The making of teachers for the twenty-first century: Australian professional standards and the preparation of culturally responsive teachers

Ninetta Santoro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The nature of teachers’ work and knowledge has undergone enormous change in the last two decades in Australia. Such change is due to a wide range of factors including increasingly complex student demographics, developments in information technology and the ways in which knowledge is produced and transmitted. Australian classrooms are more culturally diverse than ever before, students are more technologically savvy and school curricula is increasingly complex and expansive. These changes have given rise to ongoing debates about what constitutes quality education and quality teachers and how best to prepare professionals for the twenty-first century.

The newly developed National Professional Standards makes explicit the knowledge and practices expected of teachers across four stages of their careers. In this chapter I provide an overview of the seven standards and how they reflect the changing social and political landscape of Australia, as well as discourses of ‘quality’. I focus on the first of the standards; Teacher Knowledge About Students and How They Learn, especially in regards to students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Given the increasing cultural and socioeconomic diversity that characterises student populations in Australia, it is imperative that all teachers are responsive to the learning needs of students from diverse linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. I conclude by making recommendations for preservice teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPreparing Teachers for the Twenty-First Century
Subtitle of host publicationNew Frontiers of Educational Research
EditorsZ Xudong, K Zeichner
Pages309 - 321
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-36970-4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Australian teacher standards
  • teacher knowledge
  • cultural diversity
  • teacher education

Cite this