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Designing Teaching and Learning


Assignment 1

Chrestin Meina


Part 1

Teacher Professionalism

One of the fundamental factors for guiding teachers in their profession, on a daily basis, are
the The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) (AITSL, 2014). They are a
public statement by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
regarding the standards of what makes a high quality teacher (AITSL, 2014). The standards
set out what teachers' work entails, as well as stating that effective teaching of a high quality
will improve educational outcomes for students. There are 7 standards which set out what is
expected of teachers regarding their professional knowledge, practice and engagement across
the career stages (AITSL, 2014). These standards are of vital importance to teachers as they
make clear what teachers should know and be able to do across the four professional career
stages. For teachers this means that they are aware of what knowledge and skills they need to
posses on a daily basis as well as at each stage of their career. The standards aim to ensure
high quality, effective teaching to enhance outcomes for students and are therefore essential
to the teaching profession.


The Australian Curriculum is developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and

Reporting Authority (ACARA) and is central to the day to day practice of teachers. It sets the
standards for what all Australian students should be taught at school regardless of their
background or where they live (ACARA, 2016). The Curriculum is shaped by the Melbourne
Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008 (Ministerial Council on
Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs, 2008). This Declaration stresses that the
foundations of schooling for Australian students are literacy and numeracy as well as
knowledge of key disciplines. It adds that schools should also assist in the development of
skills that are vital in 21st century occupations such as the use of IT and digital media, cross-
disciplinary thinking and social interaction. Aside from the teaching of knowledge and skills,
this declaration puts forward that school curriculums should also teach students principles of
democracy, equity and justice and personal qualities such as resilience, respect for others and
honesty (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs, 2008).
The Declaration sets out specific goals of schooling for Australian students:

"Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence"

"Goal 2: All young Australians become: successful learners, confident and creative
individuals, active and informed citizens"

(Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs, 2008)

ACARA is responsible for shaping and writing the curriculum, building upon the Melbourne
Declaration, for all learning areas/subjects including English, Mathematics, Science,
Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education and
Languages. The states and territories schools are then responsible for implementing the
curriculum through syllabuses. Finally, there is a collaborative process between the states and
territories and ACARA to monitor, evaluate and change the curriculum (ACARA, 2016). In
addition to the teaching of content areas the Curriculum also addresses cross-curriculum
priorities which have the purpose of enhancing the curriculum through measured and
purposeful content that fits in organically within the learning areas. These include developing
knowledge, understanding and skills about and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures,
Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia as well as Sustainability (ACARA, 2016).

The Curriculum is therefore a vital part of the teaching profession as it sets out the standards
and expectations for teachers of what students should be learning regarding the content of
their subjects, as well as other cross-disciplinary knowledge and personal skills. Teachers
must use the curriculum on a daily basis so as to have professional and effective teaching
practice which provides high quality education for students to enable them to become
successful members of society.


Pedagogy is another foundational concept of teaching that is critical to the day to day work of
teachers. Pedagogy refers to how teachers teach and the teaching and learning strategies they
use to assess the progress of students. It includes the activities that occur in the classroom and
the quality of the tasks set by teachers to develop student learning. Pedagogy is also the
appreciation that how one teaches is inextricably linked to what one teaches, how one
assesses and from how one learns (NSW Department of Education and Training, Professional
Support and Curriculum Directorate, 2003).

A discussion paper into quality teaching by the NSW Department of Education and Training,
Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate (2003) highlights the importance of
pedagogy. The paper states that research has consistently found that in schools, the quality of
pedagogy is most closely linked to and most strongly affects the quality of learning
outcomes achieved by students. Pedagogy is therefore at the centre of the teaching profession
at all times.

The NSW Quality Teaching Model of Pedagogy has three components which represent
classroom practices that have been shown to improve student outcomes (Ladwig & Gore,
2003). These are;

1. "Pedagogy that promotes high levels of intellectual quality"

2. "Pedagogy that establishes a high quality learning environment"

3. "Pedagogy that generates significance by connecting students with the intellectual

demands of their work"

(Ladwig & Gore, 2003)

Each component of the model has several elements all of which have been developed based
on research which shows they contribute to improved student learning (Ladwig & Gore,
2003). Based on coding and assessing these elements as part of a lesson plan, teachers can
improve upon their pedagogy. This model of pedagogy is a highly valuable resource for
teachers to implement consistently as part of their own pedagogy so as to provide better
educational outcomes for their students.


