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EDLE681 Leading Self, Leading Communities , EDLE641 - Values and Leadership

Unit rationale, description and aim

Effective leadership is fundamentally influenced by individual leaders’ self-knowledge and their interactions with others in organisations. In a dynamic, knowledge-based and increasingly depersonalised society, effective educational leadership based on trusting relationships has become more important than ever before.

This unit supports students to explore this dynamic in educational settings, by using philosophical and/or faith frameworks that clarify how values and ethics impact leadership behaviours, such as sense-making and framing, and decision-making.

The aim of this unit is to support students to reflect, explore and identify their own inner values and promote personal and professional growth through an experiential, reflective critique of personal and contemporary educational challenges.

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 - explain the nexus between intra and interpersonal intelligence and leading self and leading communities (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5; APST, 6.2 (Lead); APSP 3, 4, 5)

LO2 - Through reflexive strategies, appraise how their own values and beliefs have been influenced by actions in their personal and professional lives (GA2, GA3, GA4; APST 6.2 (Lead); APSP 2, 4, 5)

LO3 - Critique approaches and models for analysing moral and ethical dilemmas experienced in leading communities in educational contexts (GA2, GA3, GA5, GA10; APST 7.1 (Lead); APSP 3, 4, 5)

LO4 - Critically analyse the reciprocity between the leader’s values with the  community’s values and its influence on decision making in educational experiences. (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5; APST 7.1 (Lead); APSP 1, 2, 4, 5)

LO5 - Justify their leadership practice based on philosophical, faith and/or professional values (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA10; APST 6.1(Lead); APSP 1, 3, 4, 5)

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 

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 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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

6.1-Identify and plan professional learning needs

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

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

7.1-Meet professional ethics and responsibilities

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community.


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 philosophical foundations of leadership and how values reflected in these approaches impact on personal and professional life in educational communities
  • Personal analysis and reflection on values, beliefs, motivations, and behaviours and the consequences of these for leadership in education. This will involve understanding theories, such as the Theory of Planned Behaviour / Reasoned Action and extending these understandings by critiquing contemporary fields in the reciprocity between the inner world of leaders with their educational communities
  • Current theories of moral and ethical literacy and their relationship to educational leadership
  • Development of a leadership platform based on philosophy and values that will assist with understanding and explaining the inter-relationship and connection between values, beliefs and ideology in educational leadership situations
  • Practical experiences of analysing ethical and moral dilemmas for individuals and the implications of these experiences for their future as leaders of educational communities.

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 use of the Learning Management System will be integral to the unit in exploring concepts and testing understandings and propositions. Lectures and reading are presented to introduce key concepts and frameworks. Reflective writing is used to focus student learning on personal values, ethics, and professional practice. These insights are then applied to a series of case study dilemmas, complemented by online discussion/forums on related topics. Students will keep a reflective journal of their learning and personal leadership practices throughout the semester which forms the content for their final evaluative essay.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit draws from a self-reflexive assessment strategy and is designed to enhance students’ understanding of self as leader. Assessment 1 provides students with critical reflection on foundational concepts, literature, and their relationship to their educational practice. Assessment 2 build on this through application of these insights to a case study dilemma. Throughout the unit students are required to keep a reflective journal of their growing knowledge and understanding; Assessment 3 adopts uses a metacognitive strategy requiring students to evaluate their development of self throughout the unit.

The assessment strategy used allows students to demonstrate their knowledge related to perspectives on leadership vocation and service in a creative and practical manner. In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete all assessment tasks regardless of their mode of enrolment.

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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Critical reflection on the contribution that ethics, values, and faith make to personal and professional behaviours.


LO1, LO2, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4

Assessment Task 2

A digital presentation of a case study of an educational leadership ethical dilemma


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 3

Evaluation of personal reflective journal.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA10

Representative texts and references

Avolio, B. J., & Walumbwa, F. O. (2015). Authentic Leadership Theory, Research and Practice: Steps Taken and Steps that Remain. The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations, Ch.16, 331.

Begley, P. T. (2011). Leading with moral purpose: The place of ethics. In M. Preedy, N. Bennett & C. Wise (Eds.), Educational Leadership: Context, Strategy and Collaboration. Melbourne: Sage Publications Ltd.

Branson, C., & Gross, S. (Eds.) (2014). Ethical educational leadership, New York, NY: Routledge.

Branson, C., Hall, D., Sultman, W., & Kidson, P. (2021). Catholic school leadership revisited. Educatio Catholica, 3-4121-144

Khalifa, M. A., Khalil, D., Marsh, T. E. J., & Halloran, C. (2019). Toward an Indigenous, Decolonizing School Leadership: A Literature Review. Educational Administration Quarterly, 55(4), 571–614.

Neidhart, H., & Lamb, J. (2016). Australian Catholic schools today: School identity and leadership formation. Journal of Catholic Education, 19(3), 49-65.

Neuhaus, M. (2020). What is self-leadership? Models, theory, and examples

Schein, H., & Schein, P. A. (2017). Organizational culture and leadership (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son. E-Book:

Shapiro, J. P., & Stefkovich, J. A. (2021). Ethical leadership and decision making in education: Applying theoretical perspective to complex dilemmas (5th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Shapiro, J.P., Stefkovich, J.A., & Gutierrez, K.J. (2014). Ethical decision making. In C. M Branson & S. J. Gross (Eds.). Handbook of Ethical Educational Leadership. (210-228). New York: Routledge.

Starratt, R.J. (2004). Ethical leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey –Bass.

Thiel, C., Bagdasarov, Z., Harkrider, L., Johnsons, J.F., & Mumford, M. (2012). Leader Ethical Decision-Making in Organizations: Strategies for Sensemaking. Journal of Business Ethics, 107,49-64.

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