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EDFD548 Effective Teaching and Professional Practice

Unit rationale, description and aim

In order to be effective classroom practitioners, intending teachers need a comprehensive understanding of theories and practices that underpin effective teaching and learning environments.

In this unit, participants will engage with research, scholarship and school-based professional experience that link theory with practice. They will critically address the complexities of teachers’ roles and practice, communication and interpersonal skills, planning processes and diverse teaching and assessment strategies to support the needs of diverse learners. Participants will engage with research-derived ‘core practices’ as high-leverage strategies for creating effective learning environments. They will develop strong pedagogical judgment by describing, analysing and reflecting upon current pedagogical approaches and will engage in critical reflection upon their developing professional selves as confident and effective teachers, aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. In this unit, participants are deliberately engaged multimodally, such as web enhanced environments, approximations of practice, tutorials and assessment activities, in addition to practical opportunities to apply their learning within an authentic school context.

This unit is the first in a sequence of units focussed on professional and classroom practice, and through their participation in it, participants will commence their learning to be effective and reflective classroom practitioners.

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 a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the teacher’s role and the implications for practice, including: Professional Standards; policies and processes; codes of ethics and conduct; legal and professional responsibilities; and the broader contexts of schooling (GA5, GA10; APST 6.1, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)

LO2 - identify, explain, and apply a range of effective verbal and non-verbal communication and interpersonal skills and strategies to support learner engagement and achievement, including classroom organisation, to be employed during teaching episodes (GA5; APST 3.5, 4.1, 4.2) 

LO3 - Critically examine the nexus between theories and models of human development, learning and classroom management and effective classroom practices including the ‘core practices’ literature. (GA4, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.4) 

LO4 - critically analyse and develop appropriate teaching strategies for differentiating curriculum and teaching (including the safe, ethical and responsible use of digital technologies) to identify the strengths and meet the needs of diverse learners and to support inclusive student engagement in learning (GA1, GA4, GA5; APST 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 4.5) 

LO5 - plan and evaluate learning, teaching, assessment and feedback strategies, with reference to multiple sources of evidence (GA5, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 5.1, 5.2) 

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.

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. 

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

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

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.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

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.

4.5 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.

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

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.

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.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include: 

  • The complexities of the teacher’s role and the implications for practice, including: Australian Professional Standards for teachers; organisational policies and processes; principles and codes of ethics and conduct; legal and professional responsibilities including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory reporting 
  • An overview of the national and state curriculum and key learning areas 
  • Communication and interpersonal skills in the classroom, school, and other education contexts, including providing clear directions 
  • Theories and practices of lesson planning procedures and how these impact on classroom teaching and learning  
  • Interpreting the syllabus: linkages between outcomes, teaching/learning strategies and key assessment tasks 
  • Evaluative processes to enhance teaching and learning in order to build reflective practice based on a range of sources of evidence 
  • Approaches to assessment, a range of assessment strategies and the role of feedback in learning and assessment 
  • A range of teaching strategies that support inclusive student participation and engagement in learning, including insights from Grossman’s ‘Core Practices’:  
  • Questioning and discussion processes  
  • Direct instruction  
  • Core practices, including designing lessons, explaining and modelling content and processes, facilitating guided as well as independent and group learning, facilitating discussion, and using formative assessment 
  • Explaining and modelling content 
  • Demonstrations  
  • Facilitating group work 
  • Group investigations  
  • Structured inquiry  
  • Inductive thinking  
  • Concept-attainment  
  • Problem solving  
  • Role play  
  • Advanced organisers  
  • Differentiation of content, teaching and assessment strategies to engage diverse learners, including: 
  • learners from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds 
  • learners across the full range of abilities 
  • EAL/D learners and 
  • learners from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds 
  • Strategies for organising classroom activities 
  • Basic ICT applications and ICT-based resources to enhance teaching and learning 
  • The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate - their purpose, structure and role in identifying professional learning needs 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The course of which this unit is a part is an employment-based pathway (participants in this unit will be working as employed first-year teachers) and therefore multiple modes of delivery enable participants to learn concurrently with their professional responsibilities. In this context, the continuous spiral of teaching, practice, and assessment within the authentic context of their teaching role is paramount. A social constructivist and practice-based approach to develop the participant’s understanding of effective pedagogies through active engagement and collaborative learning. It is designed to build the participant’s understanding of teaching approaches through critical reading, lecturer modelling, discussion, practice in on-campus or simulated tutorials, and professional experience.