Assessment is a crucial process which provides teachers and institutions information about
the knowledge and skills that students have, which then allows for improvements,
adjustments or additions to future learning. It refers to the "ongoing process of gathering,
analysing and interpreting, using and reflecting on evidence to make informed and consistent
judgements to improve future student learning" (Victoria State Government: Department of
Education and Training, 2017). Assessment goes hand in hand with Reporting which is
essentially a process of conveying detailed information about student learning and
achievements at a particular time, also to be used to further student learning (Victoria State

Government: Department of Education and Training, 2017). The Victoria State Government:
Department of Education and Training (2017) describes three purposes for Assessment:

1. "Assessment FOR learning - describes when teachers use inferences about student
progress to inform their teaching
2. Assessment AS learning - describes when students reflect on and monitor their
progress to inform their future learning goals
3. Assessment OF learning - describes when teachers use evidence of student learning to
make judgements on student achievement against goals and standards"

In order to be useful an of a high quality Assessments must follow certain guidelines. When
designing assessments teachers (and institutions) should ensure that they are relevant, have
explicit instructions and conditions, are valid and are also reliable and consistent in the way
they are presented and in the outcomes they measure. They should also be practical, fair to all
students and should yield information for teachers and students regarding future learning
(Victoria State Government: Department of Education and Training, 2017).

Assessment is therefore highly significant to teachers as part of their everyday practice as it

provides valuable information about their students' levels of knowledge and skills and hence,
can shape their future teaching and students' learning. Moreover, several of the APST make
mention to assessment and reporting, including Standard 5 "Assess, provide feedback and
report on student learning" (AITSL, 2014). To adhere to professional standards, teachers
must therefore employ quality assessment strategies at all stages of their careers, making
Assessment a fundamentally important part of a teacher's practice.

Currently in Australian schools there are several assessments that students undertake. One of
the most controversial and most talked about assessments in recent times has been the
National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) which is overseen by
ACARA (National Assessment Program, 2016). NAPLAN is undertaken annually by
students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. It assesses skills that are seen to be essential for progression
through schooling and life.

ACARA has presented its ideas on the benefits of NAPLAN saying that the data and
information gained from it will be used to drive ongoing improvements at school, state and
national levels (National Assessment Program, 2016). For students and parents is that they
will be able to discuss their progress with teachers and compare it with their peers on a

national level. A benefit for teachers is that they will be able to identify those students who
need support as well as those who are high performers and need to be challenged. For
schools, the data can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in their teaching programs,
allow them to set goals based on this and also map the progression of students. For the
Australian Schooling system NAPLAN data is supposed to create equity for all students, so
literacy and numeracy standards can be compared across the country and for the development
of open discussion about the importance of literacy and numeracy (National Assessment
Program, 2016).

Part 2

Indigenous Students

Indigenous students have specific learning needs that if not met can have detrimental effects
on their learning outcomes. It can be argued that Schools in Australia are not dealing with
equity issues effectively as Indigenous students score significantly lower than non-Indigenous
students in benchmark testing (Klenowski, 2009). Research shows that specific parts of tests,
the administration of tests, reporting formats discriminate against Indigenous students due to
culture specific knowledge and linguistic characteristics (Klenowski, 2009). Research also
shows that Indigenous students have lower school retention and completion rates compared to
non-Indigenous students and that in literacy and numeracy, Indigenous students, especially in
remote regions do not met benchmark standards at the same rate as all other students in all
year levels (Klenowski, 2009).

Since 2008, when the National Australian Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)
was introduced results have consistently shown very poor educational outcomes for
Indigenous students, especially in the Northern Territory (Ford, 2013). It has been suggested
that the reason for this is the use of conceptually difficult language and culturally
inappropriate content of the assessments (Ford, 2013). NAPLAN results from 2009 show that
there was an achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students across every
year group for reading writing and numeracy in all the states and territories (Ford, 2013). The
gap is present in Year 3 but by the time the students reach Year 9 the gap widens, especially
in literacy. This is a problem for Indigenous students not only in remote areas of the Northern
Territory but even those who live in urban areas of New South Wales (Ford, 2013).
NAPLAN data shows that the longer Indigenous students stay in school, the higher their

chances are of doing poorly in terms of educational achievements, when compared to other
students. This is unlikely to change unless there is a change to educational approaches to
target this inequality (Ford, 2013).

In present-day discourse, the idea of cultural awareness is key in educational spheres,

particularly in regards to Indigenous students. This recognises that the educational
experiences of Indigenous students should reinforce their language and culture as opposed to
diminishing it (Krakouer, 2015). As a teacher, being culturally responsive is good practice
but teachers must also be aware of the institutional racism which is sometimes present in
schools. Examples of this include the promotion of Western values of education or the hidden
rules that are also based on dominant White culture, which can then disadvantage Indigenous
students. Indigenous students should not feel they have to let go of their culture to receive
education, and hence teachers need to be culturally responsive and be aware of these
challenges so as to help their students overcome disadvantage (Krakouer, 2015).

