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Unit rationale, description and aim

Teaching occurs through communication, therefore, teachers need strong skills in communicating to students and other stakeholders in school and early learning communities to succeed in professional practice. Pre-service teachers must develop effective skills for professional communication via different modes (e.g., speaking, listening, representing, and writing) with different audiences (e.g. colleagues, parents and students) for different purposes (e.g., social, academic, and institutional).

In this unit, theories of communication and the issues, strategies, and expectations relevant to professional communication in the educational context will be explored. Pre-service teachers will engage with educational scenarios and experiences to develop skills for communicating effectively with various audiences. They will collaborate with peers to design a project which reflects their expertise in using representational systems (spoken and written language, symbols, static and dynamic images, gesture, etc.) to interpret and communicate ideas. Pre-service teachers will critically assess and evaluate case studies of professional communication in educational contexts.

The aim of the unit is to develop pre-service teachers’ professional communications skills for different audiences and purposes.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain how theories of representational systems are used to make meaning for different purposes and audiences in a variety of contexts, including digital environments (APST 3.4, 3.5, 4.1, 4.5; ACECQA B9, F3)GC4, GC8, GC9
LO2Communicate in professional contexts using a range of modes, for a variety of purposes and audiences in an educational context (APST 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 5.2, 5.5, 7.3; ACECQA C3, C4, F3)GC1, GC5, GC7, GC8, GC9
LO3Apply knowledge of the expectations (including codes of ethics and conduct) and issues involved in communicating professionally in an educational context (APST 4.2, 4.5, 5.2, 5.5, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3; ACECQA C5, C6, D1, E3, F3)GC1, GC2, GC4, GC5, GC10
LO4Apply knowledge of representational systems to design professional communications in a variety of modes (APST 2.6, 3.4, 4.5; ACECQA D1, E3, F2)GC4, GC5, GC7, GC9, GC10


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

B. Education and curriculum studies

B9. curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Teaching pedagogies

C3. guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4. teaching methods and strategies

C5. children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C6. working with children who speak languages other than, or in addition to, English

D. Family and community contexts

D1. developing family and community partnerships

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E3. ethics and professional practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F2. management and administration

F3. professional identity and development


Topics will include:

  • Theories of communication
  • The role of representational systems (spoken and written language, symbols, static and dynamic images, gesture, etc.) as tools in interpreting and communicating ideas
  • Communicating ideas for different purposes in educational contexts such as to express and develop ideas, for interacting and to structure and organize information
  • Effective communication-Listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, interpersonal skills in communicating
  • Designing professional communications to:
  • Communicate professionally with colleagues, peers, and mentors
  • Communicate effectively in the classroom
  • Communicate with students through feedback
  • Communicate with parents
  • Ethical and inclusive communication
  • The use of ICT as a communication tool

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is based on a Constructivist approach that recognises that learning builds on pre-existing understandings and is shaped by a learner’s sociocultural context. In line with the chosen learning and teaching strategy, this unit includes: content delivery designed to encourage active learning and engagement, and teaching methods designed to consolidate the learning of content, apply knowledge to problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills. 

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the teaching period comprising of directed tasks and self-study. This unit positions pre-service teachers as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is inquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred.

Teaching and learning strategies are designed to be flexible and promote self-regulated and guided learning, underpinned by adult learning principles and will include:

  • Online activities to enhance knowledge and engage in active learning
  • Reading guides which involve directed reading as well as self-directed online study materials
  • Discussion Forum online postings and responses designed to encourage peer collaboration
  • Webinars and podcasts for lecturer and student communication

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between content and educational experiences.

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and receive regular and timely feedback on their learning.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. The Professional Communication unit will focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate level.

For Assessment Task 1 pre-service teachers will design and implement a project that uses two or more digital communication technologies to communicate to two audiences within an educational context. Assessment Task 2 is a Critical Task; it requires pre-service teachers to critically reflect on modes of professional communication and the application of codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession. Assessment Task 3 is a Critical Task and requires construction of a portfolio of artefacts of professional communication used in an educational setting. The pre-service teacher will reflect on these artefacts in light of their learnings and readings in this course.

The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development of content knowledge and skills.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to complete ALL assessment tasks and achieve an overall Pass grade. 

Assessment in this unit includes two Critical Tasks: Assessment Task 2: Reflective Journal and Assessment Task 3 Portfolio and Reflection. These tasks are core to the demonstration of a number of Australian Professional Teacher Standards. Pre-service teachers must demonstrate mastery of every summative standard listed in the learning outcomes and attain a Pass in both tasks and a Pass overall in order to pass this unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Team-based Digital Content Design Project:

Working in small groups, pre-service teachers will design and implement a project that uses two or more digital communication technologies to communicate to two audiences within an educational context. 


LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 2: Reflective Journal

Critical Task

Pre-service teachers will develop an online reflective journal, that responds to a series of questions and prompts regarding professional communication and the application of codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession. Your reflection should also include a personal statement outlining your understanding of the strategies, skills and importance of communicating ethically and effectively in educational settings. Core prompts for research and reflection include:

  • Effective strategies for involving parents/carers in the education of their child
  • Effective strategies for working sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers
  • <


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3: Portfolio and Reflection

Critical Task

Create at least 6 artefacts of different types of communication used in an educational setting. This portfolio needs to include:

  • At least two examples of communication with parents such as report, letter to parent regarding student progress, letter to parent regarding a learning activity, transcript of a parent/teacher interview or conversation
  • At least two examples of communication with colleague such as constructive feedback from mentor with reflection on how this will change practice from pre-service teacher, transcript of conversation about practice, shared discussion with peer on practice, reflection on professional learning and how this will improve practice
  • At least two examples of communication with student or students such as transcript of classroom discussion, communication with students on classroom activity, feedback to students
  • At least one of the artefacts should be an example using digital or multimodal technology


You are to reflect on your artefacts in light of your learnings and readings in this course. Your reflection must include discussion on how your portfolio reflects theory of communication, is ethical and inclusive, uses interpersonal communication to support student learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

For Primary and Secondary pre-service teachers:

Ewing, R., Lowrie, T., & Higgs, J. (2010). Teaching & communicating: Rethinking professional experiences. Oxford University Press

For early childhood pre-service teachers:

Fenech, M., & Ribarovski, J. (2020). Professional communication for early childhood educators: Interpersonal and workplace communication in everyday practice. Oxford University Press.

For all pre-service teachers

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents

Barber, D., & Cooper, L. (2011). Using new Web tools in the primary classroom: A practical guide for enhancing teaching and learning. Routledge.

De Silva Joyce, H. (2016). Language at work: Analysing language use in work, education, medical and museum contexts. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ewing, R., Lowrie, T., & Higgs, J. (2010). Teaching & communicating: Rethinking professional experiences. Oxford University Press.

Gibbons, P. (2009). English learners, academic literacy and thinking: Learning in the challenge zone. Heinemann.

Hamilton, C., & Kroll, T. (2018). Communicating for results: A guide for business and the professions (11th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Humphrey, S., Droga, L., & Feez, S. (2012). Grammar and meaning (New ed.). Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

La Rocque, P. (2013). The book on writing: The ultimate guide to writing well. Grey & Guvnor Press.

Williams, B., Damstra, D., & Stern, H. (2015). Professional WordPress design and development (3rd ed.). Wiley & Sons.

United Nations. (2015). Framework for action: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. Retrieved from

United Nations. (2017). UNESCO study reveals correlation between poverty and education. Retrieved from

Zajda, J. (2018). Globalisation and education reforms: Paradigms and ideologies. Globalisation, Comparative Education and Policy Research (Vol. 19). Springer.

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