Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit builds pre-service teachers' knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes related to learning and teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The unit focuses on developing early childhood and primary teachers who will support the development of children to become critical thinkers functioning effectively within a rapidly changing, global and multicultural society. Primary and early childhood teachers should be able to make connections between and apply critical analysis to the various elements of society that contribute to an informed humanities curriculum, such as environments, time, change and continuity, culture, identity, systems, resources, power, rights and marginalisation. The unit examines pedagogical approaches to teaching social science education, and develops pre-service teacher's appreciation of the socio-cultural factors that lead to inequities in society. Pre-service teachers consider how these factors impact on teaching, learning and assessment in the provision of effective education experiences. They examine the patterns of interaction amongst humanity in various socio-cultural, political and environmental settings throughout time, with a particular focus on Indigenous peoples and Australia's engagement with Asia. This will be achieved within integrated studies which include curriculum and assessment connections to history, geography, civics and citizenship, economics, appropriate for early childhood and primary teaching 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 - articulate an in-depth understanding of the rationales and principles informing knowledge, skill and values development included in relevant humanities and social science national and state curriculum documents for both early childhood and primary contexts (GA1, GA2, GA5; APST 2.1, 2.3, 2.5; ACECQA B1, B2, B6, D2) 

LO2 - demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures. Identities and languages and the impact of these on the education of students from Indigenous backgrounds (GA1, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 2.4; ACECQA B6, D3) 

LO3 - analyse elements of community and society, at a local level and more broadly within Australia, Asia and the wider world, for example connectedness, environments, time, change and continuity, culture, identity, systems, resources, power, wellbeing, and marginalisation, and consider implications for early childhood and primary education and the role of children as agents in their own learning and as agents for social change (GA1, GA2, GA4; APST 1.3, 2.1, 2.4, 3.2, 4.1; ACECQA B1, B2, B6) 

LO4  -  critically analyse and apply curriculum policies and guidelines, and pedagogical approaches (including creation of learning environments, the giving of effective feedback, development of assessment strategies and reporting) that support implementation of humanities learning (GA4, GA5; APST 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 7.3; ACECQA B1, B2, B6, C1)

LO5 - design and critically reflect on range of assessment tools and processes, with consideration to reliability, validity, authenticity, manageability, age-appropriateness, purpose and value. (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 7.3; ACECQA B1, B2, B9) 

LO6 - synthesise knowledge and skills for implementation and modification of teaching and learning strategies, based on effective and consistent assessment and analysis of student learning data (GA4, GA8; APST 2.1, 3.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.5, 5,1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4; ACECQA B6, B9). 

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 

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


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

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.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

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

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

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

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.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

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

5.3 Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning.

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

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.

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

B1 Early Years Learning Framework  

B2 The Australian curriculum

B6 Social and environmental education

B9 Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C Teaching pedagogies

C1 Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches  

D Family and community contexts

D2 Multicultural education  

D3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives


Topics will include: 

  • Core rationales for the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences in primary schools and the Early Years Learning Framework in early childhood settings within the context of the Australian Goals for Schooling and Young Australians 
  • Humanities and Social Science Education conceptual frameworks and sources of knowledge; including academic rationalist, social constructionist, critical radical approaches and inquiry teaching strategies 
  • The skills, values, attitudes and behaviours central to being, becoming, belonging, living and contributing as members of society; including cultural and social literacy 
  • History, Geography, Economics, Business, Civics and Citizenship as appropriate for children across birth to 12 years  
  • Australian Indigenous peoples, cultures and languages and notions of shared histories for respect and reconciliation 
  • Australian Indigenous knowledges about the past, present and future for teaching and learning in Humanities and Social Sciences 
  • Studies of Asia perspectives that examines concepts of global interdependence, cultural identity and economic relationships, including relationships with Australia 
  • Global identity, interdependence, equity and cultural understanding 
  • Social justice in a democratic society; including practical strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with families, parents/carers and communities  
  • Core values education and controversial issues that are presented in the media and society 
  • Integrative curriculum approaches to teaching Humanities and Social Sciences within early childhood and primary settings 
  • Assessment and evaluation approaches to Humanities and Social Sciences for children across the birth to 12 years 
  • Selection, usage and evaluation of resources for teaching Humanities and Social Sciences according to context, age, and development across birth to 12 years  
  • Planning units of work and learning and assessment experiences for Humanities and Social Sciences  
  • Critiquing resources and syllabus documents for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multi-cultural perspectives, anti-racism, gender and biases 
  • Identifying and applying literacy and numeracy demands for successful Humanities and Social Sciences inquiry. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum which is offered in online mode. A range of teaching and learning strategies are employed to reflect technology-enhanced learning in developing pre-service teachers’ knowledge and understanding of contemporary Humanities and Social Sciences learning pedagogies as can be applied in early childhood and primary contexts. These include synchronous and/or asynchronous digital engagement in: interactive learning activities and experiences; student-led discussion forums and group work; directed reading activities; and ICT as a pedagogical tool for mediating across the Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines.  

