TEAC 7068 Learning and Teaching in Challenging Contexts

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102158

Coordinator Jennifer Curtis Opens in new window

Description This subject involves the study of pedagogy in contexts regarded as ‘challenging’. The main focus will usually be on the contexts of school and early childhood, but alternative sites of education will also be studied as appropriate. The definition of a challenging context will be considered with an emphasis on contexts of poverty. Students will undertake a critical analysis of policies and practices that impact and respond to challenging contexts. The subject is structured around the investigation of dilemmas and specific provocations, and explores engaging pedagogies for education.

School Education

Discipline Teacher Education

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject


Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program, with the exception of those students enrolled in 8083 Bachelor of Research Studies.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Audit areas of challenge in an educational context 
  2. Locate ‘challenge’ within the larger context of global educational policy and ‘policy travel’ 
  3. Analyse the notion of pedagogical / institutional effectiveness 
  4. Critically analyse policy and discourse around ’challenge’ in contemporary educational contexts 
  5. Critically analyse responses to policy around challenge in contemporary educational contexts
  6. Apply key theoretical perspectives in analysis of challenge and responses to challenge

Subject Content

  1. What are challenging contexts in contemporary education?
  2. What dilemmas can arise from challenging contexts at the classroom and institutional levels?
  3. Is education a way out of poverty?
  4. How do/can systems respond to challenging contexts?
  5. What are the key features of effective pedagogies for challenging contexts?
  6. What is the role of policy instruments such as ‘data’ in contemporary education, especially in challenging contexts?
  7. What are the roles of expectations and aspirations in contemporary education in challenging contexts?
  8. How can educational sites/pedagogies be engines of change?


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Presentation 20 minutes+ 10 minutes of questions and discussion 50 N Group
Essay 2,000 words 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Comber, B. (2016.) Literacy, place, and pedagogies of possibility. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Munns, G., Sawyer, W. Cole, B. & Fair Go team (2013) Exemplary teachers of students in poverty. London, England: Routledge

Teaching Periods

Autumn (2024)



Subject Contact Jennifer Curtis Opens in new window

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