Professional experiences – teacher education

Professional experience placements are acknowledged by practitioners and researchers as an important part of initial teacher education. Opportunities to observe accomplished teachers across a range of teaching related work and well-supported experiences for preservice teachers to engage in the full spectrum of teachers’ work are considered essential features of a quality professional-experience placement program.

Placements are commonly linked to University units of study and occur in blocks across a diverse range of schooling sites. They are frequently augmented by additional dispersed day observation programs at the beginning, and more independent teaching experiences toward the end of each degree program. For primary and secondary preservice teacher education, the professional experience programs organised by The University of Sydney's Sydney School of Education and Social Work (SSESW) are aligned with professional teaching standards for graduate teachers described in a framework of national standards. For early-childhood preservice teacher education, professional experience aligns with The Early Years Learning Framework. SSESW professional experience programs are consistent with the NESA Professional Experience Framework.

The professional support of supervising teachers as the in-school educators of our preservice teachers is crucial to the quality of their professional learning. University tertiary mentors are able to offer another dimension to this learning and are significant in facilitating a bridge between on- and off-campus learning experiences. The University offers free, accredited professional learning for our school-based partners and tertiary mentors to support them in their roles. Free online professional learning support for teachers involved in the supervision of preservice teachers is also provided by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to assist in the understanding of how to apply the national standards at the graduate-teacher level.

Detailed information about the specific professional-experience programs relevant to a particular degree can be found under the menu items listed on the left of this page. Additionally, handbooks for various programs are available on this website.