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EDSS341 Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment , EDSS468 Connect Society and Environment

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit will focus on development of pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills related to teaching of humanities in primary school educational contexts. Particular focus will be given to the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences and other appropriate and relevant curriculum documents/frameworks related to history, geography, civics and citizenship, economics and business.

In this unit, emphasis is placed on particular strategies and techniques, such as inquiry learning and the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to support learning opportunities. Pre-service teachers will develop an enhanced knowledge and broad range of skills to plan, implement, assess and report on social science/humanities learning and teaching in primary school settings. This will include an understanding of the importance of using knowledge of students to evaluate their learning and implementing appropriate adjustments to planning and teaching.

The aim of this unit is to provide pre-service teachers with opportunities to enhance their capacity to make connections with prior learning 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, and systems, resources and power.

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 - Display an in-depth understanding of the conceptual knowledge and rationales of the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences. and other relevant documents and resources at national and state/territory levels (GA2; APST 2.1, 6.2, 6.4; ACECQA B1, B2, B6)

LO2 - Identify and evaluate a range of pedagogical approaches and teaching resources (including inquiry-based learning and the ethical use of ICTs), and how these connect to the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences and other relevant curricula (GA3, GA9; APST 2.1, 2.4, 2.6, 3.3, 3.4, 4.5; ACECQA B6, C4)

LO3 - Apply broad knowledge and skill to implement and modify content and teaching strategies, and effectively and consistently assess and report on student learning (GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 3.3, 5.1, 5.4, 5.5; ACECQA B6, B9, C1, C4, C5, D4, D5)

LO4 - Plan well sequenced developmentally and culturally appropriate units of work which are inclusive in the selection of content and resources and which take account of students’ different abilities, learning styles and needs (GA3, GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2; ACECQA B6, B9, C4, C5)

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - Apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media


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.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

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.

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.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

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.

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.

5.4 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.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings.


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

C4. Teaching methods and strategies

C5. children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D. Families and community contexts

D4. Socially inclusive practice

D5. Culture, diversity and inclusion


Topics will include:

  • Core rationales for Social Science/Humanities education in the primary school within the context of the Australian Goals for Schooling and Young Australians and the National Quality Framework
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives about learning and content the Social Sciences/Humanities curriculum
  • Studies of Asia and Asian perspectives which examine concepts of global interdependence, cultural identity and economic relationships
  • Global education perspectives, identity, interdependence, equity and cultural understanding
  • Civics and citizenship education and social justice in a democratic society
  • Integrative curriculum approaches to teaching Social Science/Humanities (particularly) within current and relevant curriculum documents and frameworks. This would include:
  • History 
  • Geography
  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Economics and Business in the upper primary
  • Sustainability – economic, environment and social
  • Use of ICT pedagogies to support student learning
  • Planning, implementation, assessment, evaluation and reporting strategies
  • The appropriate selection, usage and evaluation of resources and inquiry-based/ problem-based models for teaching Social Science/Humanities education in primary school
  • Strategies to access and effectively use community resources for authentic learning.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may involve a combination of face-to-face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly basis across a 12-week semester or in intensive mode. Pre-service teachers should expect to participate in a range of the following: online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings may be required.

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.

Technology Enhanced Learning

Technology use will be modelled by the teaching team to reflect the nature of technology in primary schools. Student online platforms will include the Learning Environment Online (LEO). Online materials will be available in advance and as post-learning material. The announcements platform will serve as the main communication platform for all students. The use of forums will be made available if required.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete all required assessment tasks as per the Assessment Policy and gain an overall pass mark.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment tasks are submitted electronically. Marking will include a moderation process. Assessment returns will occur within the 3 week period as per the Assessment Policy.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Discussion paper

Critical discussion paper in which students consider:

  • the purpose and key influences of humanities teaching in primary school
  • conceptual knowledge and rationale of humanities curricula
  • national and state curriculum documents
  • relevant elements of society and ways in which these contribute to an informed humanities curriculum
  • sources of professional learning and professional associations




Assessment Task 2

Digital Learning Resource

Creation of a digital learning resource (website) on a community resource (Weebly, WordPress) with links to current and relevant curriculum documents. Covering all key elements of the unit the assessment engages students to think critically about current issues facing humanities education, engagement with Web 2.0 resources and establishment of collegial working environments. Students are to develop a portfolio of ready to use classroom resources for a selected stage, and content strand. The digital resources should effectively teach at minimum 3 week case study up to 5 week unit of work.


LO2, LO3

GA3, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3

Unit and Lesson Plan

The assessment will comprise of two parts:

Part A: Unit Plan (Group)

Pre-service teachers, in groups of 2-4, prepare an integrated unit of work based on the Australian Curriculum or relevant State based resources for a grade level ( F-6). It must demonstrate pre-service teachers’ ability to plan, develop and implement a unit of work, meeting the needs of diverse learners, and be underpinned by inquiry principles. Pre-service teachers should demonstrate relevant and age appropriate pedagogical strategies, assessment and and resources to teach this unit. Clear evidence of cross-curriculum priorities as well as literacy and numeracy and the ethical use of ICT to expand learning opportunities should be embedded within the integrated unit plan. 


Part B: Lesson Plan/Discrete Teaching

Individual participants are to select and develop a detailed lesson plan from the Unit of Work. This lesson should incorporate relevant inquiry pedagogy and demonstrate clear links to the overall unit and curriculum. Original classroom ready resources to teach the lesson must be developed and included. Strategies to develop literacy and numeracy skills, incorporate the use of ICT as well as cross-curricular priorities should be evident within the lesson plan.

50% total

Part A 30%

Part B 20%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Relevant national, state and territory curriculum documents primary settings.

Recommended references

Gilbert, R., & Hoepper, B. (Eds) (2019). Teaching humanities and social sciences: History, geography, economics and citizenship in the Australian curriculum (7th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Green, D. & Price, D. (2019). Making the Humanities and Social Sciences come alive: Early years and primary education. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Murdoch, K. (2015). The power of Inquiry. Melbourne, Vic: Seastar Education.

Reynolds, R. (2019). Teaching humanities and social sciences in the primary school (4th ed.). Docklands, Vic: Oxford University Press.

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

Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewalt, J., & Boon, D. (2018). Place and time: Explorations in teaching history and geography (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

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