Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 Hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Professionals in the human services work with diverse individuals, families and communities and therefore require knowledge and skills in culturally responsive and inclusive practice.

This unit will introduce students to knowledge and skills of working with culturally and linguistically diverse population groups. Students will explore Australian migration history and social policy with an emphasis on how this impacts on the experiences of a range of migrant, refugee and asylum seeker populations and communities. Theories of acculturation and trauma will be presented within frameworks of ethical practice, social justice and human rights. Cross-cultural skill development will include working with interpreters.

The aim of this unit is for students to explore attitudes, values and ethics appropriate to being culturally responsive and to develop knowledge and skills for culturally responsive and inclusive practice.

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 - Articulate the impact of key historical and social policy issues on the experiences of migrant, refugee and asylum seeker populations and communities and how this shapes cultural and linguistic diversity (GA1, GA4)

LO2 - Identify ethical issues and dilemmas in cultural practice in human services (GA4)

LO3 - Apply key cultural theories within a framework of social justice and human rights for effective cross cultural practice in human services (GA1, GA5, GA6)

LO4 - Demonstrate cross-cultural skills for working in culturally and linguistically diverse communities and contexts (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

LO5 - Critically reflect on personal and professional values when working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities (GA4)

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 

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 


Topics will include:

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities in Australia

  • Australian migration policy
  • Social and language policies concerning migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
  • Understanding racism, prejudice and white privilege
  • Understanding culture and cultural differences
  • Cultural relativism
  • Mental health issues
  • Issues of ethnic conflict, genocide and mass violence

Theories and Practice Frameworks

  • Human rights and social and economic justice
  • Frameworks of social justice and human rights
  • Theories of acculturation
  • Theories of trauma
  • Theories of oppression and privilege
  • Theories of discrimination
  • Cultural responsiveness
  • Knowledge working with interpreters and cultural leaders

Culturally Responsive Practice

  • History
  • Context
  • Ethical standards and cultural responsiveness
  • Ethical issues and dilemmas in cross cultural practice

Cultural Skills Development

  • Skills working with interpreters and cultural leaders
  • Self-awareness and reflection
  • Working with individuals, families and children in communities
  • settlement issues
  • grief and loss issues
  • separation from family, country, culture
  • trauma and torture
  • strength-based practice
  • mental health issues
  • spirituality
  • Working with communities and groups
  • Cultural empathy

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning with 36 hours of face-to-face lectures, and skills development tutorials. Teaching and learning strategies for this unit include lectures, workshops, small group discussions, case studies, simulated role-plays and LEO online activities. Tutorials include small group collaborative reflections, discussions and simulated role-plays in order to apply theoretical content to practice situations, and allow students to develop skills in a simulated context. Online activities allow students to safely reflect and pace their own learning when engaging with potentially emotional content. Online learning also aligns with continued future professional development opportunities. Case-based learning is used to assist students better understand and apply cultural knowledge to processes required when engaging cross-culturally and within contexts of cultural and linguistic diversity. Use of cases, developed in collaboration with external partners, parallels and models authentic assessment task requirements to ensure alignment of teaching, learning and assessment. This ensures that students are initially practising and developing their understanding, attitudes and skills in learning environments to prepare them for practicing in culturally safe and responsive ways.

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

The assessment approach begins from the student’s own self and knowledge of cultural and linguistic diversity and moves towards the role and appropriate skills for human service practice. The initial assessment is designed to assess students’ ability to reflect on their own cultural identity and values, and to demonstrate knowledge and understanding about cultural diversity. Assessments 2 and 3 are authentic case-based tasks that require student to demonstrate application of practice knowledge and attitudes of respect and values in culturally diverse contexts. Assessment 2 uses online and video case studies. It requires students to demonstrate understanding of racism and its impact, cultural and race theories and to demonstrate culturally safe and sensitive practice that is ethically and professionally accountable. Assessment 3 requires students to demonstrate the identification, analysis and application of cross-cultural skills and respect to a case scenario and cultural responsive practice in the context of linguistic diversity. These assessments in combination allow students to experience and demonstrate preparedness of graduates to work in culturally responsive, respectful, safe and inclusive ways.

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 assignment: Enables students to demonstrate their ability to reflect on their own cultural identity and how this relates to their developing professional practice. Require students to articulate impact of history and policies on cultural and linguistic diversity.


LO1, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8 

Written assignment on racism: Students demonstrate understanding of racism and its impact and demonstrate ability to identify appropriate interventions and responses.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6

Skills assessment: Enables students to articulate and apply cross-cultural skills to a case study.


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Allan, J., Briskman, L., & Pease B. (Eds.). (2009). Critical social work: Theories and practices for a socially just world (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, NSW Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Clifford, D.,& Burke, B. (2009). Anti-oppressive ethics and values in social work. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Diller, J.V. (2015) Cultural diversity – A primer for the human services (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Gallina, N. (2012). Cultural competence in assessment and social work interventions: Implications for practice and professional education, Bentham Science.

How Kee, L., Martin, J., & Ow, R. (Eds). (2014). Cross-cultural social work: Local and global. Palgrave Macmillan

Hugman, R. (2012). Culture, values and ethics in social work : embracing diversity. Abindon, Oxon: Routledge.

Pease, B. (2010). Undoing privilege: Unearned advantage in a divided world. London, Zed Books.

Trevithick, P. (2012). Social work skills and knowledge : a practice handbook (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, UK: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.

Walker, S & Beckett, C., (2011). Social work assessment and intervention (2nd ed.). Lyme Regis : Russell House

Wing, S., & McGoldrick, M. (2015). Multicultural social work practice (2nd ed.).  New Jersey: Wiley.

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