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EDCU623 Social Justice, Identity and Curriculum

Teaching organisation

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. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

In this unit, students investigate and critique the interrelationship between Catholic social teaching, curriculum and Catholic school identity in an increasingly pluralistic, multicultural and secular world. Students investigate relevant aspects of curriculum theory and curriculum integration, and examine these in the light of social justice in particular Catholic social teaching. Selected curriculum issues emerging in local, national and global educational contexts are examined and critiqued in the light of social justice principles and pedagogical practices. Students are challenged to consider the practical implications of such investigations for their own practice and schools.

The aim of this unit is to review approaches to teaching the general curriculum in the light of Catholic social teaching so as to employ Catholic perspectives across the curriculum.

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 - Identify curriculum theories and their application to the framing of national/ state curriculum policies (GA2, GA4; APST 1.2; 1.5; 2.3; 3.6 HA)

LO2 - Articulate the principles of Catholic social teaching (GA5, GA6; APST 4.1, 4.2 HA).

LO3 - Review curriculum policies and practices through the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) or another faith based approach (GA5; APST 2.3, 3.6 HA).

LO4 - Design a unit of work integrating one or more CST principles across the curriculum (GA5; GA6; APST 5.3, 5.4 HA).

Graduate attributes

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

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers - Highly Accomplished

On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.2  Understand how students learn - HA

Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

1.5  Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.3  Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements. 

3.6  Evaluate and improve teaching programs

Work with colleagues to review current teaching and learning programs using student feedback, student assessment data, knowledge of curriculum and workplace practices. 

4.1  Support student participation

Model effective practice and support colleagues to implement inclusive strategies that engage and support all students. 

4.2  Manage classroom activities

Model and share with colleagues a flexible repertoire of strategies for classroom management to ensure all students are engaged in purposeful activities. 

5.3  Make consistent and comparable judgements

Organise assessment moderation activities that support consistent and comparable judgements of student learning. 

5.4  Interpret student data

Work with colleagues to use data from internal and external student assessments for evaluating learning and teaching, identifying interventions and modifying teaching practice. 


Topics will include: 

  • Curriculum theory and practice  
  • Understandings of curriculum  
  • Curriculum theories and the goals of education  
  • Application to curriculum policies at national/state level 
  • Critique of these policies and practices in light of Catholic Social Teaching 
  • Exploration of the development and application of Catholic social teaching and social justice and its emergence from biblical justice through to recent Church documents 
  • Biblical justice 
  • Catholic social teaching 
  • Catholic identity 
  • Curriculum and Catholic Social Teaching 
  • Integrating Catholic social teaching across the curriculum  
  • Theories and approaches to curriculum integration 
  • Pedagogies for empowerment 
  • Whole school policy in developing identity related to curriculum 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode (i.e. delivered online and in face-to-face contexts) and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the knowledge and skills associated with Catholic Social Teaching, curriculum theory and practice, and curriculum integration. Students are able to explore the essential knowledge underpinning ways of integrating Catholic perspectives across the general curriculum through a series of online asynchronous interactive sessions. Students also have the opportunity to attend synchronous online webinars to participate in the construction and synthesis of this knowledge. This approach allows flexibility for students who are largely engaged in full-time work.

Where required by cohorts, part or all of the unit could be delivered face-to-face with students engaging in lectures and workshops as well as students accessing digital resources and activities available through the LEO site.

This learning and teaching strategy will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and the strategy is responsive to the diverse contexts of individual students and cohorts. 

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, video, workshops, and assignments etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks.

The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge, understanding and analytical skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to analyse dominant values and ideologies that underlie a national or state curricula and critique these in the light of Catholic Social Teaching.

The first assignment is designed in two parts. It establishes the foundation for the second task by first of all asking students to explore dominant values and ideologies that underlie a national or state curriculum policy. The second part requires students to critique the curriculum policy in light of Catholic Social Teaching.

The second task requires students to critique and adapt an existing unit of so that this unit integrates Catholic social teaching across the general curriculum.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Extended written task

Part A: Identify and analyse the dominant values and ideologies that underlie a national or state curriculum policy (approx. 750 words). 

Part B: Critique the curriculum policy from part A in the light of Catholic Social Teaching (approx. 2,000 words)


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2

Curriculum analysis and development

Develop or adapt a unit of work relevant for a specific context that integrates Catholic Social Teaching across the general curriculum

(approx. 2,750 words).


LO3, LO4

GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Arbuckle, G. (2013). Catholic identity or identities: Reforming ministries in chaotic times. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Au, W. (2012). Critical curriculum studies: Education, consciousness and the politics of knowing. New York: Routledge.

Black, S (ed). (2018). Catholic identity in context: Vision and formation for the common good. San Francisco: University of San Francisco Press.

Burns, J. (2018). Power, curriculum and embodiment: Re-thinking curriculum as counter-conduct and counter-politics. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Cuff, S. (2019). Love in action: Catholic social teaching for every church. London: SCM Press.

Gleeson, J., Goldburg, P. (eds). (2020). Faith-based identity and curriculum in Catholic schools. London: Routledge.

Hawkslye, T. (2020). Peacebuilding and Catholic social teaching. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.

Kumar, A. (2019). Curriculum in international contexts: Understanding colonial, ideological, and neoliberal influences. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Roofe, C., Bezzina, C. (2018). Intercultural studies of curriculum theology, policy and practice. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Siljander, P., Kintio, K., & Pikkarainen, E. (Eds.). (2017). Schools in transition: Linking past, present, and future in educational practice. Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

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