Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This first Professional Experience Studies unit embodies work-integrated learning through active observation of experts from the field. Active purposeful observation within the placement will include examination of learning, teaching and engagement; critical reflection; and the development of recording skills. Prior to placement, pre-service teachers will engage in praxis-oriented learning to prepare for engagement in the placement. This will include introduction to curriculum documents, pedagogical practices and early childhood and care procedures and responsibilities for effectively supporting the learning, development and wellbeing of young children. Pre-service teachers will also develop knowledge of communication skills and observational techniques to support engagement with and of children and collate evidence of children’s learning, behaviour and development. Pre-service teachers will apply this learning through a 15-day professional placement with at least 10 days conducted in a birth to 35 months learning space and all days conducted in a setting for children 5 years and under. During placement, pre-service teachers will actively engage in the day to day activities of the education setting to support individual, small and large group learning. They should also work with/‘shadow’ the Director and/or the Educational Leader to explore educational leadership, management and administrative requirements associated with the profession.  

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 - Articulate expert understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role and the implications for practice, and the leadership and management of educational contexts including: relevant professional standards; policies and processes; codes of ethics and conduct; legal, regulatory, administrative and professional responsibilities; and the broader advocacy responsibilities within the educational context. (GA4, GA5; APST 4.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3; ACECQA D1, E3, F1, F2, F3, F4)

LO2 - Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role, the importance and sources of professional learning and alignment with Australian Professional Teaching Standards, and professional conversations that improve teaching knowledge and practice. (GA8; APST 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.4; ACECQA A8, E3)

LO3 - Apply a comprehensive range of effective verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills and strategies to support learner engagement and actively collaborate with parents and other stakeholders. (GA5; APST 3.5, 3.7, 4.1, 5.5, 7.3; ACECQA D1)

LO4 - Utilise well-developed judgements and knowledge of child development and learning implications to analyse, synthesise and develop a range of contextually appropriate learning management and pedagogical strategies that can be utilised during teaching and can be applied to the improvement of future teaching /learning programs. (GA4, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.6, 4.2, 4.3; ACECQA C2, C3, C4)

LO5 - Use a range of techniques to observe and analyse learning and teaching and critically reflect on key features of teaching, learning and assessment relevant to children/students in the setting. (GA10; APST 1.2, 3.2, 3.6, 4.2, 4.3, 7.3; ACECQA A1, B1, B9, C2, C3)

LO6 - Participate in, and at times lead, the planning and implementation of individual and group learning experiences using relevant curriculum documents and appropriate pedagogical practices, making professional and informed judgements to set appropriate learning goals and to effectively support children’s learning and development. (GA1, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 4.4; ACECQA A1, B1, B9, C1, C2, C3)

Graduate attributes

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

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 

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.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

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.

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

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.

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.

4.3 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

In the first professional experience unit pre-service teachers will explore and develop towards meeting APST 1, 3, 6 and 7. 

ACECQA Curriculum Specifications

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

A Child development and care

A1 Learning, Development and Care

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

B Education and curriculum studies

B1 Early Years Learning Framework

B9 Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C Teaching pedagogies

C1 Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C2 Play based pedagogies

C3 Guiding behaviour/engaging young learners

C4 Teaching methods and strategies

D Family and community contexts

D1 Developing family and community partnerships

E History and philosophy of early childhood

E3 Ethics and professional practice

F Early childhood professional practice

F1 Educational leadership

F2 Management and administration

F3 Professional identity and development

F4 Advocacy


Topics covered in praxis-oriented learning will include:

  • Complexities of the teacher’s role and the implications for practice, including: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST); ACECQA expectations, National Quality Standards and regulations, organisational policies and processes; principles and codes of ethics and conduct; legal and professional responsibilities including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory reporting
  • Professional learning, including: sources of professional learning and feedback, and reflective self-auditing practices to assess progression towards the APST: Graduate level
  • Education settings, routines, dynamics and practices for supporting effective teaching and learning with young children
  • Strategies for supporting participation and engagement of diverse learners in early learning settings
  • Communication strategies with students, parents/carers and colleagues as a professional in the field, including to gain feedback for current and future practice
  • Observational techniques that support the collection and analysis of data and evidence about learners, contexts and other educational stakeholders
  • Curriculum documents for setting learning outcomes and experiences in early learning settings
  • Micro-teaching practices that support individual and small group learning experiences
  • Strategies for promoting effective learning and positive behaviour, including: attention gaining techniques, voice projection and variability, use of verbal and non-verbal communication and proximity reinforcement
  • Strategies for reflecting on the effectiveness of teaching to appraise the learning of young children and modify subsequent teaching 

