FACILITATE PRACTITIONER ADVOCACY
The natural extension of the first principle (Fostering professional partnerships) is the opportunity to facilitate Principle 2: Practitioner advocacy. It is here that partners are given the opportunity to share their knowledge, experience and understanding of the profession and contribute their insight into how institutions might better design curriculum that will effectively prepare future leaders.
Practitioner advocacy provides the opportunity to gather crucial contemporary perspectives of situations within the profession and is an essential factor in future leader preparation. Authentic professional insight into current practices and experiences provides an understanding of current professional contexts and their impacts on school leaders. It is from this point that a picture begins to emerge of how course content can have the potential to meet the needs of students in postgraduate leadership courses and prepares them for the realities of the profession.
During this process of collaboration, professional partnerships begin to deepen their connection and on-going partnerships flourish. In working towards a shared professional goal, institutions are able to demonstrate the value they place on the partnership and the high regard they hold for the professional insight. It is important to provide feedback to the contributing partners regarding the innovations made based on their input and their impact on student learning.
Anchored in a consultative framework, practitioner advocacy provides opportunities for various forms of partnership contribution. Initially, through participation in a survey, local school leaders are invited to share their professional insights. The survey seeks to determine their perspectives of contemporary leadership requirements and capacities for leadership effectiveness.
This approach enables partners to share their professional insight whilst enabling ethical and institutional obligations of confidentiality and anonymity to be met. An opportunity is also provided for all survey participants to add further depth of understanding to their professional insight through participation in a Reference Group. This meeting of school principals, representing a range of education sectors (State, Catholic and Independent), maximizes the opportunity for input from individuals.
It also provides opportunities for clarification of survey data, whilst also serving to strengthen the on-going professional partnership. Academic staff members from within the same university and other universities who are involved in the preparation of leadership courses are also consulted in order to support understanding of leadership needs.