Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of focused learning in this unit. This may include online activities, reading, webinars, preparation of assessment tasks and so on. Webinars may be offered either weekly over a twelve week semester, or in intensive blocks.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Critical Reflection in the context of learning supervisory practice is a distinct approach to supervision. Practitioners of Critical Reflection are self-aware and able to identify the foundations of their values and existential meaning frameworks and the significant effects such foundations have in supervisory practice. Critical Reflection brings the identification of these foundations into dialogue with a commitment to the importance of living harmoniously and respectfully at individual, family and community levels and to seeking a socially just, diverse and inclusive society. It also incorporates consideration of the potentially spiritual dimensions of meaning-making which may or may not include explicitly religious perspectives. The aim of this unit is for participants to develop skills in using Critical Reflection for supervision and to practise using a critical framework that is spiritually grounded and can be theologically articulated.

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 - Describe the key elements of critically reflective supervision (GA2, GA9)

LO2 - Analyse and evaluate the theory and processes of critical reflection in relation to its theological and spiritual foundations (GA9)

LO3 - Apply critical reflection theory and processes in supervision (GA9)

Graduate attributes

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • Theory and Process of Critical Reflection;
  • Spiritual and theological foundations for Critical Reflection;
  • Spirituality and religion;
  • Use of Critical Reflection in Supervision;
  • Critical spirituality;
  • Issues in Critical Reflection. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, which reflects the standard volume of learning for a unit in a university qualification of this Australian Qualifications Framework type.

The unit is normally offered in scheduled online mode, a way that blends the use of online delivery of learning materials and activities that can be undertaken synchronously and asynchronously. This means that students can undertake some learning activities on their own at times that do not depend on the availability of others, and other learning activities that are undertaken interactively with other students and teaching staff at the same time. Using scheduled online delivery means that students do not have to be at the same place as each other, but can interact remotely.

In order to benefit from this mode of learning, students need to be independently motivated. Units offered in the course normally follow a cycle: students complete preparatory activities before meeting together; in webinars, students work collaboratively with each other and the lecturer to clarify, extend and apply what they have learned; and after each collaborative session, students reflect critically on their personal experience and observations in light of materials covered in the unit. As the cycle is repeated, students bring new understandings to bear on further issues and ideas, so that each cycle of learning deepens the one before. Students co-construct a supportive and encouraging learning community through their active participation in classes as well as through offline engagement, such as through discussion boards.

As this unit involves rehearsing helping skills that will be utilised professionally in one-on-one engagement with future clients, attendance at all webinars is mandated to ensure practice is supervised.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Because this is a practice-oriented subject, the assessment tasks involve active engagement with experiences related to Critical Reflective supervision and practice. The hurdle task provides participants with the opportunity to engage with others to rehearse their understandings and deepen their capacity for reflection. This includes exploring how differently people experience supervision given their own spiritual ways of being. Together with classroom activities, it forms essential scaffolding and reflective material to support participants’ formal articulation of Critical Reflective theory and processes, and its theological and spiritual foundations, in the essay. Assessment task two requires students to video an example of themselves using critically reflective processes in individual supervision with another student, and then reflect on this experience, articulating strengths and challenges. It is designed to demonstrate their capacity to use Critical Reflective supervision, drawing from theory and processes as well as theological and spiritual foundations.

All assessment tasks are designed for students to show their achievement of each learning outcome and graduate attribute. They require students to demonstrate the nexus between their learning, dispositions, and spiritual practice, and the evidence on which this demonstration is based.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task—Contributions to Discussion Forum (minimum of 4) This task enables participants to demonstrate active reflection on their learning in this unit, in dialogue with others.


LO1, Task rehearses

GA2, GA9, Task rehearses

Hurdle Task - Attendance Students are required to attend all classes unless absence is appropriately justified. Students whose absence is unjustified may be required to repeat the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA9

Essay (3000 words): Analysis of Critical Reflection theory and processes, taking into account the participant’s experience in the unit, their dialogue with others and relevant texts. This task enables participants to demonstrate intellectually, affectively and reflexively their understanding of Critical Reflection theory and processes.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA9

Video (15 mins) and Written Reflection (500 words): Construction, recording of and critical reflection on a supervision conversation with an individual. This enables participants to demonstrate their skills in the practice of Critical Reflection.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA2, GA9

Representative texts and references

Cobb, Mark, Christine M. Puchalski and Bruce Rumbold, Eds. Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Fook, Jan and Fiona Gardner. Practising Critical Reflection: A Resource Handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2007.

Fook, Jan and Fiona Gardner, Eds. Critical Reflection in Context. London: Routledge, 2013.

Gardner, Fiona. Critical Spirituality: A Holistic Approach to Contemporary Practice. London: Routledge, 2016.

Gardner, Fiona. Being Critically Reflective. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

Johnston, Tracey Jane. “‘Somewhere Between God and Medicine There is a Place for Me’: The Ethical Stance of ‘Radical Presence’ with ‘Spiritual Relational Reflexivity’ as Ways of Enhancing Therapeutic Possibilities.” Aust N Z J Family Therapy, 38 (2017): 115-124.

Pattison, Stephen. The Challenge of Practical Theology: Selected Essays. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2007.

Swift, Christopher et al, Eds. A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: Understanding Spiritual Care in Public Places. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2015.

Swinton, John. “The Body of Christ has Down’s Syndrome: Theological Reflections on Vulnerability, Disability and Graceful Communities.” Journal of Pastoral Theology, 13:2 (2003: 66-78. 

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