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  • Professional Term 4Online Unscheduled
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Unit rationale, description and aim

Acquiring a broad set of skills during senior schooling is critical to students’ success in further education and in life. This is because ‘[t]he world is changing in ways that require education to ensure that students achieve a range of generic learning outcomes as well as discipline-specific learning outcomes’ (Bowman 2010). Research suggests that to meet the demands of the 21st century, students need more than core subject knowledge (Bruniges 2012); in order to be successful, they need to become lifelong learners and global citizens who create opportunities and are confident in pursuing their passions. This unit develops pre-service teacher’s knowledge and understanding of a set of skills, based on national and international research about the skills and dispositions students need in the 21st century. Along with literacy and numeracy, these 21st century skills include critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and teamwork, personal and social skills, ethical and intercultural understandings, the ability to think and act sustainably, and the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT). These skills underpin successful teaching and learning across the secondary curriculum.

The aim of this unit is to help pre-service teachers develop their own 21st century skills and equip them with an understanding of how these skills (including the use of ICTs) can be used to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students and to engage students in their learning.

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
LO1Apply critical thinking skills and logical reasoning to critique and respond to a contemporary educational issue related to learning and/or teaching (APST 1.2)GC1, GC2, GC7, GC8
LO2Draw on research findings to critically reflect on the skills and dispositions students need in the 21st century and how these skills underpin successful teaching and learning across the secondary curriculum (APST 1.2, 3.6)GC1, GC2, GC7, GC9
LO3Plan learning activities and tasks to facilitate students' acquisition of 21st century skills (APST 2.1, 2.2, 3.4, 4.5)GC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10
LO4Differentiate learning activities that engage all students in developing their 21st century skills across the secondary curricula (APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.6)GC1, GC2
LO5Construct a professional learning plan identifying professional learning needs and sources of professional development (APST 4.4, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4).GC3, GC9, GC11


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

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

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.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

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.

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

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.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include:

  • Thinking and reasoning
  • Philosophical, psychological and biological understandings of thinking and reasoning
  • Influences on thinking and reasoning: stimuli, senses, memory, speed of processing, attention, experience, language, culture, emotional state, stress etc
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Critical thinking skills: analytical thinking, reasoning, decision making, problem-solving, reflecting and evaluating
  • Creative thinking skills and dispositions: innovation and creativity, initiative and enterprise, curiosity and imagination
  • Critical and creative thinking in the curriculum
  • Fostering critical and creative thinking in secondary classrooms
  • Digital technologies and ICTs
  • The impact of past, current and emerging digital technologies on the individual and society, including different cultural groups
  • The impact of past, current and emerging digital technologies on learning and education
  • The impact of online learning for educators and students
  • ICTs in the curriculum
  • Fostering ICT skills in secondary classrooms
  • Personal and social skills
  • Collaboration and teamwork: adaptability/flexibility
  • Management (self, career, time etc),
  • Character (resilience, mindfulness, open- and fair-mindedness, self-awareness, trust),
  • Relating to others, critical/high stakes conversations: avoiding and managing conflict
  • Recognising and using diverse perspectives
  • Personal and social skills in the curriculum
  • Fostering personal and social skills in secondary classrooms
  • Ethical understandings
  • Understanding ethical concepts and issues
  • Exploring values, rights and responsibilities
  • Ethics in decision making
  • Expectations and responsibilities of teachers
  • Fostering ethical understanding in secondary classrooms
  • Intercultural understandings
  • Investigating culture and identity
  • Cultural diversity and respect
  • Communicating across cultures
  • Challenging stereotypes and prejudices
  • Intercultural understandings in the curriculum
  • Fostering intercultural understandings in secondary classrooms
  • Thinking and acting sustainability
  • Systems, world views and futures
  • Diversity of views and values
  • Education for sustainability

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is based on a Constructivist approach recognising 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 to consolidate the learning of content, apply knowledge to problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills. The learning and teaching strategy is achieved through a range of learning activities such as reading, reflection, discussion, and engagement with webinars, podcasts and video resources.

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.

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 are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes. The purpose of these assessment tasks is to help pre-service teachers develop and utilise their own 21st century skills, equipping them with an understanding of how these skills (including the use of ICTs) can be used to expand curriculum learning opportunities for student engagement in authentic learning.

The assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development.

Minimum Achievement Standards

To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students must engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. Pre-service teachers are required to demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes by submitting all assessment tasks.

Assessments in this unit include two Critical Tasks:

  • Assessment Task 3 – Learning and Teaching Portfolio
  • Hurdle Requirement – Portfolio of Professional Practice and Professional Learning

These tasks are core to the demonstration of a number of Australian Professional Teacher Standards.  Pre-service teachers must demonstrate mastery of every summative Graduate Teacher Standard identified and attain a score of at least 50% in Task 3 and a pass in the Hurdle Task in order to pass this unit and obtain a combined score of at least 50%.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1:

An analytical response to a published media item on a learning or teaching controversy.

Select a public news media item published within the last six months that discusses a challenge or issue related to learning or teaching. Present an informed summary of the item and its main themes. Use your logical and critical thinking skills and critical literacy to evaluate the employed reasoning and the validity of the discussion and the coherence of its conclusions. Draw upon relevant research to justify your evaluation. Attach the news item in the appendix.



Assessment Task 2: Scholarly essay.

Choose two 21st century skills such as creative thinking, media literacy, use of ICT to develop critical creative thinkers, and personal/social skills (e.g., respectful communication, collaboration and teamwork). Develop a critical, scholarly essay that examines the chosen skills. The essay must draw on relevant theoretical approaches and research findings to justify how each of the skills underpins successful teaching and learning across the secondary curriculum. 



Assessment Task 3: Teaching and learning portfolio.

Critical Task

Choose a unit of work from your professional experience placement for one of your teaching areas OR a developed unit of work available for your discipline area (e.g., VIT or NESA website samples). Develop a web-based portfolio of at least six learning activities that facilitate students’ acquisition of three 21st century skills (must include at least one from ethical understandings, intercultural understandings and, thinking and acting sustainably).

  • Critique the unit of work for the teaching and incorporation of 21st century skills critical to achieving the learning outcomes of the unit of work.
  • Develop activities to build upon the identified 21st century skills. For each activity, justify the potential effectiveness of the activity using research and explain how it could be differentiated to engage and develop skills for all students.
  • Include the use ICT to expand learning opportunities for students and describe how issues of safety, responsible and ethical use will be addressed for each activity
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LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Hurdle Requirement: Portfolio of Professional Practice and Professional Learning

Critical Task

Self-audit of professional practice to evidence and reflect on attainment of the Professional Standards. Identify professional learning needs and construct a plan for professional learning including rationale for continued learning and appropriate sources.



Representative texts and references

Textbooks/required resources

Mills, G. E. (2018). Action Research: A Guide for the Teacher Research (6th ed.). Pearson.

AITSL (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership). (2018). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from .

Australian Curriculum .

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents.

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