—3 setting, bringing their total days of placement to 105).

    Postgraduate PSTs commit to undertake 60 days of professional experience spread across two placements (please note: early childhood PSTs will undertake an additional 20 days in a birth–3 setting, bringing their total days of placement to 80).

    In the lead up to each Professional Experience Placement there are a number of prerequisites and requirements that you need to satisfy before a placement site will be allocated to you. These requirements are detailed in the requirement section. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet the prerequisite requirements by the deadline dates, as advised by the PEO team.

    2021 Professional Experience Dates

    Commitments by course

    • Bachelor of Education (MBET) Early Childhood (ECE), Primary, Primary/Middle Bachelor of Education (LBSY) Secondary Design and Technology and Secondary Food and Textiles Technologies minus-thick plus-thick

      Code:  EDUC 1081
      Course name: Professional Experience 1 (Primary only), (ProfEx1)
      Focus: Introduction to Educators Practices, only Promary R-7
      Days in sites: 10 days – whole school experience
      Placement start day: 6 consecutive Thursdays 30/04/2020 - 04/06/2020, followed by a 4-day block held from 09/06/2020 - 12/06/2020
      Placement end date: 12/06/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 1044
      Course name: Professional Experience: Intro to Educators’ Practices (B-3),(Early Childhood only), (ProfEx1 B-3)
      Focus: Birth to three years, only infant and toddler
      Days in sites: 20 days (ECE)
      Placement start date: 7 consecutive Thursdays 30/04/2020 - 11/06/2020, followed by a 13-day block held from 17/06/2020 - 03/07/2020
      Placement end date: 03/07/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 2062
      Course name: Professional Experience 2 (ProfEx 2), Note: ProfEx 2 can take paired placements
      Focus: Learning by design, (Note: secondary only 8-10)
      Days in sites: 20 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 2 negotiated lead in days held betweend 21/09/2020 - 15/10/2020
      Placement start date: 19/10/2020
      Placement end date: 11/11/2020
      School term: 4

      Code: EDUC 3061
      Course name: Professional Experience 3 (Primary only), (ProfEx 3)
      Focus: Informed planning
      Days in sites: 25 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 2 negotiated lead in days held between 27/04/2020 - 15/05/2020
      Placement start date: 18/05/2020
      Placement end date: 18/06/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 4206
      Course name: Professional Experience 4 (ProfEx 4), Note: ProfEx 4 can have internships
      Focus: Teacher as Inquirer
      Days in sites: 25 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 2 lead in days Wednesday 29/07/2020 & Wednesday 05/08/2020
      Placement start date: 24/08/2020
      Placement end date: 23/09/2020
      School term: 3

    • Master of Teaching (MMET) Early Childhood (For the cohort who started in 2019 only) minus-thick plus-thick

      Code: EDUC 5255
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 1 (Junior Primary A), (JPA)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Junior Primary
      Days in sites: 15 days Junior Primary
      Negotiated lead in days: 5 negotiated lead in days held between 10/03/2020 - 09/04/2020
      Placement start date: 27/04/2020
      Placement end date: 08/05/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 5256
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 3 (Junior Primary B), (JPB)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Junior Primary
      Days in sites: 20 days Junior Primary
      Placement start date: Thursday 18/06/2020, Friday 26/06/2020, Thursday 02/07/2020 and Friday 03/07/2020, follwed by a continuous block commencing 20/07/2020
      Placement end date: 07/08/2020
      School term: 3

      Code: EDUC 5257
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 4 (Preschool), (ECP PRESCHOOL)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Preschool
      Days in sites: 25 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 6 negotiated lead in days held between 31/08/2020 - 25/09/2020
      Placement start date: 12/10/2020
      Placement end date: 31/08/2020
      School term: 4

      Code: EDUC 5186
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 2 (Infants and Toddlers), (ECP INFTODD)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Childcare, infant and toddler
      Days in sites: 20 days Childcare
      Negotiated lead in days: 6 negotiated lead in days held between 18/05/2020 - 05/06/2020
      Placement start date: 09/06/2020
      Placement end date: 26/06/2020
      School term: 2

    • Master of Teaching (MMET) Early Childhood (2020 onwards) minus-thick plus-thick

      Code: EDUC 5287
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 1 (Junior Primary), (ECP JP)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Junior Primary
      Days in sites: 35 days Junior Primary
      Negotiated lead in days: 10 negotiated lead in days held between 27/07/2020 - 18/09/2020
      Placement start date: 12/10/2020
      Placement end date: 13/11/2020
      School term: 4