Questions to be explored by the pre-service teacher during the professional experience placement include:

  • What are the practices of a professional?
  • How do professionals in this context use verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills to promote engagement of and with learners?
  • How does learning happen and what promotes learner development?
  • How do teachers establish a positive, safe and supportive learning environment?
  • How are teachers and other professionals supporting and optimising learning?
  • How does educational research and theory help in investigating learners and learning?
  • How do teachers and other professionals use data to inform learning and teaching?
  • How do teachers establish, organise, maintain and use records of learning development and achievement to ensure accuracy, validity and reliability?
  • How do teachers engage with families and parents/carers to support learners?
  • What sources of professional learning are available to support development as a teacher?

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Professional Experience at ACU is bound in work-integrated learning theories where pre-service teachers experience the everyday reality of education settings and teaching and bring together ideas and theories from a coherent program of praxis-oriented learning. Praxis-oriented learning will engage pre-service teachers with theories, philosophies and real world examples of classroom practice. Through immersion in the field pre-service teachers will examine the nexus between theory and practice by knowing, doing and being in the context.

Pre-service teachers will build conceptual and theoretical understandings of teaching practice through a range of technology-enhanced learning teaching and learning strategies and experiences. 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, pre-service teachers will develop knowledge and understanding of professional engagement, communication and observational strategies, techniques and investigative tools to apply to understanding educational contexts, professional roles and responsibilities, and relationships with individuals (children, parents/carers and teachers) and other education stakeholders.

Pre-service teachers will apply their developing knowledge and understanding of professional practice through engagement for an extended time in a selected professional placement. Opportunities for pre-service teachers to apply, exercise, realise and practise knowledges and skills will occur during professional experience. For EDFX533, the placement must include a minimum of 15 days within an early childhood service that caters for children birth to 35 months and is normally provided as 5 individual days followed by a 10-day block. 10 days must be undertaken with children birth to 35 months. During the professional experience placement, pre-service teachers should initiate active interaction and engagement in the educational space through observing, questioning and communicating with learners, families, teachers and other professionals and stakeholders. They will collate evidence of the development of their knowledge and understanding of leadership, administrative and management responsibilities of teachers within an early childhood service.

The praxis-oriented engagement encompassed in this unit is also aligned with, reinforces and authenticates learning outcomes and content explored in the Education Studies unit typically scheduled in the same semester. Opportunities to observe children aged 3-5 years will facilitate learning and assessment in EDFD533.

Recommended progression of professional experience engagement

Single Days - Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 1-3

  • Observation and active participation in small group teaching; assisting the class teacher in the teaching and learning process, plus managing class routines
  • Observation of teachers in the learning context, their teaching and practices, management of education settings and individuals
  • Exploration of educational leadership, management and administrative requirements associated with the profession.
  • Exploration of approaches to transition and continuity of learning within and across early childhood learning contexts
  • Observe communication skills that the teacher uses with children/students, parents and other staff

Days 4-5

  • One learning experience per day focusing on an individual
  • One learning experience per day that introduces or reinforces a concept or addressing a learning need for a small group
  • Ongoing observation of teachers in the education setting, their teaching and practices, management of contexts and individuals
  • Exploration of educational leadership, management and administrative requirements associated with the profession
  • Exploration of approaches to transition and continuity of learning within and across early childhood learning contexts


Block Professional Experience - Proposed Teaching Expectations

Day 6

  • Plan, prepare and implement learning experiences informed by observations that support young children’s interests

Days 7-8

  • Plan, prepare, teach and reflect on two learning experiences per day

Midpoint professional conversation with Supervising/Mentoring teacher and review of Interim report

Days 9-10

  • Plan, prepare, teach and reflect on two learning experiences per day
  • Take responsibility for managing some individual and whole group routines

Days 11-15

  • Engage in half day continuous teaching including management of transitions and whole group routines.
  • Conduct observations of the practices of the professional teacher
  • Reflection, self-auditing and evaluation.

