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EDET501 Effective Teaching 1: Promoting Positive Learner Engagement

Unit rationale, description and aim

Includes: 20-days placement with children aged 3 to 5 years

Play-based pedagogy has a long history within the early childhood education and care sector and is recognised as a complex learning activity and pedagogy that actively engages children and gives them agency in their own learning.

In this unit, pre-service teachers will engage with a range of appropriate pedagogical practices and develop their understanding of 21st century approaches to learning and the role of the teacher as active, intentional facilitator and provocateur. Play-based learning and inquiry experiences will be critically considered from multiple perspectives including the broader ecological, social and cultural contexts of learning and teaching; the diversity of experiences; the relationships that shape young children’s lives, and the nature and needs of young learners. The principles and perspectives underpinning contemporary curriculum will be examined, with particular attention given to relevant and current curriculum documents. Pre-service teachers will be introduced to a range of teaching approaches and strategies that effectively facilitate young children’s learning and transitions, with particular attention given to play-based learning across disciplines and age-levels. Appropriate assessment techniques including types and functions, documentation and reporting, that enhance planning for learning and engagement of children and families in this learning will be considered in this unit.

The aim of this unit is to develop pre-service teachers’ understanding of contemporary learning and pedagogical practices in the early years and the applicability of early years pedagogies across both prior-to-school and primary school contexts.

This aim will be achieved through the inclusion of professional experience at an early childhood centre where pre-service teachers will examine the nexus between theory and practice in the centre context. The supervised and assessed placement will consist of 20 days in an early childhood setting for children aged 3 to 5 years.

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
LO1Articulate a professional philosophy for education that embodies cultural-historical and other contemporary teaching approaches to early learning including theories of play, demonstrates an awareness of equity, social justice and respect for diverse human experiences in safe and supportive learning environmentsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC11
LO2Analyse research, major theories, policies and relevant curriculum documents to select effective teaching methods, communication strategies, manage learning environments and challenging behaviour, and resources (including ICT) which facilitate inclusive, engaging learning experiences including play-based learning for diverse young learnersGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Create learning experiences (including play-based) that support children’s learning and development across a range of contexts, curriculum disciplines and age levels and can effectively support children’s wellbeing as they transition from prior-to-school to school contextsGC1, GC2, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC11
LO4Demonstrate knowledge of and purpose for a range of appropriate assessment techniques, including effective documentation and reporting, that enhance planning for learning and engagement of children and working with their parents/families/carers sensitively and confidentiallyGC1, GC2, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO5Apply professional communication skills and a range of teaching resources and strategies, reflect critically upon teaching practices in an early childhood context of the Professional Experience, and respond to feedback from colleagues and supervisors, as a means to develop and refine professional practiceGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC10, GC11, GC12

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following industry specific knowledge based on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) standards:

Industry StandardRelating toRelevant Learning Outcome

Social and emotional development


Child health, wellbeing and safety

LO3, LO5

Diversity, difference and inclusivity

LO3, LO5

Learners with special/additional needs

ACECQA -B1 Early Years Learning FrameworkLO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Play based pedagogies

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

LO2, LO5

Teaching methods and strategies

LO4, LO5

Contemporary society and pedagogy


Developing family and community partnerships


Socially inclusive practice


Historical and comparative perspectives


Contemporary theories and practice


Ethics and professional practice


Professional identity and development


Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Graduate Level

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following industry specific knowledge based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Graduate Level standards:

