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Unit outline_

EDEC2005: Ethics and Social Justice in ECE

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Early childhood education (ECE) has long been heralded as an entry point for social justice goals such as equality, inclusion, innovation, sustainability, citizenship,democracy and socio-political cohesion. For ECE to support any of these goals it must also be valued as an ethical and political (as opposed to simply a technical) praxis. Using critical pedagogy theory this unit invites students as pre-service teachers to recognise, value and engage with social justice education, particularly in the early years where young children learn to either internalise and/or naturalise the status quo, or conversely, learn to think critically and/or to challenge dominant discourses and inequitable relations of power. The unit provides students with conceptual and practical tools to work with young children, their families and colleagues to foster socially just, inclusive and ethically engaged early childhood environments.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Education
Credit points 6
42 credit points including EDEC1005 and EDEC1007 and EDUF1019
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Marianne Fenech,
Demonstrator(s) Aliza Salvador,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Professional development and reflection journal
Due: Week 4 and Week 8.
40% Multiple weeks
Due date: 16 Mar 2020 at 23:59
1750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Picture book analysis and review task
Due: Week 6 and Week 7
20% Multiple weeks
Due date: 30 Mar 2020 at 23:59
10 minutes/1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Critical research report and creative application task: research report and resource for social justice education
Week 13
40% Week 13
Due date: 25 May 2020 at 23:59
1750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Assessment summary

  • Professional development and reflection journal: This assessment task requires students to complete weekly reflections for the first 8 weeks of semester. Each reflection question asks students to reflect on aspects of the lectures and readings. Each critical reflection is to draw on unit content and readings so that reflections are informed by theory and research.
  • Picture book analysis and review task: There are two parts to assignment 2 - part A is a digital presentation, and part B is a book review which needs to be submitted online via Turnitin through Canvas.
  • Critical research report and creative application task: research report and resource for social justice education: There are two parts to assignment 3. Part A is a research report which needs to be submitted online via Turnitin. Part B is a resource or picture book which students will need to create and scan a copy or have a digital recording for the tutorial on week 13.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the unit: Why are you here? The purpose of education/educators and social justice education. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6
Week 02 Who do you think you are? Critical pedagogy, the politics of education and teachers as cultural workers Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 03 Who are you teaching? Inclusive education and children who experience disability Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 04 Just because you can't do everything, doesn't mean you can't do anything: dealing with how to choose/use books, toys, dress-ups, other materials and resources for social justice education Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Who are you teaching? Labels, challenging behaviours and the context of relationships - social justice education and resistance Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 06 Silenced and "othered" voices: re-meeting history - listening to Indigenous understandings and perspectives as an investigation into social justice Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 07 Diversity as a resource: engaging minorities and those from different racial, cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 08 Class and inequity: teaching social justice to children in underprivileged and privileged contexts Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 09 Gender-typing: recognising and reflecting on hidden and visible inequities in gender relations in the early years Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Valuing LGBTIA+ diversity with young children, families and communities - projects, programs and participatory approaches Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Social, emotional, mental health and wellbeing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Children as active agents of change Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Resource sharing Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: The Sydney School of Education and Social Work requires attendance of at least 90 percent of all seminars, workshops or lectures. Where a student is unable to attend at the required rate evidence of illness or misadventure may be required and the student may be required to undertake extra work. Students should discuss the circumstances of their absence(s) with the co-ordinator of the unit of study. Further details are provided in the School canvas site:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of power, social justice, and ethics
  • LO2. articulate the relationship between personal and professional ethical practices
  • LO3. demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the importance of legislation, professional codes and guidelines for early childhood teachers
  • LO4. understand the ethical and legal requirements for social justice and equitable partnerships with families and communities
  • LO5. understand how ethics can be generated in curriculum and pedagogical practices in ways that support children's participation in their social and cultural worlds
  • LO6. engage with and understand the nexus between practice, theory and research in relation to ethics and social justice.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes

Site visit guidelines

If you are undertaking professional experience/field education placement as part of your enrolment in this unit of study, please assess your specific needs and requirements for the safe and successful completion of an external placement within a host organisation. You will be given the opportunity to disclose any health issues that have a work health and safety significance before arranging a placement so that your safety, and the safety of others, can be properly assessed. The Professional Experience Coordinator/Field Education Manager will work to ensure that the workplace assignment to you is appropriate for your needs and requirements. If you are experiencing disability, and require reasonable adjustments to be arranged, please contact Disability Services as early as possible prior to commencing the internship. Please note, in all cases, and for the purpose of organising reasonable adjustments, only the impact and not the nature, of your disability will be disclosed to the host organisation.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.