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EDFD229 Professional Identity as Teacher in Early Learning Contexts

Unit rationale, description and aim

Over the past decade the United Nations, State and Federal Governments have increasing focussed on the importance of quality early childhood experiences for young children and highlight the need for quality teachers for the best outcomes for young children. Early Childhood Teachers experience shifting national, state, and local policy changes and as such are required to work dynamically in a range of contexts. There are competing discourses and expectations within policy which pre-service teachers reflect on to construct their own professional identity as an early childhood teacher. This enables pre-service teachers to engage confidently with a broad range of people and engage in the complexities of early childhood contexts.

Pre-service teachers will be introduced to the complexities of the role of early childhood teacher in a range of early learning contexts. The unit will enhance pre-service teachers’ capacity to take on the professional and leadership responsibilities within early learning environments. This unit will focus on assisting pre-service teachers to develop and apply a critical understanding of a variety of social and cultural contexts, including addressing issues of diversity and inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It is expected that through this unit pre-service teachers will enhance their knowledge of social justice and inclusivity, as an understanding of the diverse religious, cultural and social backgrounds of children is emphasised. Pre-service teachers will develop an understanding of the importance of working appropriately with a range of professionals, families, and community members. This will include development of communication, planning and organisational skills. They will reflect on the ways in which the learning in this unit contributes to the development of their professional philosophy, the centre philosophy and ways these impact practice.

The aim of this unit is to provide pre-service teachers with the communication, planning and organisational skills to develop professional and leadership responsibilities which positively impact their practice with children, families, colleagues and the broader community.

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     discuss and critically examine the complexity of the social and cultural worlds of children, families and learning environments and consider the impact that these have on learning communities and learning outcomes for young children; (GA1, GA2, GA4; APST 2.4, 3.6, 4.1; ACECQA E1, E3, D1, D2, D3, D4, D5) 

LO2     articulate the nature and importance of professional advocacy in their role as early childhood teacher (GA1, GA5; APST 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4; ACECQA F1, F4, E3)

LO3     identify and reflect on the professional roles, responsibilities, practices and leadership roles they play in the development and maintenance of a well-managed learning environment (GA1, GA5; APST 1.6, 3.6, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 6.1, 7.2; ACECQA C3, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, E3)

LO4     create a resource to demonstrate communication skills that foster interaction within and beyond the learning environment and which are appropriate to shared reflection and collaboration with colleagues, family and community members and a range of other professionals (GA5, GA8; APST 2.4, 3.5, 3.7, 7.3; ACECQA D1, D2, D3, D4, C3, F1)

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:

1.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.

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

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

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

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

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

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

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

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.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


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

C Teaching pedagogies

C3 guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

D Family and community contexts

D1 developing family and community partnerships

D2 multicultural education

D3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4 socially inclusive practice

D5 culture, diversity and inclusion

E History and philosophy of early childhood

E1 historical and comparative perspectives

E3 ethics and professional practice

F Early childhood professional practice

F1educational leadership

F2 management and administration

F3 professional identity and development

F4 advocacy

F5 research


Topics will include:

  • Understanding society, families, learning environments and communities taking into account a variety of social and cultural contexts, and issues of diversity and inclusion
  • The roles and responsibilities of early childhood teachers in a range of early learning contexts
  • The professional and leadership responsibilities within early learning environments.
  • Issues of social justice and inclusivity within contexts of diverse religious, cultural and social experiences of young children, their families and communities.
  • Communication, planning and organisational skills and strategies to facilitate the ability to work appropriately with a range of professionals, families and community members.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including engaging with the online materials, workshop/tutorial attendance (where applicable), readings, discussion forums and assignment preparation. The unit delivery will consist of a digital core with the expectation of students working with these materials for a minimum of two hours or equivalent each week. In addition, a two-hour workshop/tutorial may be held once every two weeks (i.e., 4 times a semester or equivalent) in online mode, or the equivalent in intensive mode. There will be an opportunity for the content to be applied in the professional experience program and students will draw on the ethical, theoretical and practical considerations of this unit for their professional practice.

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, and video.

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit will include a Learning Environment Online (LEO) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote critical engagement. It may include:

  • Recorded lectures and lecture notes; tutorial notes / guides
  • Webinars, podcasts, videos
  • Reviews, guided explorations, quizzes
  • Discussion board to exchange ideas and refine learning.
  • Focussed readings addressing a wide spectrum of professional roles, responsibilities, and practices. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit includes two assessment tasks which are designed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Students are required to complete and submit both assessment tasks. Both assessment items scaffold the learning outcomes, theory, pedagogical and philosophical approaches to professional identity construction into resources. Reflective practice and critical analysis of the learning outcomes occurs throughout the teaching and learning sequence and is utilised for construction of assessment items. 

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 submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%.

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return

Assessment tasks are to be submitted to Turnitin. Assessments will be marked and returned via Turnitin in accordance with University assessment policy. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Professional Philosophy

Develop a philosophy statement and statement of reflective practice that takes into account key elements of this unit.


LO2, LO3, LO4,

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Resource Portfolio

Develop a portfolio of resources that will support you in your role as early childhood teachers.

Provide a reflective statement to support the inclusion and potential use of each element of the portfolio.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Brown, A., & Grigg, J. (2017). Critical narrative as a framework for professional border crossing in early childhood. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 18(3), 333-345.

Eaude, T. (2020). Idenity, culture and belonging: Educating young children for a changing world. London: Bloomsbury

Ewing, R., Kervin, L., Glass, C., Gobby, B., Le Cornu, R., & Groundwater-Smith, S. (2019). Teaching : Dilemmas, challenges and opportunities (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Feeney, S., Moravcik, E., Nolte, S. (2018). Who am I in the lives of children? : An introduction to early childhood education (11th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Fenech, M., & Ribarovski, J. (2020). Professional communication for early childhood educators: Interpersonal and workplace communication in everyday practice. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Grace, R., Hodge, K., & McMahon, C. (Eds) (2017). Children, families and communities (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. 

Kocher, L., & Patterson, C. (2018). Pedagogies for children’s perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.

Mc Leod, N., & Giardiello, P. (2019). Empowering early childhood educators: International pedagogies as provocation. New York, NY: Routledge.

Moss, P. (2019). Alternative narratives in early childhood: An introduction for students and practitioners. New York, NY: Routledge.

McArdle, F., Gibson, M., & Zollo, L. (2015). Being an early childhood educator: Bringing theory and practice together. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. 

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