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EDFX241 Education Studies and Professional Experience 1: Becoming a Teacher

Unit rationale, description and aim

Teachers and schools need to be proactive rather than reactive in establishing and maintaining learning environments. As such, a major focus for this unit is exploring the role of the classroom teacher and the school community in developing and implementing appropriate curriculum and management strategies within classrooms and across the whole school.

The unit is underpinned by a commitment to excellence and equity, referenced to a teacher’s duty of care. It develops pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills to meet relevant professional requirements, communication and interpersonal skills. There will be a focus on intercultural understandings and promoting respectful relationships, in working with students, parents and colleagues. Through various perspectives of teaching practice explored in partnership with the university and school communities, pre-service teachers will develop an understanding of a range of pedagogical practices and approaches with particular reference to the importance of creating quality learning environments aligned to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers framework.

This unit aims to enable pre-service teachers to gain deeper perspectives and understandings of classrooms, with particular reference to managing student behaviour and developing explicit strategies for effective teaching and 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 an understanding of and apply principles of teaching for excellence and equity that align with relevant frameworks and policy of schools, classroom practice and community, recognising the diversity of the contemporary classroom (GA1, GA3; GA5, GA6; APST 1.5, 3.1, 4.1, 4.4, 7.1, 7.2)

LO2 - exhibit an understanding of teaching and learning of resilience through the development of positive and respectful relationships including the responsible and ethical use of ICT (GA1, GA5; APST 4.1, 4.4, 4.5)

LO3 - identify, select and reflect on a range of strategies that respond to the learning needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds in order to create positive learning environments (GA1, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.5, 3.1, 3.3, 4.1, 4.2)

LO4 - develop and implement practical strategies that provide appropriate and timely feedback to students, including both verbal and non-verbal communication to manage behaviour within classrooms and whole-school contexts (GA1, GA5; APST 3.5, 4.4, 5.2)

LO5 - reflect critically upon teaching processes and classroom management strategies used in the context of the various learning environments through Professional Experience as a means to develop and refine professional practice (GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 2.1, 2.2, 6.1, 6.3)

LO6 - establish links between the theoretical perspectives considered during education and professional studies undertaken at University and professional experience in schools (GA3, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 6.3)

LO7 - design and implement learning sequences and lesson plans/activities that use curriculum knowledge, a range of resources including ICT strategies and behaviour management principles that engage students in their learning (GA5; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4).

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


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.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

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

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

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

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

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.

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.3 Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.

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

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.


Topics will include:

  • The difference between a skill and a strategy in lesson planning and teaching practice
  • Teaching and learning strategies that enhance quality teaching that promote respectful, challenging and supportive learning environments for all students, including:
  • Whole group instruction
  • Cooperative learning
  • Direct instruction
  • Inquiry learning
  • Building resilience
  • Encouraging risk taking and responding positively to failure
  • Assisting students who struggle
  • Challenging and extending student learning eg contracts, goal setting, self-directed learning
  • Promoting respectful and positive interactions for students and teachers
  • Managing the classroom environment
  •  Use of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to engage students and manage classrooms eg proximity reinforcement; facial expressions; praise; student feedback
  • Exploring cultural practices eg ways of showing respect – no eye contact, no touch
  • Creating resources that support ICT-focused, student-centred, collaborative and student-led learning.
  • Legal responsibilities – Duty of Care and other legislative requirements
  • Reflective practices that support the continuous development of a repertoire of strategies for teaching in diverse contexts
  • Lesson planning procedures for extended practice – eg morning activities/ afternoon; transitioning from one lesson to the next
  • Strategies for evaluating teaching and assessing learning and how these impact on practice.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will consist of three contact hours or equivalent each week and a minimum of 15 days in a mainstream school setting. The unit will integrate understandings and skills developed and practiced in ‘on campus’ and ‘in school’ experiences, discussions, readings, individual study and critical reflections. A variety of learning-teaching strategies will be used including:

  • face-to-face lectures, supported through some online delivery of content
  • workshop/tutorials where teaching strategies are analysed.