Final report and professional conversation 

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 through achievement against the unit learning outcomes. The Professional Experience Studies units in this course focus on developmentally building knowledge of and skills in professional teaching knowledge, practice and engagement across four placements. Progressively, pre-service teachers develop professional knowledge and understanding of teaching; gather evidence of development towards achieving the Graduate Teacher Standards (APST: Graduate level) and knowledge of Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) requirements; and engage professionally in placement context to demonstrates appreciation for the values, norms and practices of the teaching profession.  

In each Professional Experience Studies unit, the assessment is designed to focus on performance in the professional experience placement in two ways: i) assessment of the praxis-oriented learning focus for the unit; and ii) assessment of the pre-service teacher’s progressive development towards competent professional practice as demonstrated by meeting the Graduate Teacher Standards. The two identified tasks are equally weighted to reflect the connectedness and significance of each of these purposes to the pre-service teacher’s professional learning.  

In EDFX533, the praxis-oriented assessment focuses on developing and applying observational skills and the collection and analysis of data and evidence of learning and teaching within educational settings (Task 1). To allow for feedback and development this task is submitted in two parts, before and after the placement.  

The development of professional practice across the four Professional Experience units is assessed by triangulating the same three sources of evidence each time (Task 2). These provide different perspectives on performance through a:

  1. report from the supervising teacher in the selected placement context;
  2. report from the tertiary supervisor allocated to support the pre-service teacher; and
  3. self-audit and professional learning plan for the following placement, supported by a portfolio of evidence, as prepared by the pre-service teacher.

A developmental sequence for meeting the Graduate Teacher Standards has been designed to align with pre-service teacher professional learning in the context of the praxis-orientation of the unit. In EDFX533, the pre-service teacher should demonstrate some development across all seven APST and must meet the minimum standard for the one GTS listed as developed above (6.3).

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.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task  

Compulsory online modules and other jurisdictional requirements. (see below) 

Pre-service teachers will not commence placement until all modules and legal requirements have been met.


LO1, LO2


Assessment Task 1

Praxis-Oriented Assessment: Observation 

Part ATheoretical investigation

Research investigation exploring observational techniques, data and evidence for informing teaching and learning.

Part B: Authentic praxis engagement – plan, implement and reflect 

Design, conduct and critically reflect on three observations protocols considering their effectiveness in teaching for learning.


Part A: 20%

Part B: 30%

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Professional Experience Assessment

Outcome will be assessed with reference to submitted:

Final Report from the supervising teacher/s;

Report from the tertiary supervisor; and 

Professional learning plan, with self-audit and portfolio of evidence.


LO2, LO3, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA5, GA8, GA10

Required Preparation for Professional Placement Hurdle Components

Pre-service teachers must provide evidence that all components have been completed prior to commencing the professional placement.

1. Professional Experience Preparation Modules; attaining a score of 95% or above in each module.

The modules cover:

  • Professional Standards
  • Professional ethics and expectations
  • Legal requirements, including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting
  • Professional relationships.

2. Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Modules; attaining a score of 75% or above in each module.

3. Mandatory Jurisdictional Requirements

Pre-service teachers must also provide evidence of all, including but not limited to:

  • Anaphylaxis training
  • Working with Children Check and/or a Police Check

Representative texts and references

When engaging in a specific placement context students will need to identify and access relevant curriculum documentation for the state and sector in which you have been placed. For example, in a Victorian context students will be required to use the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) in early childhood or the Victorian Curriculum in primary. Students should ensure that they are familiar with identified documentation prior to commencing their placement. 

Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Being, belonging and becoming: Early years learning framework for Australia. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.

Ailwood, J., Boyd, W., & Theobald, M. (2016). Understanding early childhood education and care in Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Clark, A. (2010). Transforming children’s spaces. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Ebbeck, M., & Waniganayake, M. (2016). Play in early childhood education: Learning in Diverse contexts (2nd 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. Frenchs Forest, NSW:

Foreman, P. (2017). Inclusion in action (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia

McArdle, F., Gibson, M., & Zollo, L. (2015). Being an early childhood educator: Bringing theory and practice together. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

McCrea, N. L. (2015). Leading and managing early childhood settings. Inspiring people, places and practices. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

McLachlan, C., Fleer, M., & Edwards, S. (2018). Early childhood curriculum : Planning, assessment and implementation (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Roopnarine, J. (2012) Approaches to early childhood education (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education  

Szarkowicz, D. (2006). Observations and reflections in childhood. South Melbourne, Vic: Thomson.

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