Credit points


Campus offering

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EDSS290 Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment (F-6) OR EDSS299 Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment in Humanities and Social Sciences Education

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is designed to meet the requirements for a primary specialisation in Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) education F-6. Particular focus is given to advancing pre-service teachers’ understandings of best practice in primary teaching and will be developed through inquiry learning and assessment. This unit is underpinned by the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences framework, and relevant state-based documents related to history, geography, civics and citizenship, economics and business.

In this unit, pre-service teachers will analyse central concepts in Humanities education to structure and resource learning experiences to progress each child’s social, environmental and experiential learning. Pre-service teachers will undertake an investigation project in a focus area of choice from the HASS/relevant state-based curriculum. Additionally, this unit expands pre-service teachers’ understanding of and skills in key learning areas (KLA) integration, literacy, numeracy and critical thinking. A deeper engagement with pedagogical practice through inquiry, action-based research and problem-based learning promotes a permeable classroom with links to real-world issues important to developing critical and creative students as active and informed citizens.

The aim of this unit is to provide pre-service teachers with enhanced pedagogical and discipline specific knowledge, enabling them to be available within their schools to assist other teachers with the knowledge and expertise to effectively teach HASS.

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 - Identify and critically assess a diverse range of topics and issues locally, nationally or globally relevant to best practice HASS primary teaching and learning (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7; APST 2.1)

LO2 - Evaluate and apply a range of resources and ICT based materials to support Inquiry learning (GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 2.2, 2.6, 3.4)

LO3 - Critically discuss inquiry as a pedagogical approach to humanities education and application to a social justice issue (GA5; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1)

LO4 - Critically examine through key national and international research, an issue or wicked problem with social justice implications of relevance to primary HASS that is of relevance to Primary-aged students (GA3, GA8; APST 1.3, 1.4, 2.4, 2.5, 3.2)

Graduate attributes

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

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

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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.

1.4 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. 

2.1 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.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

2.5 Know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas.

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

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

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


Topics will include:

  • The role of the teacher in a HASS classroom. Constructivist pedagogical approaches and their application to practice:
  • Inquiry as pedagogy
  • Action research in Humanities classrooms
  • Understanding by Design
  • Problem based learning
  • Conceptual inquiry
  • Integrating curriculum KLAs into HASS
  • Creating meaningful questions for inquiry
  • Integrating general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, critical and creative thinking as part of HASS
  • Differentiation and inclusion strategies in Inquiry learning
  • The environmental movement in Australia
  • Emergence of sustainable practices & their role in future shaping
  • Historical thinking and inquiry
  • Civics and action-based research to promote active and informed citizenry
  • Core History content
  • Core Geography content
  • Economics and business
  • Social justice and equity issues in HASS
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural contexts and reconciliation
  • Social contexts and the role HASS can play in social justice
  • Promoting an equitable and just future in HASS education

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is based on a Constructivist approach that recognises that learning builds on pre-existing understandings and is shaped by a learner’s sociocultural context. In line with the chosen learning and teaching strategy, this unit includes: content delivery designed to encourage active learning and engagement, and teaching methods designed to consolidate the learning of content, apply knowledge to problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills. The learning and teaching strategy is achieved through a range of learning activities such as reading, reflection, discussion, and engagement with webinars, podcasts and video resources. Pre-service teachers should expect to participate in a range of presentations, discussions, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings may be required.

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.

Assessment strategy and rationale

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. (

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes.  The unit will focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate level. The assessment tasks focus on different sub-strands in the Australian Curriculum Humanities and Social Sciences. Assessment Task 1 uses Inquiry pedagogy to explore issues of social justice in the Economics and Business sub-strand. This assessment task requires pre-service teachers to think critically and consider their responsibilities for the common good. Assessment Task 2  requires pre-service teachers to critique resources and their appropriateness to expand learning opportunities for students with a focus on ICT and the sub-strand of geography. Assessment Task 3 focuses on the sub-strand of civics and citizenship and/or history through the research and critical analysis of documents building pre-service teacher research skills. These three types of assessments involve a variety of tasks to challenge pre-service teachers’ learning and enable differentiation of achievement and be equitable and ethical. The assessments engage pre-service teachers in diverse forms of communication including: A presentation, a resource portfolio and a report.

The three assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development of content knowledge and skills to prepare pre-service teachers for pedagogical knowledge units in the sequence of Economics and Business units.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to complete ALL assessment tasks and gain an overall Pass mark.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Critical Inquiry Paper: Living Humanities

Critical discussion paper to apply an Inquiry pedagogy to a social justice issue that is either affected by or affects business and economics in which pre-service teachers consider:

An issue or wicked problem with social justice implications that is of relevance to Primary-aged students

Key local, national and international research

Justification of chosen inquiry pedagogy method as a tool for inquiry

Pre-service teachers may choose to submit in the following formats:

  • Essay/Discussion paper
  • Narrated power point and script
  • Video

Curriculum area: Business and Economics

Examples: Fast Fashion; modern day slavery; globalization; renewable energy etc.



GA1, GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7

Assessment task 2: Resource portfolio

Select, appraise and justify a range of 10 age-appropriate resources , including technologies to inform and support Inquiry learning in the Primary Geography classroom.

Curriculum area: Geography



GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Report

Examine, and compare, based on literature, a contemporary issue in either History or Civics and Citizenship education and its implications for creating active and informed citizens in Australia and one of the following countries:

  • Canada
  • Finland
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America


  • The settings
  • Literature review in relation to the issue
  • Compare and examine key curriculum documents for each country
  • Compare and contrast types of pedagogy in relation to the issue/curriculum area
  • Stakeholder interests
  • Professional associations that support the teaching of CCE and/or history in each country

Explain and critically reflect on the implications in terms of producing active and informed citizens in the 21st Century.

Curriculum area: History and/or Civics and Citizenship education


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Relevant national, state and territory curriculum documents primary settings

Recommended references

Allender, T., Clark, A., & Parkes, R. (Eds.) (2019). Historical thinking for history teachers. Allen & Unwin

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

Browett, J., & Ashman, G. (2011). Thinking globally: Global perspectives in the early years classroom. Education Services Australia.

Gilbert, R., Tudball, L., & Brett, P. (Eds.). (2020). Teaching humanities and social sciences: Teaching and learning across Australia (7th ed.). Cengage Learning Australia.

Gilbert, R., & Hoepper, B. (Eds.). (2019). Teaching humanities and social sciences: History, geography, economics and citizenship in the Australian curriculum (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Green, D., & Price, D. (Eds.). (2019). Making the humanities and social sciences come alive: Early years and primary education. Cambridge University Press.

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

Reynolds, R. (2019). Teaching history, geography & SOSE in the primary school (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewalt, J., & Boon, D. (2019). Place and time: Teaching history, geography and social sciences (2nd ed.). Pearson.

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