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EDFX140 Socio-Cultural Influences on Education Community Engagement

Unit rationale, description and aim

Pre-service teachers must develop an awareness of the increasingly complex contexts in which they will work as well as be conscious of, sensitive to and skilled in responding to sociocultural diversity and the unique family, community and societal experiences children bring to their learning. 

This unit develops students’ knowledge and understanding of human development. It facilitates their increasing awareness of the historical context and sociocultural factors influencing the experiences of learners in Australian educational settings. Students will draw on their own past experiences and on recent and seminal scholarly literature to understand key contemporary issues facing infants, children, and young people as they interact and grow within their formal and informal contexts. Students will gain knowledge and skills to use observational and data gathering techniques to understand and profile individuals and groups and to analyse their needs and ways of supporting them.

The community engagement program embedded within this unit involves a voluntary placement in a community organisation, where students engage with the functions of that organisation and enhance their understanding of the contextual factors that have an impact on clients and staff. The placement program encourages students to extend their understanding of the relationship between theory and practice, the diverse processes and values of social institutions, and the common good in action.

The overall aim of this unit is to develop students’ critical thinking skills required for researching, analysing, applying and reflecting on evidence-based strategies that support more inclusive and socially just practices in Australian contexts.  

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1     Demonstrate understanding of normative development in multiple domains (e.g., social, emotional, cognitive) across infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. (GA5; APST 1.1; ACECQA A1, A2, A3, A6, E1, E2, F3)

LO2     Research and describe of instruments, strategies and procedures that are used to study normative development of children and young adults. (GA5, GA6; APST 1.1; ACECQA A1, A2, A3, F3)

LO3     Profile social, emotional and cognitive development of an infant, child or young adults. (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; ACECQA A1, A2, A3, A6, E3, F3)

LO4    Describe the impact of economic, political, social, religious and cultural change on education systems, individuals and families. (GA1, GA4)

LO5     Analyse the relationship between individual educational experiences and broader social relations, institutions, and diverse contexts. (GA2, GA4, GA5; APST 1.2, 1.3; ACECQA A1, A6).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


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

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

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.

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


On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed the following specific knowledge

A Child development and care

A1 learning development and care

A2 language development

A3 social and emotional development

A6 diversity, difference and inclusivity

D Family and community contexts

D1 developing family and community partnerships

D5 culture, diversity and inclusion

E History and philosophy of early childhood

E1 historical and comparative perspectives

E2 contemporary theories and practice

E3 ethics and professional practice

F Early childhood professional practice

F3 professional identity and development


Topics will include:

  • The scope of human development and the prominent theoretical perspectives that shaped the study of human development.
  • Human development in emotional, social, cognitive and physical domains and across infancy, childhood, adolescence and young adulthoods
  • Research on human development and the impact of development in information technology and technology on the study of human development
  • Instruments, strategies and procedures of the study of human development from infancy to adulthood
  • Nature and nurture and cognitive development
  • Language development
  • Socialisation and parental influences on infant, children, adolescents and young adults
  • Resilience
  • Values related to education, to self and others, human rights and civic responsibilities

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered on-campus, online or in a blended mode. 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, which includes 35 hours of Community Engagement, across the teaching period comprising of directed tasks and self-study.

An emphasis is placed on the participating students as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred. Students should expect to participate in a range of online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations, group discussions, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks.

Students will select an organisation for Community Engagement either from an ACU list of participating community organisations or in another setting which is consistent with the principles of Community Engagement as described in this document and discussed in tutorial classes. Students must complete both the academic requirements and 35 hours of community engagement to pass this unit.

Community Engagement Requirements

35 hours in an approved setting.

Technology Enhanced Learning

This unit uses ‘Learning Environment Online’ (LEO) for the provision of lecture and tutorial content, required and/or further readings, and other unit material. Recorded lectures will be made available to students through LEO. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements. (

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow students to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes.

The assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development. Task 1 is a written task which allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of human development. Task 2 enables students to develop skills in profiling learners. In Task 3 students will develop critical reflection skills through journal writing which allows the pre-service teacher to revisit their initial ideas, thoughts and opinions and annotate new learnings.

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, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50% and complete the Hurdle task, prior to completing 35 hours of community engagement activities.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Turnitin will be used for submitting, marking, and returning of assessment tasks. Assessment tasks will be returned within three weeks of submission.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: A critical scholarly essay to respond to a specific human developmental issue.

The issue may focus on human development in infancy, childhood or adolescence. The following list includes examples of such issues:

  1. Responding to the impact of language difficulties on individuals’ learning and achievement;
  2. Gaining cultural competencies in response to contextual and environmental demands;
  3. Contextualising the premises and the principles of one of the major theoretical frameworks of human cognitive development to understand a specific social setting.

Responses should cover assigned and extended readings and be based on an analysis of issues / ideas raised (not a summary of the readings).


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6

Assessment 2: Profiling a case study

Profile the cognitive, physical, social and emotional development of a case study based on direct and/or indirect formal and informal observations. The profile should conclude with recommendations to a teacher, educator, professional worker or parents/caregiver. Responses should cover assigned and extended readings and be based on an analysis of issues / ideas raised (not just a summary of the readings). Submitted profiles are expected to include graphical, textual and/or multimedia representations of the evidence.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Final Examination

This is a comprehensive summative task that will assess the achievement of unit learning outcomes. It may incorporate a variety of question-types. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6

Hurdle Requirement: Preparation for Community Engagement

Prior to commencing the Community Engagement placement, pre-service teachers must complete a series of compulsory preparation and provide evidence of the following:

1. Online preparation modules

Attainment of a score of 95% or above in each module is required. The modules cover:

  • Professional Standards
  • Professional ethics and expectations
  • Legal requirements, including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting
  • Professional relationships

2. Anaphylaxis training

3. Working with Children Check or a Police Check

4. Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults online module: Online multiple choice or short answer questions in four sub-modules. Students will need to attain a mark of 75% or more in each sub-module before progressing to the next sub-module.


Students will not commence the Community Engagement Experience placement until all modules have been passed and all legal requirements have been met.


Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents. 

Representative textbook

Feldman, R. S. (2017). Development across the life span (8th ed.). Harlow: Pearson.

Recommended references

Berk, L. E. & Meyers, A. B. (2016). Infants, children, and adolescents (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Blair, N. (2015). Aboriginal Education: More than adding perspectives. In Noelene L. Weatherby-Fell (Ed). Learning to Teach in the Secondary School. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.189-208.

Connell, R. et al. (2013). Education change and society. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Hames, L. (2010). Understanding human development: A multidimensional approach (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Nagel, M. C., & Scholes, L. (2016). Understanding development and learning: implications for teaching. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2014). Development through life: A psychosocial approach (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.

Rathus, S.A. (2014). Childhood and Adolescence: Voyages in Development (5th ed.). New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Santrock, J. W (2014). Child development: An introduction (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Slavin, R.E, (2014). Education psychology: Theory and practice (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

White, F. A., Hayes, B. K., & Livesey, D. J. (2016). Developmental psychology: from infancy to adulthood (4th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia.

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