University of Technology Sydney

013403 Learning Futures: Teaching for Complexity and Diversity

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Education: International Studies and Global Societies
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade, no marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject investigates the diverse and complex social, political and economic contexts in which contemporary schools, in particular secondary schools, operate. Teacher education students explore theories and debates surrounding the ways in which social, political, cultural and economic factors interact in the Australian context to shape the nature of our schools and classrooms, influence educational policy and impact educational outcomes. Students draw upon a critical-reflective, research-based approach to interrogate and understand the ways in which educational beliefs, practices and pedagogies are socially and historically constructed. Some of the following issues are examined: social theories and the process of socialisation in schools; forms of capital, poverty and disadvantage; globalisation; global understandings; gender; and multicultural education and the application of culturally responsive practices in schools.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Analyse how schools operate and recognise that they are an integral part of contemporary society (GTS 7.1, 7.2).
b. Critically reflect on how schooling is influenced by social, cultural, economic and political factors (GTS 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 7.1, 7.2) (PA 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2).
c. Apply a critical-reflective approach to educational practices and beliefs (GTS 6.2).
d. Analyse a range of sociological theories, research and viewpoints in education, and how they inform how students learn. (GTS 1.2) (GTS 6.2) (PA 6.1, 6.2).
e. Assess educational outcomes in terms of a broad range of social, economic and political factors in respect of such issues as gender; cultural diversity; social justice and equity and key current issues in education (GTS 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) (PA 1.1, 1.7, 1.10, 1.11, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6).
f. Evaluate the responsiveness of teaching resources and strategies to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. (GTS 1.3).
g. Communicate the contested nature of key aspects of education (GTS 7.4).
h. Communicate effectively including using academic conventions for writing.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject engages with the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs), which are tailored to the Graduate Attributes set for all graduates of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

  • Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning with an advanced knowledge of educational practice, pedagogy, policy, curriculum and systems (1.3)
  • Plan and carry out extended analysis, and undertake independent research, of issues related to content-specialisations and teaching theories and practices (2.1)
  • Create and maintain inclusive, supportive, well-managed, diverse and safe learning environments (3.1)
  • Communicate effectively using diverse modes and technologies in academic, professional and community contexts (6.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject addresses the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

1. Professional readiness

1.3) Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning with an advanced knowledge of educational practice, pedagogy, policy, curriculum and systems

1.5) Engage in professional learning, demonstrating complex problem solving and intellectual independence in a research project

2. Critical and creative inquiry

2.1) Enquire into and research practice to improve educational experiences and outcomes

2.2) Critically analyse and reflect on and synthesise complex theories of learning and teaching

3. International and intercultural engagement

3.1) Demonstrate extensive knowledge and respect for diverse societies, cultures and an ability to inform inclusive practices

5. Active citizenship

5.1) Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community with a high level of personal autonomy

5.2) Are professionals with a profound ethical foundation and sense of social responsibility and a commitment to social justice

6. Effective communication

6.1) Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning

6.2) Possess literacy and numeracy skills across a broad range of communication modes and technologies

6.3) Are effective communicators, highly skilled in new literacies, able to justify and interpret professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject adopts an interactive, student-centred, inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. In keeping with the Quality Teaching Framework in NSW schools, this subject focuses on ensuring intellectual quality, pedagogical significance and a supportive, quality learning environment. Learning is structured through instructional scaffolding, to build upon students’ existing experience and knowledge, but also to challenge and extend it. Students learn about relevant theories, issues and practices to support high quality teaching and learning through online content, assigned readings, small group exercises, discussion and debates, as well as through other in-class activities that relate theory to future careers as teachers. Teacher education students are expected to participate in online forums, quizzes and other formative Canvas learning components, through which they gain feedback and self-assess their learning.

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills to succeed at university and in the workplace. During the course of this subject, you will complete a milestone assessment task that will, in addition to assessing your subject-specific learning objectives, assess your English language proficiency.

Content (topics)

The focus of this subject is on the following issues:

  • The ‘Sociological Imagination’ and teaching in a complex and changing world
  • Sociological theories and debates surrounding the purpose of schooling
  • What do secondary teachers teach? Understanding the curriculum, the construction of knowledge and the processes of socialisation in education
  • Multiculturalism: debates, issues and approaches within diverse linguistic, cultural and religious contexts
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and communities: policies and pedagogies
  • Equity, education and Covid-19: implications for pedagogy and achievement
  • Gender issues in education
  • Globalisation: challenges and opportunities for secondary schools and the communities they serve
  • Philosophical perspectives on the role of the teacher: educating for diverse learning futures


