Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

It is recognised that there exist greater differences within schools than between schools in effecting learning. The cultures within schools reflect understandings and practices that impact on learning at all levels. This requires the interpretation and understanding of the existing culture and its influence on teaching and learning, as well as the leadership practices required to create and shape cultures that lead to positive learning outcomes for all. 

In this unit students will critically analyse the complexity of leading learning cultures within organisations, including schools They will engage with the research and critically examine the structural, organisational and cultural aspects of educational organisations in supporting learning. 

The aim is to focus upon understanding and developing the leadership and professional practices that are key features of effective learning cultures.

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 - Refer to the key literature on organisational cultures and learning cultures to interpret and analyse current organisational cultures, the values present and the influence of the culture on teaching and learning (GA6, GA7; APST (Lead) 6.3, 6.4; APSP 1)

LO2 - Identify and describe leadership practices that influence, shape and sustain inclusive cultures that support learning for all (GA1, GA9; APST (Lead) 6.2, 6.3, 6.4; APSP 1, 2, 3)

LO3 - Design an approach to creating and sustaining organisational cultures that supports learning and is responsive to the policy contexts and community needs, the professional learning needs of staff and focused on improving outcomes for all students, particularly the most disadvantaged (GA2, GA6, GA7; APST (Lead) 6.1, 6.3, 6.4; APSP 3).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


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

6.1 Identify and plan professional learning needs (Lead)

Use comprehensive knowledge of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to plan and lead the development of professional learning policies and programs that address the professional learning needs of colleagues and pre-service teachers. 

6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice (Lead)

Initiate collaborative relationships to expand professional learning opportunities, engage in research, and provide quality opportunities and placements for pre-service teachers. 

6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice (Lead)

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. 

6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning. (Lead)

Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning. 


In addition to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers this unit addresses the 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.


Topics will include:

  • Introduction to learning cultures: Research and literature
  • Organisational cultures: Beliefs that drive behaviour and practice
  • External influences on learning cultures: Focusing on improvement
  • Issues of power and equity
  • Frames, metaphors and artefacts: analysing the structure, organisation and culture of educational institutions; questioning existing structures, practices and norms
  • Voices and silences in the learning community: Tacit and implicit values
  • Influences, potential and limitations of a professional standards environment
  • Building professional capital: Teachers make a difference
  • Communities of practice: Individual and collective professional learning
  • How teachers learn and develop their practice
  • Teacher identity, agency and professionalism
  • Leadership influence and impact on learning cultures: Theories of action

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video, workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort and their professional situation. The essay format is used in the two Assessment Tasks as it allows flexibility for students to outline their Case Study and review the organisational culture of the organisation. As the questions relate to the learning outcomes, the essay format provide scope for all students to demonstrate that they have met the standards.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit an assignment for each of the assessment task and achieve a minimum passing standard across the two assessments.

The assessment tasks are designed to provide the opportunity to critically reflect on your own educational organisations, share an understanding based in research, on what is happening and propose and justify an alternative future. Assignment 2 builds on Assignment 1, offering an opportunity for students to “create” a learning environment that will improve student learning outcomes. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort and their professional situation.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Case study: Deciphering the culture

Review the culture of an educational organisation describing the organisational culture, the values evident and the effect on teaching and learning.

Identify some of the key strategic opportunities and associated issues faced by the leadership,

The description should be grounded in the key literature and your interpretations should be supported by evidence from the organisation (including metaphors, artefacts, and leadership practices observed).

Using this description and interpretation, propose and justify possible desired futures.

Explore the positive and negative consequences 


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA6, GA7, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Leadership building and shaping culture

Build upon the review from Assessment Task 1.

Based on the outcomes of the review, and your knowledge of organisational cultures and learning cultures, identify and describe the leadership practices that could influence, shape and sustain an inclusive culture that support learning for all.

Design a strategic approach to creating and sustaining this inclusive culture that supports learning and is responsive to the policy contexts and community needs, the professional learning needs of staff and is focused on improving outcomes for all students, particularly the most disadvantaged.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA6, GA7. GA9

Representative texts and references

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Deal, T.E., & Peterson, K.D. (2010). Shaping school culture: Pitfalls, paradoxes, & promises (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley,

Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts and systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Fullan, M. (2019). Putting FACES on the data. Google Books, Corvin Press.

Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Kruse, S. D. & Seashore Louis, K. (2009). Building strong school cultures: A guide to leading change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Lumby, J. (2012). Leading organizational culture: Issues of power and equity. Educational management, administration and leadership 40(5), 576 – 591.

Robinson, V. (2011). Student-centered leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Schein, E. H. (2010). Organisational culture and leadership (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Spillane, J. P. (2014). Managing instructional quality and leading instructional improvement: engaging with the essence of school improvement. Australian Educational Leader 37(1), 22 – 26.

Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.

Timperley, H. (2019) Leading powerful professional learning, Berkshire, England: Open University Press.

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