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EDFX343 Education Studies and Professional Experience 3: Creating Quality Learning Environments

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit draws together the experiences and learnings of the previous units in Education Studies and Professional Experience. The unit content consists of three elements: research into the international, national and state influences on the context/system within which pre-service teachers will practise; the provision of an opportunity to make a critical study of curriculum and to apply that knowledge within their preferred teaching contexts; and continuing to develop their Digital Portfolio of Professional Practice according to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate, with a focus on assessment issues identified in Standard 5, that applies critically reflective understandings and annotated evidence derived through course work and previous Professional Experiences, including their personal educational philosophy. This Digital Portfolio of Professional Practice will be further developed and finalised during the final capstone unit and Professional Experience 4.

Participants in this unit are typically finalising their pre-service teacher education, undertaking a final professional experience and about to apply for casual teacher employment and seeking appointment to school. The unit takes a critical approach to supporting the transition of the pre-service teacher in these pragmatic and culminating enterprises.

This unit aims to develop and consolidate Pre-service teachers’ autonomous approach to reflective practice in teaching and learning experiences, while undertaking a final professional experience.

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 - critically examine the key international, national and state/territory cross-sectoral policy initiatives and influences that impact on teachers’ identity, curriculum planning, assessment, reporting and practice (GA4, GA5, GA6; APST 6.2)

LO2 - construct an individual teaching philosophy that expresses their beliefs in terms of relationships with students, parents/carers and colleagues, issues of knowledge and learning, an understanding of varying communities and contexts and the manner in which a professional teacher draws these strands together (GA5, GA9; APST 1.2, 3.7, 7.3, 7.4)

LO3 - demonstrate an advanced understanding of the roles and responsibilities of early career teachers and how they relate to required professional and ethical standards (GA4, GA5; APST 6.1, 6.4, 7.1)

LO4 - critically reflect on collaborative strategies to engage with colleagues, external professionals, parents/carers and professional teaching organisations including online networks and the wider community (GA5, GA6; APST 3.7, 7.3, 7.4)

LO5 - develop and implement assessment tasks, interpret and moderate results in order to provide comparative feedback and report on student achievement of learning (GA4, APST 3.6, 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5)

LO6 - demonstrate their professional competencies through a reflective digital portfolio of professional practice containing annotated evidence of achievement of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate (GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.4)

LO7 - identify and evaluate teaching strengths and areas for development in order to facilitate research into effective pedagogical practices for improved student learning (GA4, GA6, APST 1.2, 3.6, 5.1, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 7.4).

Graduate attributes

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

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

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


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.

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.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.3 Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of 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.

6.1 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.

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

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

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.


Topics will include:

Exploring Curriculum

  • Understand contemporary curriculum and pedagogical approaches, considering international, national, state influences on curriculum and recent curriculum reform including indigenous, cultural, assessment and ICT perspectives.
  • Strategies for assessment moderation for consistent and comparable judgements of student learning and outcomes
  • Interpreting assessment data for teaching and learning eg National testing – NAPLAN and/or other relevant local or national student assessment tracking systems
  • Exploring notions of education, critical pedagogy and social justice, and equity of educational outcomes for students from diverse backgrounds
  • Appropriate practices for the respective educational contexts.

The Context of the Profession

  • Major contemporary drivers of change in the educational environment and the implications of key reports and initiatives
  • Nature and context of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate and Proficient levels
  • The different schooling systems structure, expectations and theological values
  • Understand professional ethics and code of conduct
  • Understand policy and legislative impacts on education
  • Sources of professional learning and rationale for continued professional learning

Practices and Processes for Early Career Teaching

  • Teacher accreditation by the relevant state authority and teaching system classification procedures including:
  • applying for casual and full time teaching positions
  • the teacher position interview
  • writing a curriculum vitae.
  • Australian Professional Standards for Teachers accreditation procedure: Graduate to Proficient level.
  • The role and nature of teaching roles and responsibilities for early career teachers including:
  • preparing for the first day, week and term of full time teaching
  • organising the teaching program and classroom environment
  • participating in professional organisations including online networks
  • working collaboratively with colleagues and other professionals in the school community
  • communicating/working with parents and conducting effective parent/teacher interviews
  • assessing students and report writing
  • legal responsibilities related to teaching and Occupational Health and Safety
  • risk assessment of teaching and learning environments including school excursions and outdoor activities
  •  understanding and preparing for the role and responsibilities of casual/relief teachers.

