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EDLE682 Leading Teaching and Learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

The mission of Catholic Education includes, yet transforms, the formal and informal curriculum, as well as the teaching and learning processes through which curriculum is enacted. Its purpose reflects a theology of learning, an incarnational relationality, and an integrated anthropology. 

Students will critically analyse contemporary theory and research on the leadership of teaching and learning, particularly in the context of the mission and vision of Catholic education introduced in EDLE650. Central to this analysis is a focus on the role of leadership in supporting quality teaching and improved outcomes of schooling for all students, and the challenges and opportunities these pose for leaders to transform schools, teaching and learning. Key aspects include leadership practices that have a positive impact on learning for leaders, teachers and students.

The aim of this unit is to equip leaders to build positive, innovative, and dynamic cultures of learning grounded within the mission, vision, and culture of a faith community.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Investigate the macro and micro contexts influencing understanding and practices in leading contemporary teaching and learning in Catholic and other school contexts (APST (Lead) 1.1, 1.2; APSP 1)GC1, GC2
LO2Critically analyse contemporary research and theories shaping understandings and practices in leading teaching and learning (APST (Lead) 1.1, 1.2, 6.3; APSP 1)GC2, GC3
LO3Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of leadership practices on teaching and learning and the values that inform these practices (APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.1, 4.1, 5.2, 6.3; APSP 1, 3)GC2, GC3
LO4Design and justify a conceptual framework (or model) connecting leadership activity with improving teaching and learning (APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.6, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 6.3; APSP 1, 3, 4, 5)GC3


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.1 Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

1.2  Understand how students learn

Lead processes to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programs using research and workplace knowledge about how students learn.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.

2.2 Content selection and organisation

Lead initiatives that utilise comprehensive content knowledge to improve the selection and sequencing of content into coherently organised learning and teaching programs.

3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs

Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/carers, students and colleagues.

4.1  Demonstrate and lead by example the development of productive and inclusive learning environments across the school by reviewing inclusive strategies and exploring new approaches to engage and support all students.

5.1 Assess student learning

Evaluate school assessment policies and strategies to support colleagues with: using assessment data to diagnose learning needs, complying with curriculum, system and/or school assessment requirements and using a range of assessment strategies. 

5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning

Model exemplary practice and initiate programs to support colleagues in applying a range of timely, effective and appropriate feedback strategies.

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice

Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students


In addition to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers this unit addresses the following Professional Practices: 

APSP 1 Leading Teaching and Learning

Principals create a positive culture of challenge and support, enabling effective teaching that promotes enthusiastic, independent learners, committed to lifelong learning. Principals have a key responsibility for developing a culture of effective teaching, for leading, designing and managing the quality of teaching and learning and for students’ achievement in all aspects of their development. They set high expectations for the whole school through careful collaborative planning, monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of learning. Principals set high standards of behaviour and attendance, encouraging active engagement and a strong student voice

APSP 2- Developing self and others

Principals work with and through others to build a professional learning community that is focused on continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Through managing performance, effective continuing professional learning and feedback, they support all staff to achieve high standards and develop their leadership capacity. Principals support others to build capacity and treat people fairly and with respect. They model effective leadership and are committed to their own ongoing professional development and personal health and wellbeing in order to manage the complexity of the role and the range of learning capabilities and actions required of the role.

APSP 3 Leading Improvement, Innovation and Change

Principals work with others to produce and implement clear, evidence-based improvement plans and policies for the development of the school and its facilities. They recognise that a crucial part of the role is to lead and manage innovation and change to ensure the vision and strategic plan is put into action across the school and that its goals and intentions are realised.

APSP 4-Leading the management of the school

Principals use a range of data management methods and technologies to ensure that the school’s resources and staff are efficiently organised and managed to provide an effective and safe learning environment as well as value for money. This includes appropriate delegation of tasks to members of the staff and the monitoring of accountabilities. Principals ensure these accountabilities are met. They seek to build a successful school through effective collaboration with school boards, governing bodies, parents and others. They use a range of technologies effectively and efficiently to manage the school.