Industry StandardRelating toRelevant Learning Outcome
APST(GA)1.2Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.LO1, LO2, LO3
APST(GA)1.3Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgroundsLO1, LO3
APST(GA)1.5Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.LO2, LO3
APST(GA)1.6Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.LO2
APST(GA)2.1Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.LO2, LO3, LO5
APST(GA)2.2Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.LO3, LO5
APST(GA)2.3Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.LO2, LO4, LO5
APST(GA)2.4Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.LO5
APST(GA)2.5Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.LO5
APST(GA)2.6Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.LO5
APST(GA)3.1Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.LO3, LO5
APST(GA)3.2Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.LO3, LO5
APST(GA)3.3Include a range of teaching strategies.LO2, LO3, LO5
APST(GA)3.4Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.LO2, LO5
APST(GA)3.5Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.LO2, LO5
APST(GA)3.6Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.LO5
APST(GA)3.7Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.LO4
APST(GA)4.1Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.LO2, LO3, LO5
APST(GA)4.2Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.LO2, LO5
APST(GA)4.3Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.LO2, LO5
APST(GA)4.4Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5
APST(GA)4.5Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.LO3, LO5
APST(GA)5.1Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.LO4, LO5
APST(GA)5.2Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.LO4, LO5
APST(GA)5.4Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.LO5
APST(GA)5.5Demonstrate 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.LO4
APST(GA)6.1Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.LO5
APST(GA)6.3Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.LO5
APST(GA)7.1Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.LO1, LO5
APST(GA)7.2Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.LO1, LO5
APST(GA)7.3Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.LO4


Topics will include:

  • Philosophical and cultural-historical perspectives and theories informing contemporary learning and teaching practices, with a specific focus on the early years including images of children and childhood.
  • Historical and contemporary definitions and types of play including consideration of cultural influences on understandings and pedagogical roles of teachers.
  • The importance and potential of play in early childhood and school settings - connecting to curriculum (Early Years Learning Framework (ELYF) and integrating curriculum areas.
  • Assessment and reporting/sharing practices in play-based pedagogies that recognise children’s diverse capacities from multiple standpoints.
  • Documentation, assessment and reporting/sharing that makes children’s competence and learning visible to children, families, colleagues and other professionals in early childhood settings.
  • Play and inquiry from multiple perspectives including Indigenous perspectives, gender and culture.
  • Opportunities to address marginalisation through facilitation of intentional teaching strategies, manipulation of the environment and selection of resources.
  • Brain development and Experiential Learning Theory.
  • Considerations that facilitate engaged children’s play: human and physical environments and resources including teaching strategies and approaches.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit. Students should expect to participate in a range of the following: online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings may be required.

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 semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to 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. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, videos etc.

Face-to-face/Online Learning support

Students are required to regularly log into the Learning Management System to access recorded lectures and important announcements, to communicate with other students and lecturers, and to submit assessments and access feedback and grades. Students who are enrolled in either face to face or online learning will have equal access to support from the lecturer in charge and tutors.

Additional equipment requirements for online learning:

  • Reliable broadband access is recommended.
  • Headset with microphone to listen to podcasts, view videos and interact in synchronous classes.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.


This unit includes an early childhood workplace immersion experience where pre-service teachers will examine the nexus between theory and practice by knowing, doing and being in the context. The supervised and assessed placement will consist of 20 days, could be a maximum of 5 individual days and a minimum of a 15-day BLOCK, in an early childhood setting for children aged 3 to 5 years. The following engagements are recommended across the 20-day placement for early childhood settings.

Recommended progression of the early childhood workplace immersion experience.

Days 1 – 15 (Single days or incorporated into the block) - Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 1-5

  1. Orientation, observation and assisting the supervising teacher/s
  2. Observation and assisting the supervising teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of two teaching episodes per day
  3. Observation and active participation in small group teaching; assisting the Supervising Teacher in the teaching and learning process, plus managing context routines
  4. Observation of teachers in the learning context, their teaching and practices, management of contexts and individuals
  5. Observe communication skills that the Supervising Teacher uses with children/learners, parents and other staff
  6. Critical reflection on pre-service teacher’s role in the early childhood education setting as participant, leader, team member, co-teacher/collaborator 

Block Practicum: Days 6-20

  1. Structured observations and small group/team teaching
  2. Plan/implement and assess a set of two, play-based, sequential learning experiences per day individually or with the other pre-service teacher (if in a paired placement)
  3. Managing context routines or transitions connected to sequenced lesson/learning experience
  4. Ongoing observation of teachers and other education stakeholders (e.g. transdisciplinary specialists, leadership teams, other teachers etc.) in the education setting, their teaching and practices, management of the learning environment and children
  5. Continual self-reflection and evaluation

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes and to develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. The units in this course focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement domains needed to meet expectations of the APST: Graduate level, and ACECQA Curriculum Specifications.

