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EDSE450 Understanding Adjustments, Technology and Communication Systems

Unit rationale, description and aim

Includes: 30 days placement in a special educational setting

At a time of increased student diversity, the roles and responsibilities of an inclusive educator are much broader in providing high-quality education for every student, including those with disabilities and diverse learning needs, in line with relevant legislation, policies and Professional Standards. In this professional experience unit, within the Special Education specialisation of the Bachelor of Education, ACU students will engage in classroom-based and whole school community collaborative approaches involving students with disabilities and diverse learning needs in safe, supportive, inclusive learning environments. Influences across home, school and community will require ACU students to develop responsive communication to take account of multiple perspectives in building productive teamwork with students, their families, staff, and the wider community.

This unit will include Special Education professional experiences of 30 days working with mentors in planning, implementing, assessing and evaluating individualised learning plans, incorporating differentiation, adjustments and universal design for learning. ACU students will work with their mentors in supporting students with diverse learning needs, underpinned by research-informed, evidence-based practice and data-driven decision-making. The roles of the Special Education teacher and paraprofessionals in successful inclusive practice will be examined.

This unit is designed to support ACU students in putting into practice advanced specialised knowledge, understanding and skills, needed in inclusive environments that support the learning of all children and young people.

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 - Demonstrate differentiated teaching, moving from individual lessons to units of work and full days of teaching, to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5; ACECQA A5, A6, A7, A8)

LO2 - Build towards taking responsibility in all aspects of the teacher’s role, including differentiated programming in literacy and numeracy, assessment and tracking learning outcomes (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5; ACECQA B1, B2, B9)

LO3 - Engage in observations, differentiated activities, collaborative communication and resource collection (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 3.4, 3.7, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 5.4, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA C1, C5, C7, D1, D4, D5, E2, E3, F3)

Graduate attributes

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

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

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.

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

1.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.

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.

2.5 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.

3.1 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.

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.

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.

5.3 Demonstrate understanding of assessment moderation and its application to support consistent and comparable judgements of 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.

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.


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

A. Child development and care

A5. Early intervention

A6. Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A7. Learners with special needs / additional needs

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

B. Education and curriculum studies:

B1. Early Years Learning Framework

B2. The Australian curriculum

B9. Curriculum planning, programming and evaluation

C. Teaching pedagogies

C1. Alternative pedagogies and curriculum approaches

C5. Children with diverse needs and backgrounds

C7. Contemporary society and pedagogy

D. Family and community contexts:

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

D4. Socially inclusive practice

D5. Culture, diversity and inclusion

E. History and philosophy of early childhood:

E2. Contemporary theories and practice

E3. Ethics and professional practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F3. Professional identity and development


  • Inclusive approaches (access, engagement, participation, respectful relationships, collaborative partnerships, diversity as a resource, creating safe environments where all school community members feel safe and free from discrimination, bias and harassment); legislation and policies underpinning inclusive practice
  • Differentiating curriculum and instruction, Personalised/Individualised Learning Plans (PLP/ILPs), “differentiation”, “adjustments”, and “universal design for learning” assessment and support strategies; including the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data, assistive and digital technologies; and NESA assessment requirements for the Record of School Achievement and Higher School Certificate, an understanding of the different ways in which students with disabilities can access and participate in K-12 curriculum, including through Life Skills outcomes and content; and a comprehensive understanding of the K-12 curriculum including Life Skills course options in each curriculum area.
  • Evidence-based strategies for effectively meeting individual student needs in literacy, numeracy, language development, social-emotional learning and behavior
  • Widely-used approaches to collaborate and consult effectively with stakeholders including students, their parents or guardians, allied professionals, and members of the school community to plan,  and support and advocate for all students including those with disabilities and diverse learning needs (e.g., inquiry-based problem solving, family-school partnerships, school-based teams, community partnerships, cross-agency collaboration, networks of support, including professional agencies and Advisory teachers, National Disability Insurance Scheme.)

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This is a 10-credit points unit which is offered in multi-mode and will be supported by a unit LEO (learning environment online) site. Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum. The unit will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and may incorporate a combination of strategies including individual and group work, activity-based workshops, formal presentations, online activities, and other activities such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts and videos.

Technology Enhanced Learning

The unit includes a Learning Environment Online (LEO) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between on campus content and school experiences.

  1. Video illustrations of teaching practice and focussed readings to address a wide spectrum of teaching contexts, practices and competencies;
  2. Online focused readings to help students prepare for the weekly schedule.


Within this unit pre-service teachers will undertake, a professional experience placement comprising 30 days in a special education setting with students with disabilities under the supervision of a mentor.

