Given the responsibility placed on classroom teachers to support EAL/D students, it is of critical importance that pre-service teacher education adequately prepares teachers to meet the needs of student diversity (Mills, 2009). The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSTs) require teachers to know their learners, and have the skills and knowledge to deliver teaching practice that caters for individual learning needs. Graduate teachers are required to have professional knowledge of the learning needs and requirements of students from diverse cultural, linguistic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 2011). AITSL provides examples of strategies for teaching students from diverse background, under Illustration of Practice, which are collected from current teaching samples across Australia.
The APSTs provide a framework for equipping classroom teachers with knowledge to improve their EAL/D teaching practice. However, many EAL/D students require focused teaching from expert EAL/D teachers. Specialist support teachers who have recognised qualifications in EAL/D learning have become increasingly rare in recent years (Davison & Michell, 2014). The Australian government recently released Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. The report emphasises the importance of expert teachers, and recommends providing high quality professional development opportunities and valued career pathways for excellent teachers (Commonwealth of Australia, 2018).