Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

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. All pre-service teachers will consider and critique a range of theories concerning the physical, cognitive and psychosocial aspects of development and will 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. 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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing.

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

This unit aims to allow pre-service teachers to begin to address critical questions about the influences on adolescent development and the role of schools in educating for a more just and equitable society.

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, 1.4)

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)

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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and faith based communities to inform the development of a personal philosophy of teaching (GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 7.3)

LO4 - consider theoretical frameworks in the observation and explanation of child and adolescent development and behaviour in diverse context (GA10; APST 1.1, 2.6)

LO5 - develop and use a range of ICT skills for learning which address relevant issues associated with safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT (GA10; APST 6.2)

LO6 - Understand the impact of colonial and post-colonial experiences on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (GA1; APST 1.4, 2.4)

LO7 - Analyse contemporary issues and their impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student outcomes (GA1; APST 1.4, 2.4, 7.4)

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. 

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

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

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

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.


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
  • Consideration of the influence of social and cultural contexts on children and adolescent development (e.g. identity, gender, culture and ethnicity) Influences on child and adolescent development and learning: individuals, families, peers, early childhood settings, schools, communities, cultural, global and contextual ethics and values
  • Changes and challenges for children and adolescents and the impact and consequences of experience
  • Key transitional periods of development: infancy/early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence highlighting differences in physical, cognitive and social/emotional development
  • Socio-economic status and educational outcomes for Australian students
  • Contemporary issues (e.g. rural/regional communities, mental health issues, changes to family structure and functioning, English as a Second Language students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and refugees) and their implications for learning and teaching
  • An analysis of contemporary issues impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with particular reference to education
  • Government polices impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education at local, state, national and international levels
  • An understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pedagogies and their use in teaching and learning

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 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 may be required.

Pre-service teachers should anticipate 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 including those which address relevant issues associated with :

  • safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT;
  • understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages

Describe strategies and processes to ameliorate these risks and their impact on schooling.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO6, LO7

GA1, GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Through one of the following: power point presentation and online or paper journal group seminar presentation:

Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and theories underpinning child and adolescent development through educational inquiry


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

Representative texts and references

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.

Rathus, S.A. (2014). Childhood and Adolescence: Voyages in Development (5th ed.). New York: Cengage Learning.

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.

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