Assessment task 1: Essay: Critical Analysis of Teaching and Learning Resources


a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h

Weight: 50%

1750 words, excluding references

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Comprehensiveness of issues covered in relation to selected resources 30 a, b, e, f 1.3
Criticality of interpretation of key theories and concepts 30 c, d, g 2.1
Depth of engagement with a range of sources 25 c, d, f, g 2.1
Clarity, coherence and professionalism of writing 15 h 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Reflective Essay


a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h

Weight: 50%

1750 words, excluding references

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Appropriateness of planning for teaching and learning to cater for diverse students and learning needs 25 a, b, c, e, g 3.1
Incisiveness of interpretation – that is informed by reading of literature – of key theories, concepts and issues 20 c, d, g 2.1
Depth of engagement with a range of sources 20 c, d, f, g 2.1
Justification of selected teaching strategies and resources  25 c, d, f, g 1.3
Clarity, coherence and professionalism of writing 10 h 6.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Required texts

Welch, A., Connell, R., Mockler, N., Sriprakash, A., Proctor, H., Hayes, D., Foley, D., Vickers. M., Bagnall, N., Burns, K., Low, R., and Groundwater-Smith, S., (2017). Education, Change and Society. Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press, South Melb. VIC.


NSW DEC (2013). Great Teaching, Inspired Learning. What does the evidence tell us about effective teaching. Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, NSW Department of Education.

Bahr, N., & Mellor, S., (2016). Building Quality in Teaching and in Teacher Education. Australian Education Review. Australian Council for Educational Research, Camberwell Vic: AECR Press.

Ballantine, J., Hammack, F., & Stuber, J. (2017). The sociology of education: A systemic analysis. New York: Routledge.

Burgess, C., Tennent, C., Vass, G., Guenther, J., Lowe, K., & Moodie, N. (2019). A systematic review of pedagogies that support, engage and improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal students. The Australian Educational Researcher, 46(2), 297-318.

Burridge, N., Buchanan, J., Chodkiewicz, A. (2009). Dealing with difference: Building culturally responsive classrooms, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal, 1(3).

Chacón-Díaz, L. B. (2022). A textbook analysis to uncover the hidden contributors of science and mathematics. Science & Education, 31(1), 193-211.

Harrison, N., & Skrebneva, I. (2020). Country as pedagogical: enacting an Australian foundation for culturally responsive pedagogy.?Journal of Curriculum Studies,?52(1), 15-26.

Jaremus, F., Gore, J., Prieto-Rodriguez, E., & Fray, L. (2020). Girls are still being ‘counted out’: teacher expectations of high-level mathematics students. Educational Studies in Mathmatics 105, 219–236.

Keddie, A., & Ollis, D. (2019). Let's make it mandatory to teach respectful relationships in every Australian school. Redress, 28(1), 29-31.

Leahy, D., & Selwyn, N. (2019). Public Opinions on Australian Schools & Schooling. Education Futures. Monash University.

Madsen, B., Perkins, R., & Shay, M. (2021). Critical selection of curriculum materials. In M. Shay & R. Oliver (Eds.), Indigenous education in Australia: Learning and Teaching for Deadly Futures (pp. 133-147). Taylor & Francis.

Mills, M., & Keddie, A. (2020). Teaching boys: Developing classroom practices that work. Routledge.

Mills, M., Monk, S., Keddie, A., Renshaw, P., Christie, P., Geelan, D., & Gowlett, C. (2014). Differentiated learning: From policy to classroom.?Oxford Review of Education,?40(3), 331-348.

Selwyn, N., Nemorin, S., Bulfin, S., & Johnson, N. F. (2017). Everyday schooling in the digital age: High school, high tech?. Routledge.

Shay, M., & Oliver, R. (Eds.). (2021).?Indigenous education in Australia: Learning and teaching for Deadly Futures. Routledge.

Thomas, D., & Dyches, J. (2019). The hidden curriculum of reading intervention: A critical content analysis of Fountas & Pinnell’s leveled literacy intervention.?Journal of Curriculum Studies,?51(5), 601-618.

Weuffen, S., Maxwell, J., & Lowe, K. (2022). Inclusive, colour-blind, and deficit: Understanding teachers' contradictory views of Aboriginal students’ participation in education. The Australian Educational Researcher, 1-22.

Williamson, B., Eynon, R., & Potter, J. (2020). Pandemic politics, pedagogies and practices: digital technologies and distance education during the coronavirus emergency. Learning, Media and Technology 45(2), 107-114.

Wyatt-Smith, C., Lingard, B., & Heck, E. (Eds.). (2021). Digital disruption in teaching and testing: Assessments, Big Data, and the transformation of schooling. Routledge.