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EDLE632 Leading Spirituality

Unit rationale, description and aim

Contemporary approaches to formation and leadership recognise that leaders have changing needs over time. Changing contexts require changing practices: a change of role, a change of school, a need for renewal after many years in a leadership role.

In this unit students will consider how their personal renewal and sustainability is enhanced through a range of theories, theologies, spiritual practices, and contemporary research in health and well-being. 

It aims to nurture spirituality of the leader as an application of one’s Spirit to the circumstances and relationships of life and living as it changes over time. It aims to promote understanding, affect and behaviours that reflect the fullness of Christian life within self, relationships, professional practice, and communal participation. 

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 - Examine the relationship between spirituality and faith, especially in pluralist cultures (GA5; APST 2.1 (Lead); APSP 5)

LO2 - Critique how contemporary cultures, including First People's and other Indigenous perspectives, influence the development and ongoing renewal of spirituality and its educational leadership (GA1, GA4; APST 2.4 (Lead); APSP 3) 

LO3 - Critically reflect on how the mission of Jesus informs the purpose of the Catholic educational settings and their leadership (GA4; APST 1.3 (Lead); APSP 1)

LO4 - Reflectively examine how educational leaders engage with a Gospel spirituality to nurture personal growth and engagement in evangelization (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.1, 3.6, 6.3 (Lead); APSP 1, 2). 

LO5 - Critically explore how spirituality supports personal vocation and the ministry of educational leadership. (GA2; APST 1.3, 4.2, 6.3 (Lead); APSP 2, 4).

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 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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


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.

1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds

Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

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.

2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between First Peoples’ and non-First People Australians

Lead initiatives to assist colleagues with opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages. 

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.. 

4.2 Manage classroom activities

Initiate strategies and lead colleagues to implement effective classroom management and promote student responsibility for learning. 

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:

  • Exploring the nature of formation and renewal
  • The relationship of spirituality with and within religion
  • Spirituality in an Australian context, respecting First Peoples’ contributions
  • The Mission of Jesus: Foundation of spirituality and leadership 
  • Integral spirituality and ecology

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered in online, on campus or multi-mode for the equivalence of 150 hours of study. Students are introduced to theoretical and theological concepts through lectures, readings, and other online resources (e.g., blogs, podcasts, social media). This grounds and scopes the development of critical reflection through discussion forums (online tutorials and LMS forums) that enable students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the concepts and their application in educational settings. Linking these to appropriate professional standards requires students to evaluate their educational leadership practice within their own unique context. Continuous use of reflective writing practice underpins the learning across the unit.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy moves from conceptual and theoretical work through to practical application of the learning undertaken in the unit. Assessment 1 is an explanatory task that provides opportunity for students to locate and critically review key concepts and frameworks. Assessment 2 develops this further into analysis of these concepts as they relate to professional practice. Assessment 3 extends this into design of a plan to enhance spiritual formation and practice within a student’s educational community.

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

Critically review the scholarship concerning one aspect of spiritual leadership taught in this unit (as listed below) in order to demonstrate your understanding of it.


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2

 Drawing from concepts explored in this unit, and your own formation experience, explain how your understanding of spirituality influences your educational leadership practice


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3

Based on your insights about spiritual renewal and development from Assessments 1 & 2, develop a school (or other educational site) plan for how to enhance the spiritual development of a specific group within your school (e.g., your team, the wider staff, parents and care-givers, students). You should also include details about how renewal of your own leadership practices contribute to the plan.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Catholics for Renewal (2019). Getting back on mission: Reforming our church together. Mulgrave, Vic: Garrett Publishing.

Delio, I. (2021). The Hours of the Universe: Reflections on God, Science, and the Human Journey. New York: Orbis Books.

Francis. (2013). The joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium (Encyclical). Vatican Press.

Francis. (2015). Laudato Si’: On care for our common home (Encyclical). Vatican City: Vatican Press.

Geraghty, C. (2018). Jesus: The forgotten feminist. Mulgrave, Vic: Garrett Publishing.

Grieves, V. (2009). Aboriginal spirituality: Aboriginal philosophy. The basis of Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing. Discussion Paper Series. No. 9. Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health: Darwin.

Hall, T. H. (2021). Relational spirituality: A psychological-theological paradigm for transformation. Intervarsity Press.

National Catholic Education Commission (2017). A framework for formation for mission in Catholic education. NCEC.

Rohr, R. (2019). The universal Christ: How a forgotten reality can change everything we see, hope for, and believe. SPCK Publishing.

Rolheiser, R. (2014). The holy longing: The search for a Christian spirituality. New York, NY: Image.

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