There are four assessment tasks in this unit, including two hurdle requirements, all of which must be passed to pass the unit. Assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development. Through completing Hurdle Requirement 1 pre-service teachers will demonstrate understanding of the legal and ethical expectations of teachers. In Assessment Task 1 pre-service teachers develop knowledge of historical and contemporary understandings of childhood learning and pedagogy to create a professional philosophy statement of pedagogy and learning for children. In Task 2 pre-service teachers apply this knowledge and understanding to design, implement and evaluate sequences of play-based learning experiences. The final hurdle requirement comprises successful completion of a 20-day professional experience placement in an early Childhood setting with children from 3 to 5 years. This placement facilitates connections between unit content and the ‘real world’ of learning and teaching, thereby preparing pre-service teachers for their role as teacher.


Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, to meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%. In addition, Pre-service teachers must attain a Pass in the two hurdle tasks. These are the preparation for the Professional Experience Placement (PEP) and the Professional Experience Assessment (PEA).

Assessment in EDET561 includes two Critical Tasks: Assessment Task 1 – Critical Analysis of Literature; and Assessment Task 2 – Pedagogical Case Study. 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 Tasks 1 and 2 in order to pass this unit.


Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate CapabilitiesStandards

Assessment Task 1: Critical Analysis of Literature

Critical Task

Extended critical analysis of literature dealing with the development of historical and contemporary understandings of childhood, learning and pedagogy – leading to a professional philosophy statement of pedagogy and learning for children aged B-8. The analysis should demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Codes of ethics and professional conduct
  • Curriculum/syllabus documents
  • Legislation, organisational and administrative policies
  • Contemporary teaching approaches to support learning
  • Early learning theories of play
  • Communicating with young children and learners including verbal and non-verbal modes
  • Issues of equity, social justice and diversity
  • <


LO1, LO2GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11ACECQA -B1, ACECQA -B9, ACECQA -C1, ACECQA -C2, ACECQA -C3, ACECQA -C7, ACECQA -E1, ACECQA -E2, ACECQA -E3, ACECQA -F3, APST(GA)1.2, APST(GA)1.3, APST(GA)1.5, APST(GA)1.6, APST(GA)2.1, APST(GA)2.2, APST(GA)2.3, APST(GA)3.3, APST(GA)3.4, APST(GA)3.5, APST(GA)4.1, APST(GA)4.2, APST(GA)4.3, APST(GA)4.4, APST(GA)7.1, APST(GA)7.2

Assessment Task 2: Pedagogical Case Study

Critical Task

Drawing upon literature from Assessment Task 1, design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of two short sequences, play-based learning experiences.

The sequences should include at least two play-based teaching and learning experience plans (indoor and outdoor) that are suitable for a small group of children in the early years aged 3-5 years. It is expected that the design and evaluation reflects your professional philosophy statement and:

  • Promotes children as competent and active agents in their own learning
  • Social and cognitive outcomes of play-based learning;
  • Enhances the participation of adults in children’s play and learning;  
  • Encourages participation by children who may experience marginalisation; and
  • Recognises curriculum as holistic and connected.

The plan will need to include:

  • A description of intended learners and context
  • Learning goals and success criteria
  • Include physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of the learners, as well as their linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds)
  • Rationale (linking to literature)
  • Links to the Early Years Learning Framework or state-based curriculum
  • Resources required
  • Floor plan of how activities will be organised
  • Teaching strategies: Use literature review and policies to include inclusive strategies for fostering positive learner engagement and managing challenging behaviour
  • Assessment and reporting strategies
  • A system for maintaining accurate and reliable records of student learning
  • Indicate types and when appropriate feedback is provided to learners
  • Indication of how you would adapt your plan for implementation for transition to a primary school context.
  • Consideration of how learners with diverse capabilities can be supported to learn together through play
  • Create a children's folder including report, letter, interview for communicating sensitively confidentially and involving parents/carers in the educative process.


