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EDLL606 Leading Change in Education , EDLE605 Leading Educational Change

Unit rationale, description and aim

As educational systems and schools are challenged to focus on increasing excellence and equity for all students, teacher leadership is a critical lever for improving schools from the ground up. A primary curriculum specialisation equips pre-service teachers with a set of knowledges, skills, and dispositions in order to teach effectively within the area, as well as to share and promote best practices with and amongst colleagues. To do this work, teacher leaders, regardless of their roles in schools, are tasked with the need to develop advanced pedagogical knowledge within their specialist areas, to understand the complex contexts in which improvement and innovation are initiated, and to cultivate the capabilities required to address the emotional and relational nature of change, in addition to its technical aspects.

This unit is uniquely placed within the course to support pre-service teachers’ development of leadership capabilities alongside curriculum specialist expertise and application to authentic school contexts to promote and support enhanced teaching and learning opportunities beyond their classrooms. Pre-service teachers will develop knowledge about current theories and practices of leading improvement, innovation and change in education with a particular emphasis on teacher leadership. Pre-service teachers will apply these knowledge and skills towards the development professional learning opportunities for colleagues in support of improved outcomes related to their specialist curriculum area. 

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 and synthesise effective teaching and learning approaches related to curriculum, pedagogy and assessment particular to specialisation area, with particular emphasis on differentiation and inclusive learner participation (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.3, 1.5, 2.1, 3.3, 3.5, 4.1)

LO2 - Create a professional learning vision for an authentic professional context using knowledge and understandings of the specialisation, and effective professional learning (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 2.1, 3.6, 6.2, 6.4, 7.4)

LO3 - Critically analyse contemporary evidence, both theoretical and practical, of the application of educational leadership approaches seeking improvements in schooling (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8).

Apply knowledge of the specialisation and theories and practices of leading change in education in the development, implementation, and critical evaluation of professional learning (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 3.3, 3.5, 3.6, 6.2, 6.4, 7.4)

Graduate attributes

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 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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

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


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

6.4 Demonstrate an understanding of the rationale for continued professional learning and the implications for improved student learnings. 

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


Topics will include:

  • Advanced pedagogical knowledge development through self-directed learning and professional development
  • Highly effective teaching practices within the specialist area
  • Defining teacher leadership and advocacy
  • Reflective professional practice; self-auditing, collegial engagement and identification of professional learning strengths and needs.
  • Leading and advocating as curriculum practitioner
  • Leadership that makes a difference: Contemporary research and theories on leading teaching and learning
  • Theories, models and frameworks of innovation and change
  • Theories and practical applications for leading professional learning in schools.
  • Evidence-based models and approaches for the evaluation of effective professional learning programs 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategy is informed by three key objectives. The first key objective is that pre-service teachers will build their existing understanding of effective curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment within their specialisation and engage more deeply in research and effective practice to progress their capabilities in this area to an enhanced level of self-efficacy in order to contribute to improved outcomes for learners, including better engagement. They will accomplish this as they critically investigate and synthesise research and effective practice. The second is that pre-service teachers develop their expertise in the specialisation area in tandem with conceptual and practical knowledge of leadership in education. These understandings will be supported by studying multiple illustrations of best practice and deriving critical insights around effective teaching and learning within the specialist area and leadership. Particular emphasis will be placed on contextualising and examining the complexity surrounding and often inhibiting school-based improvement efforts, as well as key levers to effectively lead change. Thus, in this unit, pre-service teachers will engage with, discuss, and distil key principles of teacher leadership and change leadership in education from examining case studies and examples of real-world, school-based change leadership in a variety of educational contexts, focusing on schools and learners impacted by educational disadvantage. The third objective channels Knowles’ andragogical principles arguing that adults learn best when they do so through experiential learning. Thus, directed learning will prioritise the exploration of practice-based, theory-informed approaches to leading professional learning and school-based change, while the majority of learning will be independent self-directed study and focused on the investigation of specialist area research and best practice, the exploration of school improvement opportunities in pre-service teachers’ contexts, and the application of learning based on their authentic experiences as pre-service teachers in an employment-based pathway.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed so that the pre-service teachers can progressively achieve the Course Learning Outcomes and the Professional Standards and is consistent with University assessment requirements (

The assessment strategy centres around the practical application of enhanced knowledge of the specialisation area as well as that of teacher leadership and change leadership, in the context of the primary school environment. The assessments are designed to align with and create an authentic space for the employment-based model of the course. Therefore, pre-service teachers in the unit will be able to draw from their extensive, sustained professional experience in their placement school to provide the basis for a vision for professional learning, to identify, create, and explain practices and resources that are contextually relevant to the classroom and school, and to develop, actually implement, and evaluate a professional learning opportunity for colleagues within the specialisation area. The professional experience also provides the basis for critical analysis of the complexities and challenges that underpin adaptive change in education, including leadership and advocacy in curriculum. Pre-service teachers in the unit will first bridge their specialist knowledge and emerging understanding of professional learning to develop the first task, a vision for professional learning, upon which the second task, a targeted professional learning opportunity to be delivered and evaluated which draws upon the outcomes of the first task, and illustrates pre-service teachers’ ability to apply their specialist knowledge and leadership knowledge in service of improved teaching and learning in an authentic context.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Vision and Toolkit for Successful Teaching and Learning

Part 1: Compose a brief literature review that summarises best practices, with reference to relevant theory and contemporary research.

Part 2: Identify, explain, and provide illustrative examples of at least four best practices for teaching and learning within the specialisation area.

Part 3: Synthesise a set of recommendations for personal and collegial development.


LO1, LO2

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2

Professional Learning Plan

Design, implement, and critically evaluate a plan for professional learning to improve teacher professional practice and student learning within the specialisation area. The plan must include a situational analysis of the professional context discussing learner diversity, collegial strengths and challenges, evidence-informed justification for advocating in favour of particular approaches, and leadership theory and practice that has informed the design of the professional learning plan. The plan must also specify a focus for professional learning within the specialisation area and multiple sources of evidence to inform its evaluation.  


LO3, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Barber, M., Rodriguez, N., & Artis, E. (2016). Deliverology in Practice: How educational leaders are improving student outcomes. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Crowther, F., Ferguson, M., & Hann, L. (2009). Developing teacher leaders: how teacher leadership enhances school success (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.

Day, C. (2017). Teachers' worlds and work: Understanding complexity, raising quality. London: Routledge.

Eacott, S., & Evers, C. (Eds.). (2016). New directions in educational leadership theory. London: Routledge.

Frost, D. (Ed.) (2017). Empowering teachers as agents of change: a non-positional approach to teacher leadership: University of Cambridge Press.

Fullan, M. (2019). Leading in a culture of change (2nd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Hattie, J. (2015). High impact leadership. Educational Leadership, 72(5), 36-40.

Leithwood, K., & Seashore Louis, K. (2012). Linking leadership to student learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Katzenmeyer, M., & Moller, G. (2009). Awakening the sleeping giant: helping teachers develop as leaders (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Wildy, H., & Clarke, S. (2011). Instructional leadership: teacher level. In J. Robertson & H. Timperley (Eds.), Leadership and learning (pp. 151-162): SAGE Publications

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