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EDES100 Understanding Learning and Teaching OREDES103 Understanding Learners and Their Contexts


EDFX241 Education Studies and Professional Experience 1: Becoming a Teacher ; EDFX271 Creating Inclusive, Safe and Supportive Learning Environment

Unit rationale, description and aim

Includes: 15 days placement in an educational setting

Teaching is a multi-faceted profession and teachers need to have an understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role in order to inform their teaching practice and meet the challenges of teaching in a rapidly changing world.

Becoming a Teacher is the first unit in the Effective Teaching sequence. It explores the evolving aims and structures of education and the consequent changing nature of teachers' work. Though engagement with education literature and policy documents, pre-service teachers will develop knowledge of the ethical, legal and professional responsibilities of teachers and understanding of the challenges of teaching in a contemporary world characterised by rapid advances in technologies, and increased diversity of student populations. Effective teaching strategies and the skills of communication in education contexts will be observed, practised, and critiqued. Pre-service teachers will have opportunities to observe and critically reflect on educational contexts and to practise and apply introductory teaching skills through undertaking a professional experience placement.

The aim of this unit is to enable pre-service teachers to develop their understanding of the role of teachers in the 21st century, and to develop their initial philosophy of teaching and their teaching skills.

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 - Describe the diverse characteristics of Australian educational settings and Australian learners and demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role (GA1, GA7; APST 1.1, 7.2; ACECQA: E1, F3)

LO2 - Identify and comply with legal and ethical requirements of teachers, and describe and apply policies and strategies for providing safe and supportive environments for children and young people (GA3, GA5; APST 3.5, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA A4, E3)

LO3 - Apply introductory knowledge of curriculum, communication and teaching strategies to organise content and design and implement learning activities to engage learners (GA5, GA7; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 5.1, 7.2; ACECQA: B2, C4)

LO4 - Complete a successful professional experience in an educational setting engaging in critical reflection and responding to feedback from colleagues and supervisors to improve teaching practice (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7; APST 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 6.1, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2: ACECQA A4, B2, C4, E3, F3)

Graduate attributes

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

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 

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively 


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

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

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

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.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

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

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A Child development and care

A4 child health, well-being and safety

B Education and curriculum studies

B2 the Australian Curriculum

C Teaching pedagogies

C4 teaching methods and strategies

E History and philosophy of early childhood

E1 historical and comparative perspectives

E3 ethics and professional practice

F Early childhood professional practice

F3 professional identity and development


Topics will include:

The profession of teaching:

  • The history of schooling in Australia: its aims and purposes, the consequent changing nature of the teacher’s role and the complexities of the teacher’s role in Australia in the 21st Century
  • Australian Professional Standards for Teachers; organisational policies and processes; principles and codes of ethics and conduct; legal and professional responsibilities including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory reporting
  • Developing a personal philosophy of teaching and commencing a digital portfolio/ePortfolio of teaching practice

Professional communication in educational contexts:

  • Characteristics of effective teachers: teacher persona and voice,
  • Teacher behaviours to promote positive engagement - setting achievable and challenging learning goals, giving clear directions, with-it-ness (whole class awareness); attention-getting moves, establishing rules.
  • Building positive, safe and supportive learning environments, getting to know your learners, appropriate teacher-student communication

Introduction to teaching strategies:

  • Explicit strategies such as demonstrating and explaining
  • Strategies for teaching small groups
  • Introduction to technology and teaching: multi-modal communication

Introduction to planning:

  • The structure of Australian schooling and curriculum: stages of education and authorities (Federal, State, Catholic, Independent, and home schooling)
  • Setting clear and appropriate learning goals
  • Planning and implementing learning activities linked to curriculum content and learning outcomes
  • Formal and informal assessment strategies and strategies for providing appropriate feedback

The Professional Experience:

  • Teacher self-care: physical and mental wellbeing and building resilience
  • Observation, reflection and applying constructive feedback as strategies that guide professional learning and growth
  • This unit includes a mandatory module on working with children and young people that focuses on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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. This includes direct teaching, reading and preparation of assessments, and a professional experience placement.

This unit applies a social constructivist approach to develop pre-service teachers’ understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role through engagement in readings, class discussions and group activities. The skills of professional communication and the ability to work collaboratively are developed through practical tasks in tutorials, culminating in group presentations. This provides opportunities for pre-service teachers to build their skills of verbal, written and multi-media communication, and to build their confidence in presenting to groups, in a safe and supportive environment prior to applying these skills in a relevant educational setting. Knowledge of curriculum and teaching strategies and planning skills are introduced and developed through designing learning experiences and lesson plans appropriate for the educational context. The placement enables pre-service teachers to observe and engage with experienced practitioners and to make links between theory and its application to the learning environment. Pre-service teachers will commence the process of gathering and reflecting upon evidence of their attainment of relevant Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate, in the Digital Portfolio (ePortfolio).