      Code: EDUC 5186
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 2 (Infants and Toddlers), (ECP INFTODD)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Childcare
      Days in sites: 20 days Childcare
      Negotiated lead in days: 6 negotiated lead in days held between 18/05/2020 - 05/06/2020
      Placement start date: 09/06/2020
      Placement end date: 26/06/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 5257
      Course name: Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 3 (Preschool), (ECP PRESCHOOL)
      Focus: Early Childhood Educators Practices in Preschool
      Days in sites: 25 days Preschool
      Negotiated lead in days: 6 negotiated lead in days held between 31/08/2020 - 25/09/2020
      Placement start date: 12/10/2020
      Placement end date: 31/08/2020
      School term: 4

    • Master of Teaching (MMET) Primary, Primary/Middle, Secondary minus-thick plus-thick

      Code: EDUC 5271
      Course name: Reflexive Practice and Professional Experience 1 (RP1), Note: RP1 can take paired placements
      Focus: Introduction to Educators Practices, Junior Primary or Secondary
      Days in sites: 27 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 2 negotiated lead in days held between 15/06/2020 - 03/07/2020
      Placement start date: 20/07/2020
      Placement end date: 31/08/2020
      School term: 3

      Code: EDUC 5272
      Course name: Reflective Practice & Professional Experience 2 (RP2 SP2), Note: RP2 can have internships
      Focus: Primary (3 - 7) and Secondary
      Days in sites: 33 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 3 negotiated lead in days held between 23/03/2020 - 09/04/2020
      Placement star date: 27/04/2020
      Placement end date: 05/06/2020
      School term: 2

      Code: EDUC 5272
      Course name: Reflective Practice & Professional Experience 2 (RP2 SP2), Note: RP2 can have internships
      Focus: Primary (3 - 7) and Secondary
      Days in sites: 33 days
      Negotiated lead in days: 3 negotiated lead in days held between 22/06/2020 - 31/07/2020
      Placement star date: 03/08/2020
      Placement end date: 11/09/2020
      School term: 3

    • Honours programs minus-thick plus-thick

      Code: EDUC 3081 
      Course name: Professional Experience 3 (Pre-school) (Early Childhood only)
      Focus: Informed planning
      Days in sites: 25 days

      Code: EDUC 4228
      Course name: Professional Experience 4 (Honours)
      Focus: Educator as inquirer
      Days in sites: 40 days

       

  • classroom-teacher-present Managing your placements minus-thin plus-thin

    All placements are managed and allocated through our online tool, InPlace (login required). PSTs can access InPlace to determine the requirements of placement, to view and submit preferences, to review their placement allocation and to determine venue requirements. All relevant placement documentation is managed through InPlace and PSTs can use this tool to check their submitted documentation has been confirmed and verified.

    Placements undertaken by PSTs can be situated in metropolitan areas, greater Adelaide, and regional South Australia, with some opportunity for approved interstate or international placements. We strongly encourage PSTs to consider a placement in regional South Australia.

    All placements and negotiation processes are managed by the PEO team. This ensures PSTs suitability, compliance with placement and initial teacher education program requirements and supports quality system processes. To maintain this quality system, PSTs do not source their own placement.

    Contact the PEO team

Placement requirements

  • Assessment and reporting minus-thick plus-thick

    Formative assessment and reporting occurs throughout placements and includes interim and final reports. Supervising Teachers provide regular verbal and written feedback to PSTs based on the observations of and discussions about their work.

    All performance evaluations are guided by the ‘graduate level criteria’ identified in the final report of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

    Interim report 

    The interim report is a formative document and therefore becomes part of the PST’s portfolio. Supervising Teacher/s will discuss and complete an interim report with the PST at the mid-point of every block placement. The interim report should clearly identify the PST’s strengths and any areas needing further development. Interim reports can be used as an opportunity for goal setting for the remainder of the placement.

    Learn more about the interim report process or view an interim report.

    Professional Standards Preservice Teacher Development Rubric 

    The Professional Standards for Preservice Teacher Development Rubric is a guide to assist Supervising Teachers determine the performance level of a PST. The four levels are as follows:

    • Level 1 novice
    • Level 2 emerging
    • Level 3 graduate
    • Level 4 outstanding graduate.

    The rubric also provides indicators for writing summative comments on the final reports. The key indicators are consistent with the categories in the final Professional Experience report, and the terminology used reflects the Australian Professional Standards for teachers (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 2011) for entry into the Teachers Registration Board (TRB) register and the TRB Code of Ethics (Teachers Registration Board of South Australia, 2012).