Pre-service teachers will follow guidelines to identify and engage in inquiry-based experiences that facilitate their understanding of content and pedagogical content knowledge for engaging with children, families and communities in teaching, learning and assessment of Humanities and Social Sciences. This will include engagement with Indigenous community members that may be mediated through the online learning environment for the purpose of building respect and reconciliation. Online learning activities and resources will facilitate pre-service teachers’ critical analysis and reflection of these experiences for the purpose of developing pedagogies and practices for developing safe and supportive learning environments and experiences in Humanities and Social Sciences for all learners in early learning and primary contexts. There will be an opportunity for the content to be applied in Professional Experience Studies where pre-service educators will draw on the theoretical, practical and socially responsive considerations from this unit for planning and implementing learning activities in Humanities and Social Sciences during professional practice placement. 

Technology Enhanced Learning  

The online teaching and learning in this unit will be offered via a LEO unit site. Lectures, lecture summaries and/or tutorial activities may be recorded to support student learning. Pre-service teachers and Indigenous community members will be notified when an activity is being recorded prior to the commencement of the activity. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards through achievement against the unit learning outcomes. The Curriculum Studies units in this course focus on developing understanding of and skills in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment for a selected discipline with reference to the Early Years Learning Framework and the primary learning areas of the Australian Curriculum. Emphasis is given to demonstrating professional knowledge of the content and how to teach it (APST 2), and professional practice in planning and implementing learning (APST 3) and assessing learning (APST 5) in the selected area. EDSS697 draws upon prior learning in Curriculum Studies units in other learning areas at 500-level to advance pre-service teachers professional learning towards these professional standards and a level commensurate with AQF 9. In EDSS697 the assessment focuses on applying pedagogical content knowledge of teaching and assessment strategies and practices to plan learning and assessment that is responsive to cultural context and the needs of diverse learners from birth to 12 years. The two assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in demonstrating pedagogical practice in: demonstrating critical analysis of issues and strategies in planning culturally responsive learning for children from birth to 12 years (Task 1); and applying knowledge of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment to the development of assessment and reporting strategies, approaches, tool and sequences in Humanities and Social Science for children and their parents/carers (Task 2). The equal weighting of the tasks reflects the application of advanced knowledge and skills with critical analysis that is required to complete both tasks.  

Minimum Achievement Standards 

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for pre-service teachers to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. 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. ( 

In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks.  

This unit includes a Critical Task for Initial Teacher Education (CTITE). This is one of a set of tasks developed as culminating assessment of the Graduate Teacher Standards for use with all pre-service teachers. To pass this CTITE pre-service teachers will need to successfully demonstrate all Graduate Teacher Standards that are summatively mapped to this task. The description, criteria, standards and moderation of these tasks are mapped across the course to facilitate consistent and comparable judgements. Pre-service teacher data from these tasks is used to confirm achievement of the Graduate Teacher Standards, validate the tasks and evaluate and improve programs. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 

Critical Reflective Summary of Integrated Unit of Work 

Critical discussion and adaptation of a unit of work based in an issue relating to an aspect of political, socioeconomic and cultural influences relevant to: children, their families and communities (covering Birth-5; 5-8 and 8-12); and Indigenous knowledges, cultures, histories, identities and languages. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5 

Assessment Task 2 

CTITE7: Assessment Plan 

Development of assessment and reporting plans incorporating a portfolio of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment tasks and/or approaches for culturally responsive implementation with a diverse range of learners, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their parents/carers.  


LO2, LO5, LO6 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

CTITE7: Assessment Plan 

Using a substantial unit of work from a Humanities teaching area, design an assessment and reporting strategy incorporating a portfolio of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment tasks and/or approaches. The approach taken should be linked to theoretical conceptions of validity, reliability, fidelity and fitness for purpose in assessment and critically reflect on the role of assessment in teaching that has positive impact on learning. Consideration should be given to the accessibility of tasks or approaches to a diverse range of learners, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

The strategy should include processes for: collecting, analysing and storing assessment data; engaging and communicating sensitively and confidentially with learners and parents/carers about assessment; making judgements and providing feedback; ensuring consistent and comparable judgements; and reporting learning outcomes to learners and parents/carers.   

The portfolio of assessment tasks and/or approaches should incorporate:  

  • baseline data to identify student capabilities at the commencement of the unit; 
  • diagnostic assessment activities to identify student learning needs;   
  • formative assessment activities to assess and provide feedback on learner progress within the unit;  
  • at least one summative task to assess student learning against relevant achievement standards; and 
  • tools for making judgements about the summative task. 

Representative texts and references

Required Text 

Gilbert, R., & Hoepper, B. (Eds) (2011). Teaching society and environment (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.  

Recommended References 

Bowes, J. M., & Grace, R. (2012). Children, families and communities: Contexts and consequences (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.  

Marsh, C., & Hart, C. (2011). Teaching the social sciences and humanities in an Australian curriculum (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson. 

McLachan, C., Edwards, S., Margrain, V., & McLean, K. (2013).  Children’s learning and development: Contemporary assessment in the early years. South Yarra, Vic: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Reynolds, R. (2009). Teaching studies of society and environment in the primary school. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. 

Reynolds, R. (2015) Teaching humanities and social sciences in the primary school (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. 

Seefeldt, C., Castle, S., & Falconer R.C. (2014). Social studies for the preschool/primary child (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Sunal, C., & Haas, M. (2011). Social studies for the elementary and middle grades: A constructivist approach (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewaldt, J., & Boon, D. (2012). Place and time: Explorations in teaching geography and history. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.  

Zajda, J., & Daun, H. (Eds.) (2009). Global values education: Teaching democracy and peace. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. 


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