Course Title: Understanding Diversity

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Understanding Diversity

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


360H Education


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010

Course Coordinator: Dr Rachel Patrick

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7912

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 220.4.21

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is the fifth in a sequence of eight ALPP courses designed to prepare graduates for employment in the education sector. A major focus of the course is to explore many of the differences that students bring to the school, and how school educators can create and environment that is respectful and inclusive of everyone. Pre-service teachers will explore how their unconscious bias may affect their ability to relate authentically to others across differences in ethnicity, gender, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and educational level. The course will also examine the implications of diversity for teaching and foster culturally competent practices among the participants so that students from diverse backgrounds can learn optimally together. The course will develop three key concepts within the context of "understanding diversity":

• Communication: Role of communication in understanding diversity.
• Learning and Teaching: Role of educational theories in understanding and celebrating diversity.
• Professionalism in education: Understanding of critical and ethical issues

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Course capabilities link with various facets of the Bachelor of Education program. In this course, the following consolidating capabilities will be developed:

1. Awareness and understanding of self and others. Students will perform independently within a wide range of varied situations.
2. Commitment. Students will undertake an advocacy role as required and influence change where possible
3. Creative problem-solvers: Teaching as inquiry. Students will explore and incorporate a diversity of cultural experiences in solving problems.
4. Communicative competencies. Students will communicate effectively in a variety of modes and with a wide range of audiences in a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural environment. They will actively listen and participate in “learning conversations”.
5. Critical reflection. Students will articulate and critically reflect on learning from experiences.
6. Professional knowledge, understandings and applications. Students will display consideration of curriculum that acknowledge different knowledges, contexts, cultural/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, of families and communities.

This course explores the phenomenon of diversity: diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, age, occupation, skills, education, sexual preference, physical abilities in Australian social systems. It also examines the implications of diversity for learning and teaching.

Specific learning objectives include:

  • To understand the realities of Australia’s diverse population (differences of race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, etc.)
  • To explore issues of diversity including race, ethnicity, gender, age, occupation, skills, education, sexual preference, and abilities etc.
  • To understand legal implications of teaching students from diverse backgrounds.
  • To examine the social construction of differences as advantage for some and disadvantage for others.
  • To develop awareness of personal beliefs and attitudes regarding diversity and how these influence teaching and learning.
  • To prepare pre-service teachers to work competently in culturally diverse, inclusive, and egalitarian educational environments.

Overview of Learning Activities

The course uses a combination of learning methods to enhance the learning about “diversity”. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • workshops exploring the effects of diversity in a school situation and issues of relevance to pre-service teachers
  • lectures by field-based experts (e.g. Indigenous speakers)
  • visits to relevant organisations
  • ite-based training (e.g. working in a multi-religious and multi-lingistic environment)
  • Professional practice designing and implementing culturally sensitive lesson plans.

Overview of Learning Resources

A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by tutors, including books, journal articles and web resources. Students will also be expected to seek resources relevant to the focus of their own work.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment incorporates successful participation in the Professional Practice Placement and its related coursework requirements as well as course assesment tasks that are aimed at having students critically engage with the big ideas related to diversity and difference in Australian society and the specific issues associated with a range of dimensions of difference.