    For more information view the Teacher Development Rubric.

    Action plan

    If there are ever any concerns about a PST’s performance during placement, an action plan can be created to support the PST to identify clear goals, actions and evidence to achieve in order to get back on track.

    The Supervising Teacher and/or Site Coordinator must contact the University Supervisor and/or the PEO to raise these concerns. The University Supervisor will complete an action plan to support the PST to get back on track. The University Supervisor will forward the action plan to the PEO and will notify the Course Coordinators to provide additional support to the PST and supervising teacher.

    All Action Plans must be sent to the PEO. On receipt of the agreement the Course Coordinator will be contacted and they will manage the ongoing process. 

    For more information you can view an Interim Report Action Plan.

    Final report

    The final report provides evidence of achievement during each placement. In the earlier stages of the PST’s program, final reports are designed to be developmental. They can also be used for employment purposes.

    The final report should indicate the level of development achieved by the PST and identify important areas of growth that have occurred during the placement. It is important that comments include rich descriptions and examples that highlight key aspects of the PST’s performance. For employment purposes, a final report should indicate the level of achievement against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

    An overall rating of satisfactory or unsatisfactory achievement is made by the Principal/Site Coordinator and supervising teacher/s. A link to the report is sent to the Site Coordinator and should be returned by the end of the week following completion of placement. PSTs will then receive a link to enter their comments. This should be returned within one week of receiving the link to the report. 

    Please note: all components on the report need to be satisfactory for the placement to be deemed a non-graded pass.

    Working with multiple supervising teachers

    If a PST is working with multiple supervising teachers it may be necessary for each supervising teacher to write a separate report. This is often the case in secondary settings where the PST is working in two or more learning areas.

    In non-secondary settings, where the PST works with multiple supervising teachers in a team-teaching situation, it may be more appropriate to complete one report. Supervising teachers in a team-teaching situation can both write comments in the given space, or can use a collaborative approach to capture pertinent information, with one person taking responsibility for writing and submitting the report.

    Assessment Reports

    Report 1: Assessment report on Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 2062 Professional Experience 2 (Profex 2)
    EDUC 3061 Professional Experience 3 (Profex 3)
    EDUC 4206 Professional Experience 4 (Profex 4)
    EDUC 5255 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection (ECP1 2019 cohort only)

    EDUC 5287 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 1 (ECP1)
    EDUC 5256 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection (ECP3 2019 cohort only)
    EDUC 5257 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 3 (ECP3)
    EDUC 5271 Reflexive Practice and Professional Experience 1 (RP1)
    EDUC 5272 Reflexive Practice and Professional Experience 2 (RP2)

    Report 2: Placement report Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 1081 Professional Experience 1 (Profex 1)

    Report 3: Placement assessment report Preservice Teacher
    EDUC 1044 Professional Experience Birth-3 (Profex 1 B-3)
    EDUC 5186 Early Childhood Professional Experience and Reflection 2 (ECP2)

  • Assessing your Fitness to Practice minus-thick plus-thick

    The Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements provide a framework for understanding what is required of PSTs. Using this framework, PSTs can demonstrate their professional responsibility and capability to fulfil the duties of the teaching profession including their duty of care for young people and themselves. The Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements underpin successful performance and achievement within initial teacher education programs. The framework focuses on Professional Experience Placements and other practice-based learning/work integrated learning experiences.

    For PSTs, it is crucial that you understand your personal responsibility in managing your fitness to practice, and your continued development and self-monitoring your capabilities against these requirements. You are not expected to begin the program demonstrating practice at a fully qualified professional level, but you will be expected to demonstrate development. Starting with your strongest capacity at the beginning of your program, you will demonstrate your progress through skills development throughout the duration of the program.

    Not all Inherent Requirements are assessed formally in courses, however the initial teacher education programs provide scaffolded opportunities to develop these areas through assessment and reflection opportunities. Examples of some of your opportunities for development can be found in the relevant program tables in the Inherent Requirements Developmental Opportunities (some courses will also address elements of these requirements).

    It is your professional responsibility as a PST to demonstrate meeting these inherent requirements to be eligible to proceed to professional experience placements and work integrated learning opportunities. If you are not meeting these requirements for any reason, there are processes that must be followed. These processes are outlined in the Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements document.

