Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


All first year units, HMSV203 Theories and Ethics in Human Services ; HMSV205 Interpersonal Practice Skills for Human Services

Teaching organisation

150 Hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Professional practice in the human services requires specialised knowledge and skills in interpersonal communication. Human service workers are expected to be critically reflective and able to conduct themselves in a professional manner.

In this unit, students will undertake their first supervised field practicum of 150 hours in a human service agency. On practicum they will apply their interpersonal skills, develop their professional knowledge and engage in professional supervision with experienced human service practitioners to critically reflect on values and ethics that inform their practice. Students will also participate in integrative seminars which will facilitate their learning and assist them to integrate theory and practice. Learning in this unit is informed by the ACWA (Australian Community Workers Association) Code of Ethics and Practice Guidelines.

The aim of this unit is for students to apply their knowledge and skill base through engagement in community project/sin the human service context and develop their professional competency as human service 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:

Apply effective interpersonal communication skills in practice (GA7, GA9)

Demonstrate skills and knowledge in the application of professional ethics and ethical standards as per the ACWA Code of Ethics and Practice Guidelines (GA1, GA8)

Demonstrate professional accountable conduct in the field (GA1, GA5, GA7)

Reflect on the role of theory in informing practice with diverse groups and contexts (GA4)

Engage effectively in professional supervision as a supervisee (GA4, GA5, GA7)

Critically reflect on personal and professional values and ethics and how these contribute to their developing practice as a human service practitioner (GA1, GA4, GA5)

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 

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 


Topics will include:

Integrative learning

  • Applying ethical and practice guidelines
  • Developing as a critically reflective practitioner
  • Understanding the organisational context
  • Developing communication and interpersonal skills
  • Understanding human service work in different service delivery contexts 
  • community
  • government
  • non-government
  • faith based agencies

Introduction to field education learning processes

  • Developing learning goals
  • Preparing a learning agreement
  • Monitoring and appraisal of learning and practice
  • Engaging in supervision as a learning aid
  • Engaging in the assessment of learning outcomes

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will participate in a minimum of 150 hours of supervised field education experience in a community based agency including 12 hours of participation in class seminars.

For this professional experience unit, the main teaching and learning strategies include experiential learning, reflective learning, practice - theory integration and skills development. These are used in the placement setting, and integration of this experience with professional knowledge, values and ethics is facilitated in campus-based integrative seminars with short lecture content and small group discussions.

This unit may also be offered on or off campus in intensive mode or multi-mode for sponsored / special cohorts, with the learning and teaching strategies being equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Curriculum Implementation Committee.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to complete a range of assessment items and administrative requirements on placement and participate in campus-based integrative seminars. Students need to demonstrate that they have met identified ethical and practice standards at the level defined by the unit’s learning outcomes and provide necessary evidence to support this.

Students will be assessed on a range of learning tasks that they will be expected to complete in their placement. The Learning Agreement is an essential planning tool which outlines students learning goals, strategies and learning activities for the placement and is completed by students at the outset of the placement. Students are required to maintain a reflective journal throughout placement to encourage reflective thinking about their learning and placement experiences. Students are also required to participate in both a mid - placement and end of placement evaluation of their competency and how they have met their learning goals.

Intensive and multi-mode assessment of this unit will be transparently equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the relevant Course Implementation Committee.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reflective journal – Enables students to reflect on placement experiences and their learning


LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4,

GA5, GA7

Learning Agreement – Formalises learning goals for the practicum


LO1, LO2, LO3,

LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5,

GA7, GA8, GA9

Mid placement report – Evaluates student progress against their learning goals at mid-point in their placement


LO1, LO2, LO3,

LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5,

GA7, GA8, GA9

Final Placement Report - Evaluates student progress against their learning goals at placement completion


LO1, LO2, LO3,

LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5,

GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Australian Community Workers Association (January, 2017). Code of Ethics.

Australian Community Workers Association, (February, 2017). Practice Guidelines.

Banks, S., & Gallagher, A. (2009). Ethics in professional life: virtues for health and social care. Basingstoke Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cleak, H., & Wilson, J. (2013). Making the most of field placement (3rd Ed.). Victoria: Cengage Learning.

Collingwood , P., Emond, R., & Woodward, R. (2008). The Theory Circle: A Tool for Learning and for Practice. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 27(1), 70-73.

Fook, J., & Gardner, F. (2007). Practising critical reflection: A resource handbook. Berkshire, England: Open University.

Sweitzer, H. (2009). The successful internship: Personal, professional, and civic development (International student ed.). London: Cengage Learning.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs