Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The pre-service teacher will begin to address critical questions about the role of early childhood settings and schools in educating for a more just and equitable society.

This unit focuses on fundamental concepts and theories of learning and development, using a critical reflective approach. It aims to deepen understanding of children and adolescents both as individuals and as participants in society. The unit emphasises the importance of pre-service teachers developing an informed, theoretical perspective; one that acknowledges different ways of knowing about and participating in society from different worldviews that reflect on issues of the common good, including Indigenous ways of knowing.

The learning within this unit will be facilitated by ICT in order to assist pre-service teachers’ contemporary skills for supporting and facilitating learning.

This unit includes a module on working with children, young people and vulnerable adults that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to explore and critique a range of theories concerning the physical, cognitive and psychosocial aspects of development and well-being and examine ideas and debates about the contexts of development with specific reference to family, early childhood settings, school, peers, and diverse cultural and social contexts, including developmental diversity.

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 - explore and analyse concepts, theories, and research focused on physical, cognitive and psychosocial aspects of child and adolescent development (GA5; APST 1.1; ACECQA A1, A2, A3, A8, B6, B8, E2)

LO2 - discuss and apply these concepts and theories to an understanding of child and adolescent development which fosters participation in society essential for the promotion of the common good and a just and equitable society (GA1, GA5; APST 1.5; ACECQA A1, A3, A7, B6, D1, E2, E3)

LO3 - describe the influences on human development and learning of families, early childhood settings, schools, and peers embedded within diverse cultural and societal contexts including Indigenous and faith-based communities to inform the development of a personal philosophy of teaching (GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 2.4, 4.1; ACECQA A1, A2, A3, A6, A8, B6, D1, D3, D5, E2)

LO4 - develop and use a range of ICT skills and resources for learning, with awareness of safe, ethical and responsible use. (GA10; APST 4.5; ACECQA B3, C1)

LO5 - demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults (GA1, GA5).

Graduate attributes

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

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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.

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.

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. 

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.

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

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.


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

A. Psychology and child development           

A1. Leaning, development and care

A2. Language development

A3. Social and emotional development

A6. Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A7. Learners with special needs

A8. Transitions and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

B. Education and curriculum studies 

B3. Numeracy, science and technology

B6. Social and environmental education

B8. Physical and health education

C. Early childhood pedagogies          

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

D. Families and community partnerships      

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

D3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

D5. Culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2. Contemporary theories and practice

E3. Ethics and professional practice


This unit is based on an understanding that learning and development is situated in complex diverse contexts. Topics may include:

  • Introduction to relevant theories, and models addressing physical, cognitive and psychosocial development of the individual learner
  • An overview of human development as a continuum, giving consideration to the influence of social and cultural contexts on development and learning.
  • Changes and challenges for children and adolescents and the impact and consequences of experience
  • Influences on child development and learning: individuals, families, peers, early childhood settings, schools, communities, cultural, global and contextual ethics and values
  • Key transitional periods
  • Importance of socialisation and play in learning and development
  • Contemporary issues (e.g. mental health issues, changes to family structure, pace of technological development) and their implications for learning and teaching
  • Communities: context, resilience and social capital.
  • Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The following ICT understandings will be integrated across the unit:

  • Understanding the scope of ICT for learning: processes, application and equipment
  • Developing information skills for effective learning: defining, locating, selecting, organising, presenting and assessing information including ethical usage
  • Developing ICT skills, including use of a range of media and resources for learning and pedagogical practices.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: 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 maybe required.

The Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults module is an online module that will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Successful participants will be given a record of completion.

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 with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

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 and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

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

Assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Develop an issues paper that explores the risk factors associated with particular contexts and the development of strategies and processes to ameliorate these risks and their impact on learning.


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and theories underpinning child and adolescent development through one of the following: PowerPoint presentation and online or paper journal group seminar presentation.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 3

Demonstrate an understanding of contextual relationships to explain influences on child and adolescent behaviour and development through a reflective essay and development of personal philosophy of teaching.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5

Assessment 4

Working with Vulnerable Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults online module:

Online multiple choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. At the completion of each of 4 parts. Students will need to pass the first sub-module with a pass mark of 75% percent before progressing to the next sub-module.

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


(Hurdle requirement)


GA1, GA5

Representative texts and references

Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians (2013). Submission to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Issues Paper 3 – Child Safe Institutions Principles for Child Safety in Organisations.

Berk, L. E. (2007). Development through the lifespan (4th ed.). Boston/London: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Bowes, J. M. & Grace, R. (2012). Children, families and communities: Contexts and consequences (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.

Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Russell, N. (2007). Transforming learning with ICT. Making it happen. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Hames, L. (2006). Understanding human development: A multidimensional approach. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Kalantis, M., & Cope, B. (2008). New learning: Elements of a science of education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

McInerney, D.M., & McInerney, V. (2010). Educational psychology: Constructing learning (5th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2010). Integrating educational technology into teaching (5th ed.). Boston, Ma.: Allyn and Bacon.

Snowman, J., Dobozy, E., Scevak, J., Bryer, F., Bartlett, B., & Beiehler. R. (2009). Psychology applied to teaching (1st Australian ed.). Milton, Qld.: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Stefani, L., Mason, R., & Pegler, C. (2007). The educational potential of e-portfolios: Supporting personal development and reflective learning. New York: Routledge. (379.1 STE)

Woolfolk, A. E., & Margetts, K. (2009). Educational psychology (2nd Australian ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Wortley, R., & Smallbone, S. (2006). Applying Situational Principles to Sexual Offenses Against Children. In R. Wortley, & S. Smallbone (Eds.). Situational prevention of child sexual abuse. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

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