Teaching Profession

Teaching Standards

What are the teaching standards in Nova Scotia?

The teaching standards describe a shared vision of professional practice and high quality teaching, informed by teachers, education partners, theory and research.

Teaching standards provide a common framework that describes what teachers should know and be able to do, from initial certification and throughout all stages of their careers, as they support student learning.

Download a copy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning to read about the attributes, knowledge and skills of each of these standards.

The teaching standards are:

1. Teachers know, respond to and engage all students.

  • Teachers are student-centered and have high expectations for student success.
  • Teachers know their students and have a broad understanding of how students develop and learn. They use information about student development and diverse cultures, learning strengths and needs, languages and life experiences to guide all parts of teaching.
  • Teachers provide culturally-responsive, engaging learning experiences that let students achieve the learning outcomes.
  • Teachers consider the main values of diversity, fairness and inclusivity in their decisions about curriculum, instruction, assessment, student engagement and classroom management.

2. Teachers know their subjects and how to teach them.

  • Teachers use their knowledge and skill in content and pedagogy to provide high-quality teaching.  They use broad knowledge and information from different sources to make the curriculum available and engaging for students.
  • Teachers gather information from parents/guardians, families and/or communities to create meaningful learning opportunities. They also rely on classroom experience, educational research and professional learning to continuously inform and update their practice.
  • Teachers provide instruction in the higher-order thinking skills that are necessary for students in present-day society. They respond to diverse student learning needs through culturally responsive teaching and individualized program planning.
  • Teachers are knowledgeable about and use provincial curricula, initiatives, policies, learning resources, technologies and assessment strategies.
  • Teachers teach literacy across subjects and grade levels as an important part of their teaching.
  • Teachers know about and use the teaching approaches that research has shown to have the greatest impact on student learning.

3. Teachers use ‘Assessment for and of Learning’ to guide teaching and learning.

  • Student assessment is an important part of teaching and learning.  Teachers are knowledgeable and skilled in the use of assessment for and of learning and the use of assessment data to encourage student success.
  • Teachers coordinate assessment activities with learning outcomes to guide teaching and learning, monitor student progress and engage students in self-assessment.
  • Teachers adapt assessment to meet the needs of all students through culturally-responsive assessment practices and program planning.
  • Teachers involve students in the assessment process to encourage independence and ownership for their learning.  Teachers communicate the criteria for success to students and provide them with timely, descriptive feedback.

4. Teachers create safe and positive learning environments.

  • Teachers create and maintain positive learning environments that are fair, inclusive and safe.
  • Teachers follow the Provincial School Code of Conduct and other policies associated with student behaviour.  They establish respectful relationships with students, parents/guardians, colleagues and other partners in education.
  • Teachers provide culturally-responsive and student-centered responses to differences in student behaviour associated with culture, language and life experience.
  • Teachers respond to unacceptable student behaviour in a consistent and fair manner. They work with parents/guardians, guidance counsellors, mental health professionals and others to respond to student behavioural challenges, mental health concerns and special needs in new and forward-thinking ways.

5. Teachers participate in professional learning throughout their careers.

  • Teachers take part in professional learning activities that support their professional growth in the qualities, knowledge and skills important to teaching. Their professional learning is focused on high quality teaching that is responsive to the needs of their students.
  • Teachers look at and respond to their professional learning needs through self-reflection and collaboration. Throughout their careers, teachers participate in and/or contribute to formal and informal professional learning activities. They use professional learning to stay up-to-date in educational research, technology, policy, inclusion and many other parts of their professional practice.
  • Teachers use professional learning to create changes in classroom practice that support student achievement and success. They also use professional learning to increase their knowledge and skills in preparation for new opportunities and changing teaching assignments.

6. Teachers model and promote professionalism in teaching.

  • Teachers represent professionalism defined by integrity, honesty, trust and respect. They demonstrate commitment to the best interest and well-being of students.
  • Teachers encourage public confidence in the teaching profession through high-quality teaching that supports student success.
  • Teachers are knowledgeable about and fulfill their professional, ethical, legal and contractual responsibilities, including the confidentiality requirements associated with their work.
  • Teachers encourage positive and respectful relationships with students, parents/guardians, families, colleagues, communities and other partners in education.  They demonstrate professional conduct while completing a range of assigned duties in a variety of settings, including schools, communities, digital sites and social media.
  • Teachers demonstrate a commitment to the school community through participation in school activities.  They serve as role models for the students that they teach and as ambassadors for their profession.


What do you think of these standards?

How do they compare to standards in your first country?


Familiarize yourself with these standards before a job interview.