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What you need to know about teaching placements


Teaching placements are major components of undergraduate and postgraduate initial teacher education (ITE) courses – which are basically courses you study to become a teacher. Not only are they an essential part of becoming qualified, but they give you the hands-on skills needed for your career in the classroom. Here is some helpful information.

For starters, placements are also referred to as professional experience.  Students studying initial teacher education (ITE) courses are called ‘pre-service teachers’. 

When do placements start? 

ITE students usually commence placements in the first or second years of their degrees. Prior to placements academic coursework prepares students. This coursework includes practical strategies for planning lessons and the educational theory that underpins the practical aspects of teaching. 

How are placements organised? 

Placements are organised by a dedicated team of staff members, so you do not have to worry about organising them yourself. Where possible, each pre-service teacher is placed in a range of educational settings across their degree. That way, you gain experience in diverse learning environments. 

Placements in rural, regional and remote areas are encouraged in addition to placements closer to your home. In many cases, placements in rural, regional and remote areas are supported by incentives and allowances.  

What resources are available to support me? 

ACU’s Work Integrated Learning website is a repository for all placement-related policies, processes, documentation and resources to support pre-service teachers before, during and after placements. ACU’s National School of Education also provides a Placements Knowledge Centre, which serves as a virtual Community of Practice. 

Teacher with a classroom

How many placements will I complete?

The number of placements and the durations required will vary, depending on the ITE course. Generally, the duration of each placement increases as you proceed through your course.

How are placements assessed? 

For each placement experience, you will be mentored by an allocated supervising teacher. The supervising teacher completes an assessment report, based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). Tertiary supervisors, who are ACU staff members, also provide feedback, support and mentoring.

What are the best aspects of placements? 

The most rewarding aspect of placements is the experience of applying theory and academic knowledge in a practical setting. Pre-service teachers experience the life of a teacher in and outside the classroom and become involved in the school community. You develop professional relationships with learners and colleagues, and you build networks in the placement settings. You can also affirm that teaching really is the career for you.

Dr Kathleen McGuire, ACU National Coordinator of Professional Experience and Partnerships, said that combining your university-acquired knowledge with authentic experiences in education settings prepares you best for the profession.

“Engaging in the real world of teaching is the beginning of your journey on the teaching continuum, helps you to build your teacher identity, and it is a vital step toward your career,” she said.

Find out more about teaching placements at ACU.

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2024 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G