Pre-service teachers will develop the habit of critically reflective practice through guided reflection upon their observations of class and school contexts. In collaboration with class teachers and other professional colleagues, they will develop basic teaching skills through assisting in the delivery of high-quality teaching episodes and teaching small groups and whole classes. They will critically reflect upon their teaching, and self-audit their progression and attainment of key teaching skills and standards.

The recommended arrangement of the 30 days is:

  • 10 days prior to the commencement of the block for example one day a week, by negotiation with the school/setting
  • 20 days of continuous engagement (the “Block”).

Recommended Teaching Experiences

The following engagements are recommended across the 30-day placement. They provide a scaffolded, praxis-oriented approach to building experience, competency and confidence, and are designed to align with on-campus content. These engagements are to be discussed, negotiated and planned with the supervising teacher/s.

Days 1 – 10 (Single days or incorporated into the block): Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 1 – 3: Orientation, observation and assisting the class teacher/s in the teaching and learning process

Days 3 – 10: Observation and assisting the class teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of one teaching episode per day with a focus on small groups and practicing the skills developed through micro-teaching opportunities.

Block Practicum: Days 11-30: Proposed Teaching Expectations

Days 11 – 30: Observation and assisting the class teacher/s, plus planning and implementation of one or two teaching episodes per day, including small groups and building to taking responsibility for whole classes and managing class routines.

Practicum reflection, self-auditing and evaluation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks and meet Hurdle Task’s requirements. The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their specialised knowledge, understanding and analytical skills to the level of sophistication where they can demonstrate effective differentiated teaching practices in specific contexts.

Assessment Tasks

There are three assessment tasks in this unit, including a hurdle task. The hurdle task requires satisfactory completion of a supervised Special Education Professional Experience.

The first assessment task is a differentiated unit of work and the second assessment task is a critical reflection on the professional experience and e-Portfolio. Each of the two assessment tasks are worth 50% of the final grade for the unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Differentiated Unit of Work

Students are required to plan collaboratively for a differentiated unit of work in literacy and numeracy with adjusted teaching episodes including the setting of goals, outcomes, teaching strategies, content, assessment criteria and learning materials catering for a specific disability or learning impairment).


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Critical reflection on the Professional Experience

Students are required to provide a critical reflection essay on their learning from the Professional Experience and development of their e-Portfolio. Students must also provide evidence of research-based analysis on a critical review of recent academic and professional literature.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Hurdle Task

Professional Experience Assessment

Professional Experience requirements include compilation of evidence as required.

(Refer to attached Professional Experience Handbook and Report).

Compilation of evidence will include:

  • structured observation and analysis of school and classroom contexts, and teaching programs and practices and differentiated teaching programs and inclusive practices
  • critical reflection on own differentiated teaching experiences and inclusive practices of teaching and program evaluation
  • feedback from supervising teacher/s and university staff
  • e-Portfolio collection of artefacts and reflections should provide evidence of relevant differentiated teaching resources

Examples of collaborative multidisciplinary team work and engaging with a range of stakeholders; in attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate, to be included in the e-Portfolio

A pass or fail grade will be awarded for completion of the professional experience days

LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Ashman, A. F. (Ed.). (2019). Education for inclusion and diversity (6th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia.

Chambers, D. (Ed.). (2015). Working with teaching assistants and other support staff for inclusive education. Vol. 4, International perspectives on inclusive education. Bingley, UK: Emerald Insight. (e-book)

Deppeler, J., Loreman, T., Smith, R., & Florian, L. Eds.). (2015). Inclusive pedagogy across the curriculum. Vol. 7, International perspectives on inclusive education. Bingley, UK: Emerald Insight. (e-book)

Foreman, P., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (Eds.). (2017). Inclusion in action (5th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Hyde, M., Carpenter, L. & Dole, S. (2017). Diversity, inclusion and engagement (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

De Nobilie, J., Lyons. G., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (2017). Positive learning environments: Creating and maintaining productive classrooms. Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.

Plows, V., & Whitburn, B. (Eds.). (2017). Inclusive education: Making sense of everyday practice. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Springer. (e-book)

Scorgie, K., & Sobsey, D. (Eds.). (2017). Working with families for inclusive education: Navigating identity, opportunity and belonging. Vol. 10, International perspectives on inclusive education. Bingley, UK: Emerald Insight. (e-book)

Scully, P. A., Barbour, C., & Roberts-King, H. (2015). Families, schools and communities: Building partnerships for educating (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson.

Tomlinson, C.A., & Imbeau, M. (2010). Leading and managing a differentiated classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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