The learning and teaching strategies may include:

  1. Formal online weekly input by the teaching team and moderated by a panel of guests of experienced practitioners and teachers;
  2. Hands-on tutorials and discussion sessions that promote peer learning; and
  3. Online activities.

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit includes a Learning Environment Online (LEO) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between on campus content and school experiences.

  1. Video illustrations of teaching practice and focussed readings to address a wide spectrum of teaching contexts, practices and competencies;
  2. Online focused readings to help students prepare for the weekly schedule.


Within this Effective Teaching unit pre-service teachers will undertake, in pairs where possible, a professional experience placement comprising 15 days in an educational setting.

  • A pre-service Early Childhood teacher – in an Early Childhood context
  • A pre-service Primary teacher – in a Primary context
  • A pre-service Early Childhood and Primary (ECP) teacher – in an Early Childhood context (aged 3 – 5 years)
  • A pre-service teacher preparing to teach across Primary and Secondary – in a Primary context, or with the permission of the Lecturer-in-Charge, alternatively a Secondary context
  • A pre-service Secondary teacher – in a Secondary context.

Pre-service teachers will develop the habit of critically reflective practice through guided reflection upon their observations of their class and the educational setting. In collaboration with their supervising teachers and other professional colleagues, they will develop basic teaching skills through assisting in the delivery of high-quality teaching episodes and teaching small groups and whole classes. They will critically reflect upon their teaching, and self-audit their progression and attainment of key teaching skills and standards.

The recommended arrangement of the 15 days is:

  • 5 days prior to the commencement of the block for example one day a week, by negotiation with the educational provider
  • 10 days of continuous engagement (the “Block”).

Recommended Teaching Experiences

The following engagements are recommended across the 15 day placement. They provide a scaffolded, praxis-oriented approach to building experience, competency and confidence, and are designed to align with on-campus content. These engagements are to be discussed, negotiated and planned with the supervising teacher/s.

Days 1 – 5 (Single days or incorporated into the block)

Proposed Teaching Expectations

Day 1 – 3: Orientation, observation and assisting the supervising and nominated teacher/s in the teaching and learning process

Days 3 – 5: Observation and assisting the supervising and nominated teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of one teaching episode per day with a focus on small groups and practicing the skills developed through micro-teaching opportunities

Block Practicum: Days 6 – 15

Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 6 – 15: Observation and assisting the supervising and nominated teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of one or two teaching episodes per day, including transitions, small groups and building to taking responsibility for whole classes/groups and class routines. Practicum reflection, self-auditing and evaluation.

The following engagements are recommended across the 15-day placement for early childhood settings. Pre-service teachers should complete EDET100 together with their completion of EDEC111 during the same semester.

Days 1 – 5 (Single days or incorporated into the block)

Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 1-5

a)     Orientation, observation and assisting the supervising teacher/s

b)     Observation and assisting the supervising teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of two teaching episodes per day

c)     Observation and active participation in small group teaching; assisting the Supervising Teacher in the teaching and learning process, plus managing context routines

d)     Observation of teachers in the learning context, their teaching and practices, management of contexts and individuals

e)     Observe communication skills that the Supervising Teacher uses with children/learners, parents and other staff

f)      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 6-15

Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 6-15

a)   Structured observations and small group / team teaching

b)   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)

c)    Managing context routines or transitions connected to sequenced lesson/learning experience

d)   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

(e)  Continual self-reflection and evaluation

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment load and weighting of the assessments in this unit have been designed to incorporate the professional experience. The written assessment load in this unit has been adjusted accordingly.

A range of assessment procedures are used to help the pre-service teacher to progressively demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and academic standards consistent with University assessment requirements. The Effective Teaching units in this course focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the domains of professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of ACECQA criteria and the APST: Graduate level.

The assessments in this unit focus on understanding the profession of teaching and the facilitation of pre-service teachers’ development of their philosophy of teaching and their communication and teaching skills. The two summative and graded assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development. Through completing Task 1, the pre-service teachers will have the opportunity to observe, read and reflect on their experiences and current education literature to analyse contemporary challenges and understand the implications for the teacher of the 21st century. Undertaken in groups, task 1 will expand their understanding of the diversity of educational settings and build their capacity to communicate professionally and to work collaboratively with colleagues. Task 2 will help pre-service teachers to observe and reflect on their placement experiences as they identify and describe a specific learner or group of learners in their educational setting and design a teaching and learning activity that will meet their particular needs and align with specific curriculum content.


