EDF5123 - Biology education in the secondary years A - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Jennifer Mansfield

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit is part A of a two-part unit and must be taken in conjunction with part B (EDF5124).


This unit enables pre-service teachers to build a strong foundation to teach biology as a specialist in Years 11 and 12 and in the junior years (7 to 10). The unit draws upon a constructivist theory of learning to explore the most appropriate ways of encouraging students to build their conceptual understandings of biological concepts. Linked to this, students develop and demonstrate a range of pedagogical approaches appropriate to teaching biology as evidenced in the science education research literature. Importantly, pre-service teachers are introduced to appropriate curricula (Years 7 to 12) so they are confident about aligning their teaching to the curriculum in preparation for the classroom. Throughout the unit students are encouraged to work collaboratively while being challenged to consider the key issues impacting biology education and how these might be addressed in their teaching. Students are encouraged to think critically about teaching biology, learn how to adapt their knowledge and skills within diverse contexts, and recognise the importance of reflecting upon their own practice.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. articulate and apply their understanding of a constructivist perspective of learning in biology
  2. link the everyday world of the learner with biology in ways that are meaningful and relevant
  3. actively participate in professional conversations about the key theoretical and pedagogical perspectives and issues in teaching biology
  4. plan for, enact and adjust as appropriate a variety of teaching and learning strategies and practices to meet the needs of a diverse range of student learners, in a variety of settings and curriculum contexts
  5. demonstrate an awareness of the ways in which science education research helps inform teacher practice to enhance student understanding of biological concepts.


Written assignment (2000 words, 50%)

Reflective assignment linking research to biology teacher practice (2000 words, 50%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 144 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for on-campus students:
    • 2-3 contact hours per week
  2. Additional requirements:
    • independent study to make up the minimum required hours per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


A minor sequence in biological sciences (e.g. genetics, human biology, microbiology, botany, zoology).