The process of learning teachers’ work


Welcome to the Professional Experience Office within the School of Education and the Arts.

This site has been constructed as an essential guide for stakeholders who work together to support the professional learning of high-quality graduates from our initial teacher education courses.

About professional experience

Professional experience is the component of an initial teacher education course that provides pre-service teachers with the opportunity to learn and practise teachers’ work in educational settings such as schools, classrooms and early learning contexts. This professional learning takes place under the guidance and direct supervision of experienced, registered teachers.

Participation in professional experience is critical to the success of pre-service teachers as they prepare for entry into the teaching profession. Research evidence clearly shows that professional experience placements provide pre-service teachers with new ways of knowing, understanding and learning the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for effective teaching that cannot be acquired anywhere else.

The importance of professional experience for aspiring teachers is also evident in the fact that supervised, assessable placements are mandatory components of accredited initial teacher education courses in Australia. Students enrolled in undergraduate courses must complete a minimum of 80 days of assessable placement while students enrolled in graduate entry courses must complete at least 60 supervised, assessable days.

At our university, the design of professional experience for pre-service teachers is guided by two main goals:

  1. Providing structured opportunities for pre-service teachers to learn and practise teachers’ work in authentic settings
  2. Maximising the connectedness between the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in practice and in university coursework

These goals emphasise the active engagement of pre-service teachers in the task of ‘learning teaching’. This outcome can only be achieved through effective partnerships that clarify and support the roles of all participants in professional experience; and, that ensure the effective organisation and management of the processes underpinning professional experience placements for pre-service teachers. This site aims to outline these processes and support all participants involved in professional experience placements.

Contact the Professional Placement Team

We would be delighted to welcome you as a valued partner in preparing high quality graduates for the teaching profession, talk to us today to discuss your potential placement.

Partners in providing professional experience

There are a range of stakeholders involved in the successful delivery of our professional experience placements, in addition to the key people involved, there are also a range of resources and information available to support each of these roles (see below on this page).

The university and our students are very grateful to have a range of wonderful schools and educational facilities involved in offering placements for our pre-service teachers, providing guidance, mentoring, coaching and ‘real classroom’ experiences for our students during their studies.

If your school or facility is interested in becoming a professional experience host, please contact the team.

There are a number of roles within the school which help make these placements a reality:

Site coordinator

A site coordinator is a representative from a school or other educational setting who acts as a link between the site and the university. The site coordinator organises and supports the placement of pre-service teachers with supervising teachers at the site.

Supervising teacher

A supervising teacher is a person responsible for the mentoring, direct supervision and assessment of a pre-service teacher. Pre-service teachers work alongside supervising teachers to learn and practise the knowledge and skills demonstrated by effective teachers.

Information for site coordinators and supervising teachers.

A pre-service teacher is a university student enrolled in an initial teacher education course. Courses include the Bachelor of Education (Primary, Early Childhood and Secondary) and the Master of Teaching (Primary and Secondary).

Information for pre-service teachers (students) can be found on MyCQU.

There are a couple of roles within the university designed to ensure that professional experience placements run smoothly:

University supervisor

A university supervisor is the academic staff member on each of our campuses who communicates with and directly supports pre-service teachers and supervising teachers during a professional experience placement.

Placement officer

A placement officer coordinates all administrative functions of the placement process including initial requests for placements, distribution of materials to schools or learning sites and processing of claims for payment by supervising teachers and site coordinators.

Read more about what to expect from your designated university supervisor and placement officer.

Resources for professional experience

The professional experience team have a range of handbooks, general information and guideline booklets to help you navigate your role in professional placement.