LO3, LO4, LO5GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12ACECQA -A3, ACECQA -A4, ACECQA -A6, ACECQA -A7, ACECQA -B1, ACECQA -B9, ACECQA -C1, ACECQA -C2, ACECQA -C3, ACECQA -C4, ACECQA -D1, ACECQA -D4, APST(GA)1.2, APST(GA)1.3, APST(GA)1.5, APST(GA)2.1, APST(GA)2.2, APST(GA)2.3, APST(GA)2.4, APST(GA)2.5, APST(GA)2.6, APST(GA)3.1, APST(GA)3.2, APST(GA)3.3, APST(GA)3.4, APST(GA)3.5, APST(GA)3.6, APST(GA)3.7, APST(GA)4.1, APST(GA)4.2, APST(GA)4.3, APST(GA)4.4, APST(GA)4.5, APST(GA)5.1, APST(GA)5.2, APST(GA)5.4, APST(GA)5.5, APST(GA)6.1, APST(GA)6.3, APST(GA)7.1, APST(GA)7.2, APST(GA)7.3

Hurdle Requirement 1: Preparation for the Professional Experience Placement

Prior to commencing the Professional Experience placement, pre-service teachers must ensure that they have completed the series of compulsory online preparation modules in the current calendar year, and their ‘Working with Children check’ is current. 



Hurdle Task

Professional Experience Summative Assessment:

Pre-service teachers must demonstrate attainment of the relevant Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate within an early childhood setting. Refer to Professional Experience Handbook and Report.

A pass grade for this task will be awarded following:

  • the successful completion of 20 professional experience days and,
  • submission of a satisfactory Professional Experience Assessment Report



  • Multiple attempts at this hurdle task are not permitted.
  • Professional Experience is a mandated part of Initial Teacher Education courses. Failing this task will result in a fail grade for the unit overall and pre-service teachers will be required to enrol in a future offering of the unit. 


LO5GC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC10, GC11, GC12ACECQA -A3, ACECQA -A4, ACECQA -A6, ACECQA -B1, ACECQA -B9, ACECQA -C2, ACECQA -C3, ACECQA -C4, APST(GA)2.1, APST(GA)2.2, APST(GA)2.3, APST(GA)2.4, APST(GA)2.5, APST(GA)2.6, APST(GA)3.1, APST(GA)3.2, APST(GA)3.3, APST(GA)3.4, APST(GA)3.5, APST(GA)3.6, APST(GA)4.1, APST(GA)4.2, APST(GA)4.3, APST(GA)4.4, APST(GA)4.5, APST(GA)5.1, APST(GA)5.2, APST(GA)5.4, APST(GA)6.1, APST(GA)6.3, APST(GA)7.1, APST(GA)7.2

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Recommended references

Cameron, M., McLachlan, C., Rawlins, P., & McLaughlin, T. (2018). Assessment of, as and for learning: The challenges of assessment terminology. Early Education. 64, 18-23.

Ebbeck, E., & Waniganayake, M. (Eds.). (2016). Play in early childhood education. Learning in diverse contexts (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Ewing, R., Kervin, L., Glass, C., Gobby, B., Le Cornu, R., & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2019). Teaching: Dilemmas, challenges and opportunities (6th ed.). Cengage Learning Australia.

Fleer, M. (2018). Intentional teaching of cultural competence in play-based settings: A cultural-historical view. A Research in Practice Series Title. Early Childhood Australia.

Fleer, M. (2018). Child development in educational settings. Cambridge University Press.

Fleer, M. (2017). Play in the early years (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Fleet, A., Patterson, C., & Robertson, J. (2017). Pedagogical documentation in early years practice seeing through multiple perspectives. Sage.

Fróes, I. (2019). Young children's play practices with digital tablets: Playful literacy. Emerald Publishing.

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2018). Early childhood curriculum: Planning, assessment and implementation (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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