Integral to the unit will be the undertaking of a minimum of 15 days in a mainstream primary school setting for each pre-service teacher. A minimum of five single days will be taken in the first half of the 12 week semester followed by a minimum of a 10-day block in the second half of the semester. 

This experience will involve:

  • taking on aspects of the primary school teacher's role and responsibilities, as appropriate.
  • developing lesson plans/activities and implementing these with the professional experience class (see table)
  • guided practice with structured feedback of the skills and strategies explored within this unit for teaching concerned with promoting respectful, challenging and supportive learning environments with individual students and the whole class
  • being actively engaged in professional reflective conversations with peers, mentor/associate teacher and university colleagues
  • collecting appropriate artifacts and annotating these for the maintenance of self-auditing of professional learning needs within the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate framework and digital portfolio of professional practice commenced in Education studies unit 1.

Participants should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit plus the field experience requirements identified below.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. Pre-service teachers must achieve a pass in the professional experience component of the unit in order to satisfactorily complete this unit. If a fail grade is determined in professional experience, regardless of the marks achieved in the other assessment tasks, this will result in a fail for the entire unit. The student will also fail the unit if the grade for the combination of assessment tasks is a fail. Pre-service teachers who fail this unit will be asked to ‘show cause’ and their enrolment in the course will be terminated if the unit is failed twice.


Minimum Achievement Standards

In order to pass this unit, participants are required to submit or participate in all assessment tasks as well as successfully engage in and complete the professional experiences of this unit.

The total of 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

Essay/Case study

Pre-service teachers will critically analyse and reflect on the need for fostering a classroom learning environment that is based on effective teacher-student engagement and building positive relationships. Pre-service teachers will outline the specific strategies they would use in the classroom to make learning engaging, accessible and positive.

Pre-service teachers will refer to their own teaching context and reflect reading from a range of sources including unit references, school-based professional experience, journal articles school policy documents and relevant legislative requirements.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2

APST ePortfolio: (1,000 – 1,500 words) Reflective report.

Further development of self–auditing to enhance professional growth using the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate as a framework. Select one Standard from 1-4 with its listed focus areas/descriptors. Evaluate your progress in the achievement of this standard identifying your current strengths and areas of practice for development based on experiences drawn from the Day-a-week Professional Experience. Artifacts representative of each focus area within the standard, based on experience from the Day-a-Week visits, must be provided as annotated evidence with justification for their inclusion.


LO5, LO6

GA3, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 3

Professional Experience Assessment

Professional Experience requirements include a compilation of evidence as required.

(Refer to attached Professional Experience Handbook and Report).

Compilation of evidence will include:

  • structured observation and analysis of school and classroom contexts
  • preparation for all teaching episodes including the setting of goals, outcomes, content, assessment criteria catering to a variety of abilities and characteristics
  • relevant teaching resources
  • critical reflection on own teaching experiences
  • feedback from supervising teacher/s and university staff.

This evidence must be compiled into a well-presented and well-organised Professional Experience folder, which must be updated on a daily basis throughout the placement.

Artifacts and reflections should provide evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate, and can be included in the ePortfolio.

A pass or fail grade will be awarded for completion of the professional experience days

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Barbour, C., Barbour, N. & Scully, P. (2011). Families, schools, and communities: Building partnerships for educating children (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Charles, C.M. (2014.) Building classroom discipline (11th ed. International edition). Boston: Pearson Education.

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

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

Killen, R. (2012). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (6th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Cengage Learning.

Levin, J., & Nolan, J. (2014). Principles of classroom management: A professional decision-making model (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Lyons, G., Ford, M., & Slee, J. (2014). Classroom management: Creating positive learning environments (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Marsh, C. (2010). Becoming a teacher: Knowledge, skills and issues (5th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education.

McDonald, T. (2013). Classroom management: Engaging students in learning (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.

Roffey, S. (2011). Changing behaviours in schools: Promoting positive relationships and wellbeing. London, England: Sage publications.

Rogers, W. (2011). You know the fair rule: Strategies for positive and effective behavior management and discipline in schools (3rd ed.). Camberwell, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

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