Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


Students need to have completed cultural awareness training.



Teaching organisation

This unit consists of 75 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020 (Universities Australia, 2017) articulates the responsibility of universities to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education strategies that increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates, include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in curricula and activities that promote the cultural competency of students and staff. It is therefore imperative that all academics are equipped with the skills and knowledge to promote and model cultural safety. This is critical given the roles and responsibilities that their health and welfare students and graduates will have in addressing the disparities in health and welfare outcomes experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The aim of this microcredential is to equip students (Faculty of Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous academics) with the knowledge, skills and confidence to facilitate a respectful and culturally safe teaching and learning environment. To achieve this, students will be presented with the foundational principles of cultural safety, the historical and continuing impact of colonialism, and the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and staff. They will be given the opportunity to reflect on these concepts and how their personal and professional biases may impact a culturally safe classroom and other learning spaces within their discipline. This reflection process is crucial to ensure students are aware of their potential impacts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and staff when applying culturally safe principles of practice. In addition, students will learn the skills to respond to culturally unsafe classrooms and other learning spaces. These skills are transferable to all teaching and learning 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 Define cultural safety and explore the impact of unsafe classrooms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and colleagues (GA2)

LO2 Reflect on personal and professional privileges and biases and their impact on cultural safety in the teaching and learning environment (GA4)

LO3 Create a culturally safe teaching and learning environment (GA1, GA3, GA5)

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 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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


Topics will include:

Cultural safety and the impact of culturally safe classrooms and other learning spaces

  •         Key definitions of cultural safety, white privilege, unconscious bias
  •   Introduction to critical race pedagogy
  •         Cultural safety in the learning and teaching context, and staff competence

The cultural safety and learning needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff

  •         Students' and colleagues' experiences (Identity, Community links and Responsibilities)
  •         Higher Education support systems and networks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  •         The skills and knowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teaching staff need to acquire

Identify privilege and deconstruct biases by engaging in critical reflection and discipline specific reflection

  •         The role of critical reflection in facilitating cultural safety
  •         The influences of white privilege and unconscious bias
  •         Awareness of racisms and micro aggressions
  •         Knowledge of professional histories and responsibilities

Facilitate culturally safe classrooms and other learning spaces

  •         Contemporary, culturally appropriate and anti-racist language.
  •         Class agreements.
  •         Trauma informed approaches to teaching and learning
  •         Strengths-based approaches to teaching and learning
  •         Culturally sensitive conversations in the classroom

Manage resistance and disrespectful behaviour in staff and students.

  •         Active bystandership and ally-ship in classrooms, staff rooms and teams.
  •         Managing and mitigating difficult student behaviour

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to enhance student engagement and provide guidance and practice in the application of culturally safe principles and skills. The strategy is underpinned by critical race pedagogy.

Consisting of modularised content themed around the unit’s learning outcomes, the student will be provided with an array of production quality multi-media activities that will assist in contextualisation, understanding and application of culturally safe learning and teaching principles and skills. These multi-media activities include authentic interviews and purposely scripted scenarios that can be applied to diverse teaching and learning environments.

To reflect best practice and ensure cultural integrity, student learning will be supported by two academics, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic and a non-Indigenous academic. This co-teaching model ensures that equal responsibility is held by both academics in the presentation of the critical race pedagogy. Both academics will role model cultural safety in action through facilitating online tutorials and asynchronous delivery and forums.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The first assessment provides students the opportunity to explore their understanding of definitions of cultural safety and the impact of unsafe classrooms on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners and colleagues. In order to demonstrate this understanding, students will incorporate the principles of cultural safety into a reflection on personal and professional privileges and biases. To promote engagement, students will be provided the option of presenting the reflective task in either written or multi-media format.

Building on the first assessment and its subsequent feedback, students will integrate micro-credential content to address the third learning outcome. Students will develop their own discipline specific case study and apply the required knowledge and skills to address a culturally unsafe classroom and other learning spaces.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Reflective Task (750- 1000 words equivalent)


This first assessment gives students the opportunity to reflect on personal and professional privileges and biases and the principles of cultural safety.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4

Assessment Task 2: Case Study (1500-2000 words)


The focus of assessment task 2 is the application of knowledge to practice. Students will be required to develop a discipline specific case study which features a culturally unsafe classroom. Students will be required to demonstrate their understandings of number of strategies in order to address a culturally unsafe classroom



GA1, GA3, GA5


Representative texts and references

Bullen, J., & Roberts, L. (2019). ‘I wouldn’t have been culturally safe’: health science students’ experiences of transformative learning within Indigenous Studies. Higher Education Research & Development, 38(4), 688-702

Green, S., Russ-Smith, J., & Tynan, L. (2018). Claiming the space, creating the future. Australian Journal of Education, 62(3), 256-265

Fernando, T., & Bennett, B. (2019). Creating a Culturally Safe Space When Teaching Aboriginal Content in Social Work: A Scoping Review. Australian Social Work, 72(1), 47-61.

Fowler, A. C., Ewens, B., Vafeas, C., Delves, L., Hayward, C., Nannup, N., & Baum, G. (2018). Closing the gap: A whole of school approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusivity in higher education. Nurse Education in Practice, 30, 86-90. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2018.04.001

Hamad, R. (2020).White Tears Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Colour. Hachette UK.

McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.

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