Personal Professional Teacher Identity

  • Describe notions of personal professional teacher identity
  • Statement of personal educational philosophy
  • Reflection on own teaching and learning practice by gathering annotated evidence demonstrating how the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate competencies are met
  • Incorporation of this evidence into an initial digital portfolio of professional practice identifying areas of strength and those areas requiring further development
  • Goal setting and planning for future professional development.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A variety of teaching strategies will be used. These will include lectures, tutorials, workshops,  student presentations and field work and guest lecturers from the profession. 

Teaching will also include a critical pedagogy framework for integrating ideas and practices. Teaching as a profession will be investigated, providing students with an understanding of a variety of professional forums including online professional communities that inform education practice and provide appropriate sources of professional learning for future development.


This is a 10-credit point unit with a duration of 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.

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit will include a Learning Environment Online (LEO) site to enhance teaching and learning, as well as in assessment, as a means of communication, production and feedback.

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

There will be two assessment tasks equivalent to 5,000 words. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

The feedback from Assessment Task 1: the “Digital Portfolio of Professional Practice” will form the platform for the extended version of the “Digital Portfolio” to be completed in the EDFX444 Reflective Pedagogy for Research-informed Teaching and Learning and Professional Experience 4.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Submission of a digital portfolio of professional practice focused on Standard 5 identifying assessment, analysis of results, moderation practices and reporting of student achievements and learning outcomes, providing competency based annotated evidence and reflection of the pre-service teacher’s professional practice evaluated against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate This must be accompanied by a statement outlining the pre-service teacher’s educational philosophy and a rationale for continued professional learning, why such professional learning would be considered appropriate and the impact of this on student learning.

An analysis of professional strengths and areas for development is to be conducted based on Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate. The area(s) for development are further explored in assessment task 2 and the Capstone Research unit to demonstrate the pre-service teacher’s ability to develop as an authentic and ethical reflective practitioner that can integrate theory and practice for pedagogical improvement.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2

From assessment task 1, each pre-service teacher will identify and evaluate through a self-auditing process, a professional teaching area that needs development. Analyse the area using reflections on your own practice with reference to scholarly journals and other resources that suggest how teachers can establish effective and ethical practice to enhance student learning outcomes in this area. Develop a professional learning plan based on the identification of and reflection on your professional learning needs to enhance capacity and demonstrate achievement of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate. This reflection must involve consideration of a range of collaborations, including colleagues, external professionals and parents that would support your ongoing work as a teacher. This analysis could form the basis of your research focus in the final Capstone unit.


LO1, LO4, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2014). Curriculum construction (5th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Brady, L., & Kennedy K. (2012). Assessing and reporting: Celebrating student achievement (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Clarke, M. & Pittaway, S. (2014). Marsh’s Becoming a teacher: Knowledge, skills and issues (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Churchill, R., Fergurson, P., Godinho, S., Johnson, N., Keddie, A., Letts, W., & Vick, M. (2013). Teaching: Making a difference (2nd ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons.

Fetherston, T. (2007). Becoming an effective teacher. South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Groundwater-Smith, S., Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2015). Teaching: Challenges and dilemmas (5th ed). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Hinde McLeod, J., & Reynolds, R.  (2007). Quality teaching for quality learning: Planning through reflection. South Melbourne, Vic: Thomson Social Science Press: Cengage Learning.

Killen, R. (2013). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Roffey, S. (2013). Positive relationships: Evidence based practice across the world. New York, NY: Springer.

Yates, L., Collins, C., & O’Connor, K. (2011). Australia’s curriculum dilemmas: State cultures and the big issues. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press.

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