Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Contemporary theories, policies and research are now abundant and fast moving in the field of the leadership of learning and teaching. As such educational leaders and aspirant leaders understanding such developments will help build their own capabilities in their leadership.

This unit critically analyses contemporary theory, policy and research on the leadership of teaching and learning. 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 unit is aligned to the Australian Professional Standard for Principals and Leadership Profiles (the three Leadership Requirements and the Professional Practice: Leading Teaching and Learning) and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at Lead level.

The aim of this unit is to provide opportunities for students to link contemporary research and theory with practice, and to critically reflect on their own leadership practices, values and moral purpose in leading teaching and learning.

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.

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

LO1 - Investigate the macro and micro contexts influencing understanding and practices in leading contemporary teaching and learning. (GA8; APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.1; APSP 1)

LO2 - Critically analyse contemporary research and theories shaping understandings and practices in leading teaching and learning (GA4, GA8; APST (Lead) 1.2, 6.3; APSP 1)

LO3 - Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of leadership practices on teaching and learning and the values that inform these practices (GA3, GA5; APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.1, 6.3; APSP 1, 3)

LO4 - Design and justify a conceptual framework (or model) connecting leadership activity with improving teaching and learning (GA3, GA6; APST (Lead) 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.6, 6.3; APSP 1, 3)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


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

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.

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 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.


Topics will include:

  • Schools making a difference: Macro and micro contexts of schooling, leading, teaching and student learning (including policy and social contexts, purposes of schooling)
  • Understanding quality teaching and learning: Learning sciences, nature of learning, principles of learning, quality teaching - what makes a difference
  • Leadership that makes a difference: Contemporary research and theories on leading teaching and learning
  • Connecting leadership with the professional work of teachers and learning: Leadership practices and their impact on teaching and learning
  • Conceptual frames and mindsets: Values, vision, ethics and moral purpose; Principal effectiveness in leading teaching and learning, collective leadership and distributing leadership
  • Building social capital: Teacher professional learning for student outcomes, professional growth
  • Challenges and opportunities: Values and moral purpose in leadership action; evaluating quality of teaching and learning; transforming teaching and learning.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in fully online, campus and blended learning modes for the equivalence of 150 hours of study. The use of LEO will be integral to the unit in exploring concepts and testing understandings and propositions. Strategies used will include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards, case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to current professional contexts.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment relates directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility has been exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort, such as evidence of participation as part of the assessment, with online modes of learning.

To pass this unit, you are required to submit Assessment Tasks 1 and 2, with a combined 50% or above. Students are also required to complete in class or online contributions which are aligned with the learning outcomes in the Content.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Critical Analysis: Requires students to demonstrate higher order thinking, through contrast, compare and synthesis


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Framework / Model: Requires students to demonstrate the application of theoretical and empirical research to educational leadership practices


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

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

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

Donohoo, J., Hattie, J., & Eells, R. (2018). The power of collective efficacy. Educational Leadership, 75(6), 40-44.

Gurr, D., & Drysdale, L. (2020). Leadership for Challenging Times. International Studies in Educational Administration (Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration & Management (CCEAM), 48(1), 24-30.

Heffernan, A., & Longmuir, F. (2019). ‘A School Full of Instructional Experts’: Shared Instructional Leadership in Rural Schools. Leading & Managing, 25(2).

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

MacBeath, J. E., Dempster, N., Frost, D., Johnson, G.,, & Swaffield, S. (2018). Strengthening the connections between leadership and learning: challenges to policy, school and classroom practice. London: Routledge.

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

Yeigh, T., Lynch, D., Turner, D., Provost, S. C., Smith, R., & Willis, R. L. (2019). School leadership and school improvement: an examination of school readiness factors. School Leadership & Management, 39(5), 434-456. doi:10.1080/13632434.2018.1505718

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