University of Technology Sydney

59722 Neighbourhoods and Stories

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

UTS: International Studies: Initial Teacher Education
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

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


This subject is part of the Australian Language and Culture Studies Program for international students in the School of International Studies. In the subject, students work in small groups to study aspects of the social, cultural, economic and linguistic landscape of a Sydney neighbourhood. Students conduct structured small-scale research in their chosen neighbourhood. This out-of-class work is supported by in-class work on basic approaches to data collection and the language needed to negotiate, conduct and report on a collaborative project. Students present their findings through a multimedia platform. As part of the assessment, they reflect, in writing and in seminars, on what they learned about Australian society and on their experience of the inquiry process.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

a. Demonstrate a range of academic literacy skills to communicate effectively with different groups and in different linguistic registers
b. Design and conduct independent, ethical, small scale research in and about Australian cultural contexts and society, engaging confidently with Australian cultures through site analysis
c. Reflect critically on their learning practice

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject is research-based, on a scale and with a level of support appropriate for international exchange students from a first language background other than English.

The students will learn how to design, conduct and report on an ethical, small-scale, collaborative, Sydney-based research project through:

  1. interactive, structured in-class activities that focus on suitable topics,
  2. ways of collecting and interpreting data,
  3. developing and refining ideas,
  4. working productively as a group,
  5. publicly presenting a research proposal and a report on a completed study.

Students will develop their academic literacies through structured and integrated skills work:

  • Writing: the modelling, deconstruction, co-construction and independent production of the two main written academic genres required for the assessment (a research project proposal and a report on a research project).
  • Speaking: the modelling and monitored practice of the micro-skills of speaking required for (1) effective group project work, (2) group oral presentations, and (3) communication with different groups and Individuals during fieldwork.
  • Listening: scaffolded in-class listening skills development work using publicly available videos as text, and authentic listening practice though in-class and fieldwork interactions.
  • Reading: scaffolded in-class reading skills development work using set texts, and authentic reading practice using academic and non-academic texts related to fieldwork site.

Content (topics)

In Neighborhoods and Stories students learn to analyze aspects of Sydney sites from a linguistic, social, cultural and historical point of view. Students will work in groups to choose a neighborhood in Sydney, an angle and topic of interest, and, with in-class language support, will conduct ethnographic and archival research and present their findings in a multimedia project using everyday technologies and platforms.

Students will learn about Australian culture and language(s) in site-specific and authentic situations which will encourage intellectual curiosity, develop valuable transferable intercultural skills and increase overall motivation. Students will develop a range of academic literacy skills: the use of an appropriate register for reporting to an academic audience; the use of a casual register for collecting spoken data from non-academic respondents; the integration of reading, listening, writing and speaking skills; the transfer and adaptation of language from written to spoken mode and vice versa; grammatical and lexical accuracy.


Assessment task 1: Weekly reflective blog posts


a and c

Weight: 20%

300 words (100 words x 3 blog posts) to be formally assessed

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Relevance of content 30 c 6.
Clarity of expression 35 a 6.
Appropriateness of English language choice 35 a 6.
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Site Analysis Project Proposal


a and b

Weight: 30%

15 minute group presentation and a written 500 word summary.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Effectiveness of presentation technique (voice projection, eye contact, engagement with audience, use of visual and/or audio materials, comprehensibility of spoken language) 25 a 6.
Integration of feedback and readings 25 b 6.
Relevance of topics 25 b 6.
Appropriateness of methodologies 25 b 6.
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Site Analysis Project


a, b and c

Weight: 50%

1000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Relevance of topics 20 c 6.
Depth of critical analysis 20 b 6.
Integration of readings 20 b 6.
Clarity of expression 15 a 6.
Coherence of structure 15 a, b 6.
Accuracy of referencing 10 b 6.
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

Attendance at weekly classes is important for this subject because it is based on the interchange of ideas with other students and with the lecturer. Students must attend at least 9 of the 11 classes; a roll will be taken each week. Students who do not meet this attendance requirement will not have their final assessment task marked (rule 3.8).

Other resources

For this subject students are expected to use everyday technologies, including phones, tablets and computers. No additional device or advanced skill is required.