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EDFX140 Socio-Cultural Influences on Education Community Engagement

Unit rationale, description and aim

Pre-service teachers must develop an awareness of the increasingly complex contexts in which they will work as well as be conscious of, sensitive to and skilled in responding to sociocultural diversity and the unique family, community and societal experiences children bring to their learning.

This unit develops pre-service teacher knowledge and understanding of the historical context, policy frameworks, legislation and sociocultural factors influencing the experiences of learners in Australian educational settings. Pre-service teachers will draw on recent scholarly literature, educational policies and sociological theories to inform their knowledge and understanding of some of the key contemporary issues facing children, young people, schools, early learning settings and the broader community.

The overall aim of this unit is to develop the critical thinking skills required for researching, analysing, applying and reflecting on evidence-based strategies that support diverse school contexts and inclusive educational settings.

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 - Demonstrate knowledge of the morale, ethical and professional responsibilities of becoming a teacher (GA2, GA5; APST 7.4; ACECQA F3)

LO2 - Describe the impact of economic, political, social, religious and cultural change on education systems, individuals and families (GA1, GA4; APST 1.3, 1.4, 2.4; ACECQA A3, A6, D3, D4, D5, E2)

LO3 - Analyse the relationship between individual educational experiences and broader social relations, institutions, and diverse contexts. (GA2, GA4, GA6; APST 1.2, 1.3; ACECQA A1, A6, D5)

LO4 - Analyse preconceived notions of schooling and education, including a consideration of policies and programs for students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds (GA1, GA4; APST 1.3, 1.4, 2.4; ACECQA A3, A6, D3, D4, D5, E2)

LO5 - Reflect, interpret and question underlying issues within contemporary educational theory and practice (GA6; APST 1.2, 1.3, 2.4, 7.4; ACECQA A1, A6, D3, D5, F3)

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

GA6 - Solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

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.

1.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, cultural identity and linguistic background on the education of students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.

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

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

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed the following specific knowledge

A. Child development and care

A1. learning development and care

A3. social and emotional development

A6. diversity, difference and inclusivity

D. Family and community contexts

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D4. socially inclusive practice

D5. culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2. contemporary theories and practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F3. professional identity and development


Topics will include:

  • Social justice, diversity and inclusive education
  • Values related to education, to self and others, human rights and civic responsibilities
  • Multiculturalism, respect for diversity and related influences on policy and legislation
  • Social class, ethnicity, linguistic and gender differences and their relationship to schooling and educational outcomes
  • The work of teachers
  • The role of research and its significance in education and to teachers
  • Social theories contribution to understanding education
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ experience of Australian education
  • Sociocultural impacts on community participation
  • Political influences on education policy
  • Economic imperatives and social policy

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. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, pre-service teachers 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

An emphasis is placed on pre-service teachers as adult learners with a responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem-solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred. 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.

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote the connection between content and educational experiences.

Pre-service teachers will select an organisation for Community Engagement either from an ACU list of participating community organisations or in another setting that is consistent with the principles of Community Engagement as described in this document and discussed in tutorial classes. Pre-service teachers must complete both the academic requirements and 35 hours of community engagement to pass this unit.

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and receive regular and timely feedback on their learning. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. The Understanding Learners and Their Contexts unit will focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate level.

The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development of content knowledge and skills. Task 1 is a low-weighted, task to support first year pre-service teachers. It engages with some initial preparation phase of community engagement and allows pre-service teachers a chance to engage in early critical reflection on their local community and context. Task 2 is a written task which allows the pre-service teacher the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of sociocultural issues for teaching and learning. Task 2 and 3 enable the pre-service teacher to develop professional communication skills and present their understanding of sociocultural theories.

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, pre-service teachers are required to complete ALL assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50% and complete the Hurdle task, prior to completing 35 hours of community engagement activities.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Preparation for Community Engagement

Community organisations contribute to increasing awareness of the needs of families and communities.  Prior to commencing the Community Engagement placement, pre-service teachers must complete a series of compulsory preparation and provide evidence of the following:

1. Online preparation modules

Attainment of a score of 95% or above in each module is required. The modules cover:

  • Professional Standards
  • Professional ethics and expectations
  • Legal requirements, including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting
  • Professional relationships

2. Anaphylaxis training

3. Working with Children Check or a Police Check

4. Child Safe online module: Online multiple choice or short answer questions in four sub-modules. Pre-service teachers will need to attain a mark of 75% or more in each sub-module before progressing to the next sub-module.

5. A short written reflection of 2-3 organisations you would like to complete your community engagement placement at identifying the community a context of the services the organisation provides.

Part 5



GA2, GA5

Assessment Task 2: Scholarly Response

Analysis of two sociocultural issues raised in scholarly journal articles and course content with implications for teaching and learning. Pre-service teachers choose from the following issues:

  • Social class and inequality (SES)
  • Ethnic and linguistic diversity
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and education
  • Religious diversity

 Responses should cover assigned and extended readings and be based on an analysis of issues/ideas raised (not a summary of the readings). 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6

Assessment Task 3: Presentation

Presentation on a chosen issue selected from the list below.

Pre-service teachers analyse an issue and the implications for education drawing on relevant sociocultural theory and wider reading. Pre-service teachers may draw on contemporary examples in the media. Duration of the presentation is up to 15 minutes. The choice of topic must be different from the topic selected for assignment 2. Examples include:

  • Gender and/or Feminism
  • Poverty
  • Disability
  • Homelessness
  • Multiculturalism
  • Refugees and forced migration
  • Racism
  • Government policies
  • Globalisation and economy policies
  • Bilingualism / Multilingualism


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6

Representative texts and references

Apple, M. (2014). Official knowledge: Democratic education in a conservative age (3rd ed.). Routledge.

Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (2019). National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Ball, S. (2012). Politics and policy making in education: Explorations in sociology. Taylor and Francis.

Ball, S. (2012). The micro-politics of the school: Towards a theory of school organisation. Routledge.

Blair, N. (2015). Aboriginal Education: More than adding perspectives. In Noelene L. Weatherby-Fell (Ed). Learning to Teach in the Secondary School. Cambridge University Press, pp.189-208.

Evans, P. (2013). Educating preservice teachers for family, school and community engagement. Teaching Education (24), 2, 123-133.

Lareau, A. (2011). Unequal childhoods: class, race, and family Life. (2nd ed.). University of California Press.

McDonald, M. et al. (2013). Learning to see students: Opportunities to develop relational practices of teaching through community-based placements in teacher education. Teachers College Record, 115, 040304.

Mills, C., & Gale, T. (2010). Schooling in disadvantaged communities: Playing the game from the back of the field. Springer.

Tait, G. 2019). Making sense of mass education (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Welch, A.R., & Connell, R. (2018. Education, change and society (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

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