APSP 5-Engaging and working with the community

Principals embrace inclusion and help build a culture of high expectations that takes account of the richness and diversity of the wider school community and the education systems and sectors. They develop and maintain positive partnerships with students, families and carers and all those associated with the wider school community. They create an ethos of respect taking account of the spiritual, moral, social and physical health and wellbeing of students. They promote sound lifelong learning from preschool through to adult life. They recognise the multicultural nature of Australia’s people. They foster understanding and reconciliation with Indigenous cultures. They recognise and use the rich and diverse linguistic and cultural resources in the school community. They recognise and support the needs of students, families and carers from communities facing complex challenges.


Topics will include:

  • The school as a hospitable space – fostering inclusive and welcoming Catholic schools
  • Understanding quality teaching and learning: Learning sciences, nature of learning, principles of learning, quality teaching - what makes a difference
  • Conceptual frames and mindsets: Values, vision, ethics, and moral purpose of inclusive and positive learning
  • Leadership that makes a difference: Contemporary research on leading learning communities
  • Connecting leadership with the professional work of teachers and learning: Leadership practices and their impact on teaching and learning

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered in fully online, campus or multi-mode for the equivalence of 150 hours of study. The unit blends a range of theological, psychological, sociological, and educational literatures to engage students in critical reflection about their own community. It challenges them to analyse critically the lived experience of people within their educational community, as well as reflect on the impact of their own leadership practice. 

Introductory lectures and scholarly readings provide foundational content and knowledge for students on what contributes to positive and inclusive approaches to learning in Catholic schools. Various models of organisational culture are introduced to equip student with tools for analysis of their own leadership context. Case studies and research findings provide further examples for students to contrast and compare against their own practical experience. Students explore how to develop improvement plans in response to the audit process, including how to evaluate the effectiveness of any proposed change.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment relates directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. The unit adopts a constructivist and reflexive approach across the three assessments. The first assessment examines core concepts, models, and understandings of contemporary learning cultures. Students critically relate these to their current leadership context. Assessment 2 requires analysis of students’ context using a range of tools and frameworks. Assessment 3 requires students to draw on insights from both assessments to develop a response to those contextual issues identified in Assessment 2.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks regardless of their mode of enrolment.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Drawing from a range of scholarly literature, describe key elements of what constitutes an inclusive and positive learning culture. Explain the relationship of this to the mission and vision of Catholic education.


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2

Critical Analysis and cultural audit of student’s leadership context (middle/senior/principal/system). 


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 3

Framework / Model: Development of an improvement plan in response to findings of the critical analysis (Assessment Task 2)


LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Bezzina, M. (2019). What is this thing called authentic learning. In Authentic Learning: Why It Matters and What We Can Do about It. (pp. 17-42). Leichardt, NSW: MichaelBezzina.

Belmonte, A., & Rymarz, R. (2021). Leading Catholic schools. Garratt Publishing.

Biesta, G. (2007). Why "what works" won't work: Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, 57(1), 1-22.

Block, P. (2018). Community: The structure of belonging. Berrett-Koehler Publications.

Branson, C., & Marra, M. (2021). A new theory of organizational ecology, and its implications for educational leadership. Bloomsbury.

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied developmental science, 24(2), 97-140. doi:10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791

Hoogsteen, T. (2020). Collective Teacher Efficacy: A Critical Review of Education’s Top Influence. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 7(6).

Leithwood, K., Harris, A., & Hopkins, D. (2020). Seven strong claims about successful school leadership revisited. School Leadership & Management, 40(1), 5-22. doi:10.1080/13632434.2019.1596077

Nouwen, H. (1975/1998). Reaching out: The three movements of the spiritual life. Zondervan.

Sharratt, L. (2019). Clarity: What matters most in learning, teaching, and leading. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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