    Managing concerns about a PST’s Fitness to Practice

    The following procedure must be initiated when concerns are raised regarding a PST’s ability to meet each of the eight domains of Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements. Please note: concerns can be raised by peers, tutors, Course Coordinators, supervising teachers or others in contact with the PST who have concerns about their fitness.

    It is essential that any concerns of this nature are properly investigated. PSTs who are not fit to practice during a Professional Experience Placement may pose a risk to the public, placement host staff and children and young people, UniSA staff and other PSTs if they are permitted to participate in Professional Experience Placements. The University shall carry out the procedure described below in a manner that is as timely and discrete as reasonably practicable and provides procedural fairness for PSTs who are the subject of investigations. All information collected by UniSA as part of the procedure described below shall be retained and dealt with in a manner that is consistent with the confidentiality of PSTs’ personal information.

    The following circumstances are examples which could raise doubts about a PST’s ability to meet one or more of the Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements requirements and potentially cause a PST to be unfit to practice during a Professional Experience Placement.

    These examples are illustrative only and are not intended to be exhaustive:

    1. Evidence of chronic drug or alcohol misuse.
    2. Severe mental illness.
    3. Acting in a violent or aggressive manner.
    4. Intimidation of children/students, placement host staff, UniSA staff and fellow PSTs/students.
    5. Fraudulent or dishonest behaviour.
    6. Conviction of a criminal offence punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more.

    Where concerns are raised, they will be first addressed by the member of staff with whom the concern is raised. In each instance, that member of staff will determine whether the concern has merit and warrants escalation and will inform a superior staff member in consultation whilst following the appropriate procedure, as determined by the circumstances in which the concern is raised. For example, the concern may be raised during a Professional Experience placement, in response to an unsuccessful placement, or outside of a structured Professional Experience placement (see procedural flowchart of concern management in the Fitness to Practice documentation). Each of these instances may have differences in the management approach, but in the event that the concern is elevated, the matter will be managed according to the procedural requirements set out in section 4.3 Suitability for practice-based learning activities of the Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual wherein, if it is determined at each stage that a concern merits further investigation, the PST will be notified of the requirements by UniSA that may, following a meeting with the PST and Program Director, refer the matter to the Suitability Advisory Panel.

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements Guidelines and Procedures

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Concerns Process

    Fitness to Practice in Professional Experience Placements Inherent Requirements developmental opportunities

  • Teaching Performance Assessment minus-thick plus-thick

    The Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) is a national requirement and designed to assess the practical skills and knowledge of PSTs in the final year of their Initial Teacher Education (ITE) program against the Graduate Teacher Standards. The TPA connects the PSTs’ theoretical understandings with their classroom practice and is a requirement for program completion and graduation.

    The TPA at the University of South Australia is designed to ensure that our graduates demonstrate the requirements for the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) at graduate level (AITSL, 2010). To achieve this goal, PSTs must evidence how their teaching performance had a considerable and positive impact on the learning of children/young people.

    The TPA assesses the PSTs’ capacity to empirically demonstrate how their practice meets the required standards which results in learning improvements. The UniSA TPA has been informed by the eight core principles of our ITE programs: social justice, professional knowledge, professional competence, professional learning, critical reflection, engagement, sustainability and commitment, and current research on initial teacher education. The UniSA TPA acknowledges the complexities and unique contexts of early childhood, primary and secondary teacher education, and is inclusive of them.

    The UniSA TPA meets the program standard 1.2. To graduate, in their final semester of study UniSA PSTs must successfully complete a TPA that has been designed to meet each of the requirements of the standard:

    1. Be a reflection of classroom teaching practice including the elements of planning, teaching, assessing and reflecting.
    2. Be a valid assessment that clearly assesses the content of the Graduate Teacher Standards.
    3. Have clear, measurable and justifiable achievement criteria that discriminate between meeting and not meeting the Graduate Teacher Standard.
    4. Be a reliable assessment in which there are appropriate processes in place for ensuring consistent scoring between assessors.
    5. Include moderation processes that support consistent decision-making against the achievement criteria (AITSL, 2015).

    As a summative assessment, the UniSA TPA is placed in the final semester of the program, however, in its construction PSTs build the underlying knowledge and skills necessary to successfully complete the TPA throughout their ITE program.

