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POLS140 The Global Citizen: Civics and Citizenship in a Changing World

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit will focus on development of pre-service teachers’ knowledge and skills related to teaching of humanities in primary school educational contexts. Particular focus will be given to the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences and other appropriate and relevant curriculum documents/frameworks related to history, geography, civics and citizenship, economics and business. Through this unit pre-service teachers will be given opportunities to enhance their capacity to make connections with prior learning and apply critical analysis to the various elements of society that contribute to an informed humanities curriculum, such as environments, time, change and continuity, culture, identity, and systems, resources and power. Emphasis is placed on particular strategies and techniques such as inquiry learning and the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to support learning opportunities. Pre-service teachers will develop an enhanced knowledge and broad range of skills to plan, implement, assess and report on social science/humanities learning and teaching in primary school settings. This will include an understanding of the importance of using knowledge of students to evaluate their learning and implementing appropriate adjustments to planning and teaching.

This unit aims to provide pre-service teachers with the knowledge and skills related to the teaching of humanities in primary school educational contexts, enhancing their capacity to apply critical analysis to the various elements of society that contribute to an informed humanities curriculum, such as environments, time, change and continuity, culture, identity, and systems, resources and power.

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 - Display an in-depth understanding of the conceptual knowledge and rationales of the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences. and other relevant documents and resources at national and state/territory levels (GA2; APST 2.1)

LO2 - Research, evaluate and critically analyse a range of pedagogical approaches and teaching resources (including enquiry based learning and the ethical use of ICTs), and how these connect to the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences and other relevant curricula (GA3, GA9; APST 2.1, 2.6, 3.3, 3.4)

LO3 - Demonstrate broad knowledge and skill to implement and modify content and teaching strategies, and effectively and consistently assess and report on student learning (GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.3, 5.1, 5.4, 5.5)

LO4 - Plan well sequenced developmentally, culturally appropriate units of work which are inclusive in the selection of content and resources and which take account of students’ different abilities, learning styles and needs (GA3, GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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:

1.3 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. 

2.1 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.

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.

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.

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.


Topics will include:

  • Core rationales for Social Science/Humanities education in the primary school within the context of the Australian Goals for Schooling and Young Australians and the National Quality Framework
  • Indigenous perspectives about learning and the Social Sciences/Humanities curriculum
  • Studies of Asia and Asian perspectives which examine concepts of global interdependence, cultural identity and economic relationships
  • Global education perspectives, identity, interdependence, equity and cultural understanding
  • Civics and citizenship education and social justice in a democratic society
  • Integrative curriculum approaches to teaching Social Science/Humanities (particularly) within current and relevant curriculum documents and frameworks. This would include:
  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Economics and Business in the upper primary
  • Sustainability – economic, environment and social
  • Use of ICT pedagogies to support student learning
  • Planning, implementation, assessment, evaluation and reporting strategies
  • The appropriate selection, usage and evaluation of resources and inquiry based models for teaching Social Science/Humanities education in primary school
  • Strategies to access and effectively use community resources for authentic learning.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings may be required.


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

The total 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

The assessment will comprise of two parts:

Part A Unit Plan (Group)

Pre-service teachers, in groups of 3-4, are to prepare a unit of work from the Australian Curriculum or relevant State based resources for Years F-6. It must demonstrate pre-service teachers’ ability to plan, develop and implement a unit of work, meeting the needs of diverse learners, from the syllabus and be underpinned by inquiry principles. Pre-service teachers should demonstrate a variety of pedagogical strategies and develop resources ready for classroom use to teach this unit. Clear evidence of cross-curriculum priorities as well as literacy and numeracy and the ethical use of ICT should be embedded within the work. Processes of record keeping and strategies for feedback and reporting to students and their parents/carers need to be included. The unit of work can be submitted as a hardcopy/ web developed resource/combination of the two.

Part B

Individual participants are to select and develop a detailed lesson plan from the Unit of Work. This lesson should incorporate sound inquiry pedagogy and demonstrate clear links to the overall unit and syllabus document. Original classroom ready resources to teach the lesson must be included. Strategies to develop literacy, numeracy, ICT as well as cross-curricular priorities should be evident within the lesson plan.

Equivalent to 2,000 words

50% total (A 30%, B 20%)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA8, GA9

Assessment 2: Choice - For the purposes of national moderation all campuses must select the same task

One major (50%) or two minor (20% and 30%) tasks, for example:

1.    Critical discussion paper in which students consider:

  •  the purpose and key influences of humanities teaching in primary school
  • conceptual knowledge and rationale of humanities curricula
  •  national and state curriculum documents
  • pedagogical approaches appropriate to the teaching of humanities
  •  relevant elements of society and ways in which these contribute to an informed humanities curriculum.

This critical discussion paper can be incorporated as a research paper (2,000 words) or examination during the official examination period. OR

2.    Presentation of unit of work developed in Task 1 to the tutorial group by individuals demonstrating pedagogical and content knowledge. Students are required to implement one or several activities to the group (15 mins).


3.    Creation of a digital learning resource (website) on a community resource (weebly, wordpress) with links to current and relevant curriculum documents. Covering all key elements of the unit the assessment engages students to think critically about current issues facing humanities education, engagement with Web 2.0 resources and establishment of collegial working environments. Students are to develop a portfolio of ready to use classroom resources for a selected stage, and content strand. Depending on weighting resources should effectively teach at minimum 3 week case study up to 5 week unit of work.

(Equivalent to 2,000 words)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Relevant national, state and territory curriculum documents primary settings

Australian Curriculum – History

Australian Curriculum – Geography

(Note: State-based jurisdictions [i.e.: NSW] would utilise the NSW Board of Studies equivalent syllabus document as the curriculum authority.)

Australian Curriculum – Economics & Business (Years 5 and 6)

Australian Curriculum – Civics & Citizenship (Years 3-6)

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

Browett, J., & Ashman, G. (2008). Thinking globally: Global perspectives in the early years classroom. Carlton South, Vic: Curriculum Corporation.

Gilbert, R. (Ed.). (2012). Studying society and environment. South Melbourne, Vic: Macmillan Education.

Gilbert, R., & Hoepper, B. (Eds) (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences: History, geography, economics and citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Marsh, C., & Hart, C. (2011). Teaching the social sciences and humanities in an Australian curriculum (6th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Munn, K. (2005). Focus on Australian topics: Ages 8-10. South Yarra, Vic: Macmillan Education Australia.

Reynolds, R. (2014). Teaching history, geography & SOSE in the primary school (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University press.

Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewalt, J., & Boon, D. (2012). Place and time: Explorations in teaching history and Geography. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Zajda, J. (2009). Society and the environment: Teaching SOSE. Albert Park, Vic: James Nicholas Publishers

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