Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is based on recent and significant insights from developmental and educational psychology to assist pre-service teachers to understand learners, learning and teaching. Pre-service teachers will critically engage with theory and research about child development and learning and the implications for teaching. Effective teaching requires both deep understanding of theory and the ability to apply this theoretical knowledge to solve complex problems. The focus of this unit is to equip pre-service teachers with the theoretical knowledge of child development and learning and the ability to critically apply this knowledge to create environments that best support student development and learning. The unit also builds knowledge of factors that influence and support learners from diverse contexts including learners from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and the implications for inclusive teaching strategies. The unit focuses on using observational skills as the basis for interpretative analysis of: learner strengths and needs across cognitive, physical, and social domains; and learner behaviour in learning environments. Pre-service teachers will critically reflect on observations to identify strategies for providing inclusive learning opportunities responsive to learner abilities, behaviours, strengths and needs with reference to curriculum guidelines, including the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum. Pre-service teachers will develop an informed understanding of the teacher's role in: creating effective, challenging and inclusive learning environments; and implementing effective teaching strategies that facilitate learning.

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 and apply a research informed, critical understanding of children’s developmental domains, characteristics, behaviour and learning abilities, using human development and learning theories, covering birth to 12 (GA4, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 4.1, 4.3; ACEQA A1, A2, A3, E2)

LO2 - critically analyse research, concepts, and principles related to major learning and human development theories to understand the implications of each theory for a range of learning environments, inclusive teaching practices and learning approaches (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 4.1, 4.3; ACEQA A1, A2, A3, C1, C3, C4, C5, C6, E1, E2)

LO3 - articulate a critical understanding of factors that influence and support learners from diverse contexts, including learners from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, and the implications for inclusive teaching strategies (GA1, GA3, GA4; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 4.2, 4.3, 7.3; ACEQA A6, C1, C3, C4, C5, D1, D3, D5)

LO4 - critically examine and synthesise social constructivist approaches to learning and teaching, to inform the development of strategies that are responsive to the strengths, needs, behaviour and engagement of diverse learners for the promotion of the common good and a just and equitable society (GA8; APST 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 4.1; ACECQA A4, A6, A7, D1, D3, D4, D5, E2)

LO5 - demonstrate emergent skills and understanding of a range of observational and analysis techniques to develop records of student learning and behaviour that will effectively inform differentiated teaching and pedagogical practices to support children’s diverse behavior, development and participation across a broad range of learning abilities and challenges (GA2, GA3, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.5, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3; ACECQA A1, A3, A5, D2, E1).

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 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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:

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.

On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed understandings and practices that: 

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

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.

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. 

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

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

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.


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

A1 Learning, Development and Care

A2 Language development

A3 Social and Emotional Development

A4 Child health, wellbeing and safety

A5 Early intervention

A6 Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A7 Transition and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

C1 Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C3 Guiding behaviour and engaging young learners

C4 Teaching methods and strategies

C5 Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C6 Working with children who speak languages other than or in addition to English

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

E1 Historical and Comparative Perspectives of Childhood

E2 Contemporary theories and practice


This unit is based on an understanding that development, learning and behaviour of individual children are processes that are situated in complex and diverse sociocultural contexts.

Topics will include:

Learner characteristics and development and how these may affect learning, behaviour, participation and engagement

  • Age-level socio-cognitive and emotional characteristics
  • Theories of psychosocial, emotional and cognitive development
  • Challenges and behaviours from birth to 12.
  • Understanding learner differences in ability, development learning and behaviour across the full range of abilities; including gifted and talented and learners with disabilities 
  • Factors that influence and support learners from diverse backgrounds including learners from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds

Learning theories and applications for teaching and learning and development of self-regulation

  • Behavioural and social cognitive theories and how they apply to development and learning
  • Information-processing theory, neurological development, memory and learning strategies
  • Constructivist approaches to learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Applications and implications of new technologies for assisting learning

Creating effective learning environments for inclusive participation and engagement

  • Curriculum and Learning Frameworks: Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and relevant kindergarten guidelines and Australian Curriculum
  • Models of how children learn with peers, in groups and individually 
  • Developing learner-centred strategies for inclusive participation and meeting learner strengths and needs
  • Developing learner-centred strategies for metacognition and reflection 
  • Motivating and engaging learners; approaches to supporting positive behaviour
  • Approaches to managing challenging behaviour

Strategies for identifying specific learner needs to support inclusive participation and engagement

  • Using research and theories in learning, behaviour and development
  • Safe, ethical and confidential practices for working with children and their parents/carers
  • Narrative observation and interpretations; including data, evidence and analysis of development, learning and behaviour
  • Case study methodologies; evidence-based strategies for understanding learners, learning, behaviour and development
  • Models of critical reflection and collaboration

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum which is offered in online mode. A range of teaching and learning strategies are employed to reflect technology-enhanced learning in developing pre-service teachers’ knowledge and understanding of learners, contexts, behaviour and development and the implications for inclusive teaching strategies and learning environments. These include synchronous and/or asynchronous digital engagement in: interactive learning activities and experiences; student-led discussion forums and group work; directed reading activities; and ICT as a pedagogical tool for learning and assessment. In particular, activities and resources will facilitate pre-service teachers accessing, organising, presenting and analysing data and evidence of learners and their learning and behaviour within sociocultural and educational contexts.

