Modules 1

Leading Learning – What does it take?

The overview of the PALL program and the Research project on the PALL home page has provided you with a clear understanding of the purpose and background of the PALL program.

The following section is intended to provide you with all the materials and resources used throughout PALL in each of the five modules. It also includes the homework tasks for participating Principals to complete in between each module delivery. To read a summary of each module refer to the Synopsis.

The leadership component of each module was delivered by Emeritus Professor Neil Dempster from Griffith University.

However, there have been two presenters who worked with APPA to deliver the literacy component of the program.

Throughout the modules, where the focus is on literacy, you will find materials and resources developed by both Associate Professor Deslea Konza from Edith Cowan University and Anne Bayetto from Flinders University.

1. Agenda

This agenda provides an outline of the key sessions for Module 1.

Download Module 1 Agenda

2. Module 1 Booklet

This booklet provides a complete description of the module and includes:

  • An overview of the module
  • Planned learning outcomes
  • A summary for the module
  • Relevant reports
  • Related web links
  • Resources needed
  • Follow-up activities / Homework tasks
  • Session format and notes
  • References used
Download Module 1 Booklet

3. Powerpoint

This PowerPoint was used by Neil Dempster in his module presentation.  Neil was the sole presenter for Module 1.

Download Powerpoint for Module 1

4. Video

Neil’s presentation of Module 1 was also filmed and accompanies the PowerPoint.  This video covers his presentation for the whole day and would be a useful resource if groups or individuals wished to work through the module and its accompanying documentation.

View Video for Module 1

5. Support Material

Support materials were provided in hard copy to the Principals during the module presentation.  The order in which they are listed is the order in which they were used during the delivery.

  1. Session 1
  2. Session 2
  3. Session 3

Session 1: Leadership for Learning – What the research says

A Personal Leadership Profile (PLP) pro-forma was provided to each Principal as an introductory activity at the beginning of the day. The purpose of the pro-forma was explained and each Principal completed the form which was then collected.

The PLP provides each Principal with a record of their personal views at the beginning of the program about Leading Literacy.

After the session, the completed questionnaires were forwarded to an external agency which aggregated and normed the data for the Principals. The external agency used for PALL was “Roland Simons and Associates”. Roland’s email address is and his mobile number is 0411 110 970. Any costs would need to be negotiated directly with Roland.

Each Principal was then provided with a copy of their completed profile alongside the normed data for the Principal group.

An example of a Principal’s first ‘go’ at the PLP is provided in the supplementary materials. Principals were asked to complete another PLP at the end of Module 5 and these were once again sent to Roland. The completed data sets were then provided to the Principals which enabled to look at any changes in their self-assessment and within the group.

Personal Leadership Profile

After the completion of the PLPs, Principals were provided with the worksheet below.  As the Principals listened to Neil’s presentation they were asked to jot down the research findings that they considered important in linking leadership activity with student learning.  Neil’s presentation focussed on a synthesis of the five meta analytical studies into the connections between leadership and learning.  At the conclusion of the presentation, Principals were given time to share their findings in groups and to complete the tasks on this sheet.

Findings Linking Leadership and Learning

This A3 sheet is a graphical representation of the Leadership for Learning Dimensions which draws heavily on the findings of Professor Viviane Robinson and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) meta-analytical studies, but also on concepts such as a shared mission, the broad distribution of leadership and “disciplined dialogue”.  These concepts have their sources in the work of the National Council of School Leadership and the Cambridge Leadership for Learning Network.

Leading Literacy Learning  View Video: Mod 1 Session 1 Neil Dempster


Session 2: Applying the Leadership for Learning Blueprint to Literacy

During this session, Neil continued to use the A3 sheet, Leading Literacy Learning – A Blueprint of what it takes.

Principals were given time to reflect on their actions using this sheet and were then asked to rank themselves on the dimensions of this Leadership for Learning Blueprint and then provided reasons for their rankings.

Time was provided for Principals to discuss their rankings and the evidence they had used to make this conclusion with others.  Principals also discussed and shared strategies on how they might use this instrument when they returned to their school.

Some suggestions from Principals on how they would this use this instrument back in their school included:

  • Leadership groups completing the exercise
  • Staff groups also completing the exercise
  • One suggestion that received a very positive response was for staff members to use the Leadership for Learning Blueprint to describe what would be happening in their school if each domain received a score of 10 out of 10. What actions would staff be taking in the school if this were the case?
View Video: Mod 1 Session 2 Neil Dempster

Session 3: Leading Disciplined Dialogue

In this session Neil employed quantitative and qualitative data to stimulate ‘Disciplined Dialogue’ about each of the dimensions of the Leadership for Literacy Learning Blueprint.

The three questions used for a disciplined dialogue are in the Powerpoint, the Video and are also provided as a separate sheet in Supplementary Materials.

Neil used a series of practical examples with Principals to practise the use of these three questions before they returned to their school.

The first group of documents relate to ‘Disciplined Dialogue Practice’
Neil chose a sports club as the first practice session as it was non-school based and considered non-threatening. He recommended to the Principals that this was a good first example to use with staff because of these features.

Sports club example

Data Sets
After this sports club example, Neil used data sets from schools to further practise the three Disciplined Dialogue questions. Neil continued to support participants practising disciplined dialogue using a selection from the following examples:

Neil also used another data set referred to as a Smart tool.

6. Homework Tasks

There was an expectation that Principals would engage with a series of ‘Homework Tasks’ between each of the modules. This expectation is consistent with the research evidence on what works in Professional Development. This evidence is very clear that ‘real’ learning occurs in the context in which one works rather than in a one day presentation.

The homework tasks for Module 1 were:

  1. Task 1
  2. Task 2
  3. Task 3

Making use of the Literacy for Literacy Learning Blueprint.

Principals were asked to conduct Disciplined Dialogue sessions with their staff based on each domain identified in the Blueprint. This could then be used as a school assessment instrument with staff.

Leading Literacy Learning – A Blueprint of what it takes

Principals were provided with a School Profiling Template to use to gather specific data on their school. This template enables the school to have a comprehensive document about the context in which they are working.

At first, some Principals felt they already knew all about their school and believed that completing the template may not be necessary. However, the feedback received after the document was completed by Principals, showed that many had gained a much greater insight into the context of their school.

School Profiling Template

The analysis of each Principal’s Personal Leadership Profile, which was completed at the beginning of Neil’s presentation, was returned to them. Neil asked them to reflect on their results in readiness for his next presentation in Module 3.

Personal Leadership Profile

7. Feedback Sheet

This was used to gather feedback from the Principals on sessions delivered in this module so that the developers could make necessary adjustments to future modules.

Feedback Sheet Download

9. Podast

Neil cites the latest research on leadership using a synthesis of a number of mega studies. He has synthesised these studies into a leadership blueprint for leading learning.

Leading learning in literacy interventions