Praxis is the central organising principle for teaching and learning within the unit, such that participants are provided with regular and consistent opportunities to apply the content within this unit to the context of professional experience. This approach aims to develop pedagogical judgment alongside essential skills, or core practices, that are critical in an employment-based pathway. The participant’s skills of planning and assessing, and his/her ability to locate and synthesise information, will be developed through designing lesson plans. Praxis will be promoted through the professional reflection task and the professional learning plan. The participant will continue to gather and reflect upon evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate.

The teaching and learning strategy described above will use an appropriate selection of approaches, including, for example:

  • Online lectures (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Face-to-face tutorials (including hands-on tutorials, discussions, peer learning and microteaching opportunities)
  • Self-directed reading and research
  • Collaborative learning opportunities;
  • Online tutorials
  • Individual in-workplace support

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed so that the participants can progressively achieve the Course Learning Outcomes and the Professional Standards. This unit focusses on acquiring pedagogical knowledge and developing the skills to assimilate conceptual knowledge in order for that knowledge to inform skills that will be applied in practice.

The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development. Through completing Task 1, the participant becomes attuned to understanding classroom practice from the perspective of the teacher, and learns skills of co-ordinating objectives, content and sequencing. Through completing Task 2, the participant engages more deeply in praxis, reflecting on a particular teaching episode and the needs of diverse learners. The participant will demonstrate knowledge of curriculum, planning and teaching strategies. In the third task, the participant extends this engagement in praxis to a plan for the future, relating prior experiences and the particular content of this unit to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These tasks exemplify the reflection-on-practice expected of a professional teacher.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Critical Reflection of Teaching and Learning


Part A: A critical reflective evaluation analysis and reflection of a teaching episode, including a description of the range of strategies used to support learner engagement and meet the needs of diverse learners, as well as the use of assessment and feedback within instruction. Articulate key understandings drawn from personal reflection and feedback provided by a colleague or mentor, and implications for practice and targeted areas for improvement, with reference to the professional standards. 

Part B: A critical reflection on observed differences in teaching and learning informed by the results of part A. Discuss and provide the rationale for changes made in practice and evaluate any differences in teaching and learning compared to the prior lesson. Critically examine the nexus between theories and practices of classroom learning, linked to teaching episodes. Draw connections between evaluative evidence from teaching episodes to identified future priorities for professional learning connected to particular aspects of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2:  

A sequence of learning activities in the pre-service teacher’s subject area. 

Construct a sequence of learning activities for an intended class showing linkages between outcomes, teaching/learning strategies and assessment tasks. 

Must include: 

  • a situational analysis of the learners: their prior learning and particular strengths and needs
  • a description of the content to be addressed
  • a range of resources and differentiated teaching strategies, including ICT, to engage learners and cater to their identified strengths and needs
  • safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT
  • an overview of key communication and classroom organisational strategies and an analysis of how these strategies would support student engagement in learning
  • an explanation of how the learning sequence differentiates the curriculum to meet the diverse needs of the students described  
  • two to three contrasting strategies to assess learning: from formal and informal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches, and strategies for providing feedback for learners


LO2, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Effective Teaching Profile and Professional Plan (CTITE 1)

Part A:  Provide an evidence-informed definition of effective teaching and its most critical characteristics (teacher practices, beliefs, characteristics, etc.)


Part B: Provide a critical reflection of your knowledge and expertise with reference to the definition of effective teaching provided in part A. Must draw connections to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and identify professional learning needs.


Part C: Create a professional development plan for an extended period (one term) that reflects a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the role of the teacher, steps to be taken to develop in identified areas, and improvement goals.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Relevant national, state and territory curriculum documents and study designs.

Archer, A. L., & Hughes, C. A. (2010). Explicit instruction: Effective and efficient teaching. Guilford Press.

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

Grossman, P. L. (2018). Teaching Core Practices in Teacher Education. Harvard Education Press

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Routledge.

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

Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. ASCD.

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

Price, K. (Ed.) (2012). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: An introduction for the teaching profession. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. D. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Boston, MA; Sydney, NSW: Pearson Education Inc.

Rosenshine, B. (2012). Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. American educator, 36(1), 12.

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