The development of broad knowledge about learners, contexts, behaviour and development is then applied through work-integrated learning that is usually mediated through the related placement unit, EDFX533. Pre-service teachers will apply observational strategies to work ethically with children and their families to critically analyse and reflect on learner strengths and needs for the purpose of identifying strategies for promoting positive learner behaviour and development. In this way, the planned teaching and learning will draw on the ethical, theoretical and practical considerations of this unit for professional practice.

Technology Enhanced Learning  

The online teaching and learning in this unit will be offered via a LEO unit site. Lectures, lecture summaries and/or tutorial activities may be recorded to support student learning. Pre-service teachers will be notified when an activity is being recorded prior to the commencement of the activity. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating academic and professional standards. The Education Studies units in this course focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of ACECQA criteria and the APST: Graduate level. In EDFD591 the assessment focuses on practising strategies that enable the teacher to apply broad knowledge of contexts, learning, behaviour and development to identify and respond to the needs and contexts of specific learners. The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in: demonstrating knowledge of contexts, learning and development (Task 1); applying knowledge of learners and their contexts to positively foster and manage challenging behaviour in educational settings (Task 2); and applying observational skills in a case study that uses a broad analysis of a learner’s context, strengths, behaviours and needs to identify strategies appropriate for working with the learner in their context (Task 3).  

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements. (

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for pre-service teachers to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks.

Critical Tasks for Initial Teacher Education (CTITE): This unit includes a Critical Task for Initial Teacher Education (CTITE). This is one of a set of tasks developed as culminating assessment of the Graduate Teacher Standards (APST: Graduate) for use with all pre-service teachers at ACU. To pass this CTITE pre-service teachers will need to successfully demonstrate all Graduate Teacher Standards that are summatively mapped to this task. The description, criteria, standards and moderation of these tasks are mapped across the course to facilitate consistent and comparable judgements. Pre-service teacher data from these tasks is used to confirm achievement of the Graduate Teacher Standards, validate the tasks and evaluate and improve programs.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Multimedia Presentation; Critical Reflection on Child Development 

Critical analysis and synthesis of  theories of learning and teaching children from birth to 12 years. , including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds,


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2

CTITE1: Critical Reflective Analysis; Fostering Positive Behaviour 

Research paper on inclusive strategies for fostering positive engagement and managing challenging behaviour for learners (Birth-12) from diverse contexts and with a variety of needs.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3

Case Study; Observing Learning and Development

Use data and evidence, including narrative observations, from the professional experience placement to: prepare a critical case study of a child’s development and learning within their sociocultural context; and recommend strategies for promoting engagement and working with parents/carers to respond to identified learning strengths and needs.


LO4, LO5

GA2, GA3, GA5, GA8

CTITE1: Critical Reflective Analysis; Fostering Positive Behaviour

Prepare a research paper that critically analyses a development or learning issue or topic within the area of fostering positive and managing challenging behaviour to support the inclusion and participation of diverse learners. The paper should draw on literature relevant to: development, inclusion and diversity, learning environments, management and pedagogical practice. It should also consider the ethical and professional responsibilities of teachers in working with children and families and illustrate how various strategies can be applied in practice to foster positive behaviours in the learning context.

The critical analysis should synthesise pedagogies and partnerships for:

  • Effective provision of learning opportunities 
  • Inclusion and support for individuals and their families 
  • Use of a range of strategies to manage the classroom context 

Representative texts and references

Required Text

Berk, L. E. (2016). Infants children and adolescents (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education. 

Recommended References

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

Fleer, M., Edwards, S., Hammer, M., Kennedy, A., Ridgway, A., Robbins, J., & Surman, L. (2006). Early childhood learning communities: Socio-cultural research in practice. French’s Forest, NSW: Pearson.

Gordon, A.M., & Williams-Browne, K. (2017). Beginnings and beyond: Foundations in early childhood education (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2018). Development through life: A psychosocial approach (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Petersen, C. (2014). Looking forward through the lifespan: Developmental psychology (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Price, K. (Ed.) (2015). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: An introduction for the teaching profession (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Robinson, G., Eickelkamp, U., & Katx, I. (Eds). (2008). Contexts of child development: Culture, policy and intervention. Darwin, NT: Charles Darwin University Press.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

Santrock, J. W. (2014). Child development: An introduction (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.  

Verhellen, E. (2006). Convention on the rights of the child. Antwerp, Belgium: Garant.

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