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%.   

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).

The first hurdle comprises a collection of preparatory tasks that must be completed to a high standard prior to commencement of the placement.

The second comprises a placement – which is assessed on a pass/fail basis. 

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment task submission and return of marked assessment will be done through Turnitin on LEO. Tasks will be marked and returned within three weeks after the assessment is completed.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Group Presentation on a Dilemma, Challenge or Opportunity for Teachers

In small groups, investigate a current dilemma, challenge or opportunity that the 21st Century teacher is likely to face, as identified in the unit readings and wider literature. Summarise the key elements of the topic and analyse the likely implications for teachers, educational providers and learners. Example topics could include:

  • The aims of education
  • Educational systems and structures
  • Diverse learning contexts
  • The role of technology
  • The influence of social media
  • Codes of conduct and ethics for teachers
  • The Professional Standards framework
  • A specific education initiative
  • A specific education policy

Present to the tutorial group, using clear verbal, visual and multi-modal communication and actively engaging them in learning activities.


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7

Assessment Task 2: Observation and Targeted Lesson Plan

As part of a journal of observations during the placement, describe the physical, social and intellectual development characteristics of a learner, a small group or a class within the placement setting.

Design a learning activity (lesson plan) to cater to the identified strengths and needs of the learner/s. Set learning goals and include teaching strategy/ies that provide achievable challenges for the identified learner/s and are linked to the content and learning outcomes of a specific curriculum/learning area. Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities including the provision of clear directions on the implementation of the learning activity.

Annotate and reflect for inclusion in the ePortfolio:

From the lesson plan, identify evidence addressing each of the following APST descriptors: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.2.



GA5, GA7

Hurdle Requirement: Preparation for the Professional Experience Placement

Prior to commencing the Professional Experience placement, pre-service teachers must complete a series of compulsory online preparation modules, attaining a score of 95% or above in each module. The modules cover:

  • Professional Standards;
  • Professional expectations and codes of conduct;
  • Legal requirements, including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting; and
  • Professional relationships.

Pre-service teachers must also complete and provide evidence of the following:

  • Anaphylaxis training;
  • Working with Children Check or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated.
  • Child Safe online module: Online multiple choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. Preservice teachers will need to attain a mark of 75% or more in each submodule before progressing to the next sub-module

Note: Completion of this module does not exempt students from seeking a Working with Children Check or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated. Anticipated completion time: 7 hours.



GA3, GA5

Professional Experience Assessment

Professional Experience requirements include compilation of evidence as required. (Refer to Professional Experience Handbook and Report). Compilation of evidence will include:

  • structured observation and analysis of educational setting and classroom contexts
  • preparation for all teaching episodes including the setting of goals, outcomes, content, assessment criteria catering for a variety of abilities and characteristics
  • relevant teaching resources
  • critical reflection on own teaching experiences to improve teaching and student learning
  • feedback from supervising teacher/s and university staff.

This evidence must be compiled into a well-presented and well-organised Professional Experience folder, which must be updated on a daily basis throughout the placement. Artefacts and reflections may provide evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate, and can be included in the ePortfolio.

A pass or fail grade will be awarded for completion of the professional experience days

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents.

Churchill, R., Keddie, A., Letts, W., Mackay, J., McGill, M., Moss, J., Nagel, M., Shaw, K., et al. (2022). Teaching: Making a difference (5th ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Son Australia.

Recommended references

Call, K. (2018). Professional teaching standards: A comparative analysis of their history, implementation and efficacy. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43 (3), 93-108.

Clarke, M., & Pittaway, S. (2014). Marsh's becoming a teacher (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Dawson, V., & Shand, J. (2019). Impact of support for pre-service teachers placed in disadvantaged schools. Issues in Educational Research, 29 (1) 19-37.

Ewing, R., Glass, C., Kervin, L., Gobby, B., & Le Cornu, R. (2019). Teaching: Dilemmas, Challenges and Opportunities. South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Gutierrez, A., Fox, J., & Alexander, C. (2019). Professionalism and teacher education: Voices from Policy and Practice. Singapore: Springer.

Kauchak D., & Eggen, P. (2017). Introduction to teaching: Becoming a professional (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Killen, R. (2016). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (7th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Marzano, R.J., & Haystead, M.W. (2008). Making standards useful in the classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Pritchard, A. (2014). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (3rd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

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