    The UniSA TPA has three main parts with each component requiring successful achievement:

    Part A: Inquiry into own practice written report 

    PSTs undertake an inquiry into their own practice during their final placement. PSTs identify a topic or issue of significance they wish to further explore in depth to demonstrate their understanding of children’s/young people’s learning and professional practice. The inquiry project is an important part of the UniSA TPA model as the practitioner inquiry process builds research capacities that the PSTs can employ as teachers. The experience of undertaking a practitioner inquiry cultivates a critical approach to their practice as teachers, while also demanding scholarly expertise to write the inquiry report. This report contributes to PSTs meeting graduate level on standard 3.6: evaluate and improve teaching programs regarding knowing strategies to evaluate teaching performance  and programs to improve children/young people’s learning, and standard 5.4: interpret student data regarding demonstrating the capacity to interpret assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

    Part B: The digital portfolio 

    PSTs learn how to collect evidence about their professional knowledge, practice and engagement from the commencement of their program. In the final year PSTs annotate evidence against each of the seven Professional Standards for Graduate Teachers and their associated 37 focus areas. The digital portfolio is moderated and assessed within the final professional experience course. Annotations include details about how the noted evidence demonstrates achievement in a specific focus area, critique of own performance, and citations from scholarly literature. Evidence in the PSTs’ digital portfolio must show that they have reached graduate level on each standard, as assessed by highly qualified and trained academics.

    Part C: Professional experience report 

    PST teaching performance is evidenced in the final year professional experience report. Performance will be assessed by the supervising teacher and moderated by the university supervisor against the graduate teacher standards across professional knowledge, practice and engagement. To moderate PST teaching performance, an observation of teaching is undertaken by the university supervisor in the final week of placement and recorded on the UniSA Professional Experience Moderation Statement template. To promote reliability, the supervising teacher and university supervisor conduct a moderation process regarding the PST performance against the graduate teaching standards.

  • Planning, evaluation and reflection minus-thick plus-thick

    While on placement, PSTs must show evidence of their capabilities. This includes planning, teaching, evaluating and reflecting, as well as interacting within the school community and demonstrating a high level of teacher professionalism. 

    Your capabilities as a PST can be assessed in accordance with the following guidelines and using standards that are appropriate to your current Professional Experience course:

    Professional standards

    • Standard 1: Know students and how they learn.
    • Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it.
    • Standard 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning.
    • Standard 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments.
    • Standard 5: Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning.
    • Standard 6: Engage in professional learning.
    • Standard 7: Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community.

    View more information on the Professional Standards.

    Please note: PSTs in the Early Childhood Education strand must also meet the standards set by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)

    We acknowledge that successful professional experiences are built on partnerships both external to the University and internal to the University. All stakeholders play an integral role, including supervising teachers, site coordinators, University staff (both academic and administrative) and PSTs. Everyone involved in Professional Experience should expect it to be stimulating, challenging and ultimately rewarding.  

    Planning

    You must complete written plans for all your learning and teaching experiences. These plans must be shared with the supervising teacher in a timely manner before undertaking any teaching. The preferred format (e.g. hard or electronic copies) should be negotiated with the supervising teacher ahead of time. Written plans include:

    • detailed individual lesson plans
    • daily planners
    • weekly timetable
    • unit planners.

    Your planning capabilities will reflect the stage you are at in your program.

    All planning should consider the site’s context, curriculum documents (e.g. Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2011)), Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Council of Australian Governments [DEEWR and CAG], 2009) and any other systemic documentation (e.g. Teaching for Effective Learning Framework [TfEL] (Department of Education and Children’s Services, 2010)).

    Evaluation

    Evaluations are written for each teaching experience. These will initially focus on individual teaching experiences and will build to evaluations of whole days. Each evaluation should focus on the students’ learning and the PST’s teaching and learning. Useful guiding questions include: 

    • To what extent were intended learning outcomes achieved?
    • What went well?
    • What individual/group/class needs should be noted for attention?
    • What needs programming or follow up due to interruptions, lack of time, students’ interests etc?
    • What should I try to improve in my own teaching and/or management?
    • What do I want to discuss with my supervising teacher and University Supervisor?
    • What needs programming or follow up due to interruptions, lack of time, students’ interests etc?

    Reflection

    It is expected that all PSTs will critically reflect on educational practice by engaging in personal reflection and professional dialogue with colleagues (peers, supervising teachers and other staff). PSTs can use a range of strategies for promoting reflection on their learning and teaching, these include the use of journals (for reflection on their learning) critical friends and peer observation, and debriefing. As a PST you are responsible for implementing strategies for reflection during your placement.

Get in touch

Got questions or need support? Please contact the Professional Experience Office (PEO) by submitting an enquiry below, or calling (08) 8302 6606. Our office hours are 9:00 am–4:00 pm Monday–Friday. 

Contact the PEO