Equity for Indigenous students can be achieved through culturally responsive teaching
practice as part of the Curriculum and Pedagogy (Krakouer, 2015). Krakouer (2015) gives
some examples of how teachers can adjust their methods for Indigenous students, for
example, by adapting their teaching style to include group work and giving simple, direct
instruction and not over-explaining. Also by promoting Indigenous culture and systems as
being important as well as using visual and practical learning tasks with different types of
instructional language (Krakouer, 2015). The use of these strategies by teachers should
improve the learning outcomes for Indigenous students.

Klenowski (2009) highlights the importance of equity in assessments. In this article the
author identifies a few key issues. Firstly, that teachers use assessment to identify what
students have learned, what they still need to learn and what they are finding challenging.
Secondly, this means that assessment is linked to the nature of learning and the learner.
Therefore, when constructing fair assessments it is important to be clear about these ideas
specifically to the assessment; and consider the choice of knowledge and skills being
assessed (Klenowski, 2009). For equity to be achieved the curriculum needs to consist of
knowledge and skills from different kinds of cultural knowledge and experience, while being
reflective of all groups, allowing for the inclusion of all students (Klenowski, 2009).

It is part of the professional responsibility of teachers to plan and develop learning strategies
that are inclusive of Indigenous students. Several standards from the APST make reference to
Indigenous students, including "1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander students", (AITSL, 2004). This standards puts forwards that at the early stages of a
teacher's career they should show an understanding of how the cultural identity and linguistic
background of Indigenous students affects their education. This extends further to include the
development of teaching programs that support equitable and sustainable participation of
Indigenous students through collaborative relationships with parents and community
members, for highly experienced teachers (AITSL, 2014). It is therefore essential as part of a
teacher's professional practice to include Indigenous students in the development and
implementation of their pedagogy.

The Curriculum should also be designed to include Indigenous students. The Melbourne
Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians which inspired the Australian
Curriculum also addresses Indigenous students (Ministerial Council on Education,
Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008). The Declaration states that schools should
build on the cultural knowledge of these students as a base for their learning. Additionally, it
states that schools should work with the Indigenous community and involve them in the
schooling processes to promote high expectations for the Indigenous students' learning
outcomes. Moreover, they should focus on improving the learning outcomes of these students
so that they are equivalent to that of the other students (Ministerial Council on Education,
Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008). One of the National Curriculum's priorities
is the 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures' (ACARA, 2016). The
inclusion of this knowledge in the syllabus of all schools aims to meet the needs of all
students and also add to their learning.

Therefore, it is clear that if the needs of Indigenous students are met through culturally
responsive practices in the pedagogy of teachers, and within the Curriculum, as well as
through assessment, this will lead to better learning outcomes for Indigenous students.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (2016). Curriculum. Retrieved


Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (2014). Australian Professional
Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from

Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (2017) Australian Professional

Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from

Ford, M. (2013). Achievement gaps in Australia: What NAPLAN reveals about education
inequality in Australia. Race Ethnicity and Education, 16(1), 80-102.

Klenowski, V. (2009). Australian Indigenous students: Addressing equity issues in

assessment. Teaching Education, 20(1), 77-93.

Krakouer, J. (2015). Literature review relating to the current context and discourse on
Indigenous cultural awareness in the teaching space: Critical pedagogies and improving
Indigenous learning outcomes through cultural responsiveness. Retrieved from

Ladwig, J., & Gore, J. (2003). Quality teaching in NSW public schools: A Classroom
Practice Guide. NSW Department of Education and Training.

Ladwig, J., & Gore, J. (2006). Quality teaching in NSW public schools: An assessment
practice guide. NSW Department of Education and Training.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (2008).

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from

National Assessment Program (2016). Naplan. Retrieved from

NSW Department of Education and Training, Professional Support and Curriculum
Directorate (2003). Quality teaching in NSW public schools Discussion paper. Retrieved

NSW Department of Education and Training, Professional Learning and Leadership

Development Directorate (2008). Quality Teaching to support the NSW Professional
Teaching Standards Part B – Putting the NSW Professional Teaching Standards and the NSW
Quality Teaching model into practice. Retrieved from

Victoria State Government: Department of Education and Training (2017). Assessment and
Reporting. Retrieved from