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EDET691 Effective Teaching 3: Teacher Inquiry and Evidence-based Practice


EDPP600 Critical Enquiry and Evidence-Based Practice A and EDPP601 Critical Enquiry and Evidence-Based Practice B

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit supports the ongoing induction and professional learning needs of Early Career Teachers (ECTs). It is designed to introduce ECTs to research paradigms, methodologies and methods that support critical enquiry for evidence-based practice that informs teaching and learning within classroom contexts. The unit will consider ways to collect and use a broad range of educational and assessment data, including qualitative and quantitative, to evidence teacher performance and student learning. It will prepare ECTs for the construction and implementation of an evidence-based research project using an action research approach. It is embedded within the realities of everyday teaching and challenges the ECT to undertake substantial reflective and reflexive processes in order to consolidate and expand their professional knowledge, practice and engagement. The ECT will use this critical enquiry to further develop competencies in the alignment of curriculum, assessment, learning, and teaching for the purpose of positively influencing student learning.

The unit aims to provide ECTs with knowledge about how to collect and interpret evidence from multiple sources to undertake research-informed practice which aligns curriculum, teaching and assessment within discipline areas to improve student 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 - Plan and implement a critical, ethical, evidence-based enquiry into the alignment of curriculum, assessment, learning, and teaching to enhance student learning outcomes in selected teaching areas (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.6, 4.1, 5.1, 5.4, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1)

LO2 - Interpret and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories of how students learn and the implications for teaching (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2)

LO3 - Collect, critically analyse and use a variety of data and evidence, including that derived from assessment, which relates to the impact of the ECT’s pedagogy on student learning outcomes (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 1.2, 3.6, 5.1, 5.4)

LO4 - Communicate the findings of their critical enquiry to specialist and non-specialist audiences (GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 6.3, 7.4)

Graduate attributes

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 

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 

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


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.

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

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

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.

3.6 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.

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

5.4 Demonstrate the capacity to interpret student assessment data to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

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.

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


Topics will include:

  • The nature of educational research and major approaches and designs applicable to applied educational research within professional contexts  
  • Principles and tools for identifying and critically reflecting upon high-quality research (literature reviewing, databases, bibliographic tools, research quality)  
  • Critical reflective practice, covering professional practice and student learning   
  • The ECT's role in engaging and leading contemporary debates related to curriculum, assessment, student achievement, literacy and numeracy performance
  • Practice-based enquiry, including processes and approaches to defining and justifying a research problem, researchable questions and creating a conceptual framework derived from the literature  
  • Data and evidence for teaching and learning; strategies to record, interpret and analyse qualitative and quantitative data relating to student learning and professional practice
  • Data and evidence for teaching and learning; designing assessment practices for collecting data to evaluate student learning and student perspectives on learning
  • Principles for the ethical conduct of research and enquiry, including data collection and analysis techniques commonly used in educational research 
  • Designing and managing projects; strategies for responding to researchable questions and organising research processes, timelines and data
  • Conventions of professional academic writing, including research proposals and reports  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Engagement in praxis-oriented learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum which is offered in online mode with support from academic and professional mentors. The unit will be implemented with ECTs completing a Master level (AQF9) initial teacher education program, including significant engagement in a classroom context.

In this unit, ECTs are supported in their development as critical and reflective practitioners through induction into the teaching profession. The online unit provides modularised content that focuses on research and critical reflection and enquiry as foundational teaching practices. The content will support ECTs to design and implement enquiry projects in a selected area of pedagogical practice. These modules will facilitate ECTs successfully implementing practice-based enquiry within school and classrooms contexts. Each module will provide core content, relevant readings, and support materials for applying learning to professional learning and practice. The research project will be conducted in consultation with professional and academic mentors. ECTs will engage in regular feedback discussions and proactive planning for the implementation of their enquiry. The unit will conclude with a final report on the critical enquiry research project.

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the development of knowledge and skills related to their enquiry project. Students will generally work independently on an enquiry related to their selected school and classroom context. A range of strategies will be used to support active learning, including strategically timed online tutorials, synchronous and/or asynchronous digital consultations, and discussion forums.

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between content and educational experiences.


Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and receive regular and timely feedback on their learning. They will have an opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online sessions with peers. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment in this unit focuses on developing knowledge and skills for the application of research to teaching and learning. The tasks are designed for ECTs to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. The three tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development in understanding, using and undertaking educational research. The three assessment tasks progressively build on each other to facilitate ECTs with conducting a classroom-based pedagogical enquiry. These tasks develop students' capabilities with planning an enquiry (Task 1), and communicating outcomes with professional (Task 2) and academic (Task 3) audiences. In addition, students will engage in formative progress discussions at various key junctures across the research project. These discussions will support the preparation of tasks and implementation of the project.

The tasks are weighted to reflect the significance of each task in relation to the conduct of a classroom-based enquiry with more weight given to the final reporting of the project. Students should also note that the capacity to write to the word limit is considered important to the academic process of synthesising research activity for reporting purpose. Students are expected to keep within the stated word count. Markers will stop reading when the word limit has been reached and any text beyond that will not contribute to judgements made about the criteria.      

Minimum Achievement Standards

In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all tasks. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task/s

Engage in regular formative discussions to ensure timely and appropriate completion of project design, data collection, data analysis and submission of tasks.



GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Task 1: Enquiry Project Proposal

Develop a proposal for a pedagogical enquiry designed to interrogate effective teaching and learning to meet the identified student strengths and needs for a selected class. 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Task 2: Presentation of Project and Findings

Prepare and present your enquiry-based project processes and findings to a professional audience of school teachers and/or leaders; demonstrating the nexus between critical enquiry and practice. Use your collated data and evidence to discuss the impact of your pedagogical intervention on student learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Task 3: Enquiry Project Report

Present a final project report following guidelines and conventions for reporting research.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Alber, S. (2011). A tool kit for action research. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Bullough, R.V. (2014). Toward reconstructing the narrative of teacher education: A rhetorical analysis of preparing teachers. Journal of Teacher Education. 65(3). Pp. 185-194.

Cairns, L. (2011). Learning in the workplace: Communities of practice and beyond. In M. Malloch, L. Cairns, K. Evans, & B.N. O’Connor (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of workplace learning (pp. 73-85) SAGE

Elliot, J. (Ed) (2011). Reconstructing teacher education. Routledge.

Fichtman, D.F., & Yendol-Silva, D. (2009). The reflective educator's guide to classroom research: Learning to teach and teaching to learn through practitioner inquiry (2nd ed.). Corwin Press.

Johnson, A.P. (2012). Short guide to action research. (4th ed.). Pearson

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., & Nixon, R. (2014). The action research planner: Doing critical participatory action research. Springer Singapore.

Koshy, V. (2010). Action research for improving educational practice: A step-by-step guide (2nd ed.). Sage.

Lari, P., Rose, A., Ernst, J., Clark, A., Kelly, D., & DeLuca, V. (2019). Action research. Technology and Engineering Teacher, 79(2), 23-27.

Macintyre, C. (2012). The art of action research in the classroom. David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

Shagoury, R., & Miller-Power, B. (2012). Living the questions: A guide for teacher-researchers (2nd ed.). Stenhouse Publishers.

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