INNOVATE THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Aspiring leaders need to be given opportunities throughout their careers to acquire and retain confidence in their management skills and leadership capacity. Therefore, an important role of universities is to develop innovative and effective programs of study that support these needs. This will ensure effective capacity-building programs are developed that prepare leadership students for the complex job ahead of them.
Innovation in course design is built on the responses providing professional insight gleaned through professional partnerships, practitioner advocacy and listening to the student voice. Innovative programmes of study will not only attract students, but can also be designed to ensure effective, sustainable capacity-building programs are developed, in order to secure future support for school leaders. Through taking a ‘practice-centred’ and ‘partnerships-powered’ approach to catering to leadership learning needs (Fluckiger, Lovett & Dempster, 2014) the result will be maximized opportunities for collegial interaction and for innovative revisions to be incorporated into postgraduate courses to the benefit of future school leaders.
Changes are made to courses based on the engagement with, and data gathered from, practitioners and leadership students. This process leads to innovations in leadership courses. During the PIVOTAL Project 2014/2015 practitioners and students proposed the following changes which were subsequently made to courses in Semester 1:
Peer review activities (written and verbal) to support peers in assignment development
The introduction of Professional Learning Conversations in to assignments to encourage mentoring and professional engagement
Consideration of the Vitality Model (Resource 1) and the way that the dimensions impact on the personal vitality of school leaders Inclusion of a simulated leadership task for students currently not working in a learning community
Specialised resources and reading material for educational leaders in specific contexts (i.e. schools, higher education and clinical settings)