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Orientating School Learning Towards Advocacy

Dr Phil Cummins explores how schools can orientate school learning towards advocacy for the other.


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The Advocacy of Continuous Learners and Unlearners

When we build learning in a school by orientating it towards advocacy for the other, we contribute to the ongoing learning journey of a school that develops the adaptive expertise and self-efficacy of continuous learners and unlearners to grow in character, competency and wellness, achieve success in the school’s graduate outcomes, and thrive in their world.

The advocacy of continuous learners and unlearners needs to be grounded in the capacity to reflect critically and yet also compassionately on self and the other. We need to learn to listen carefully to the voices of those around us and select what tools we need (and do not need) to add value to the lives of others where we can:

So, if we are going to build the fit for purpose culture of growth-minded change needed to design and deliver an education for character, competency and wellness, then the adults in it who are charged with the care and learning of the students need to model the graduate outcome of the continuous learner and unlearner. If adults are going to do this, the starting point for our leadership of them is understanding that their hearts must be with us. Our leadership task in this instance cannot start in the cognitive domain, however, so we must work in the affective domain to help people to grow, become change-ready, transform themselves, and transform the school itself: we need to win hearts before provoking heads.

CIRCLE Global Educational Research Program Finding*

So much of our leadership of learning is built on how we show who we are and becoming through our advocacy – in this way, neither leadership nor learning are abstract tasks:

So the really interesting thing for me is that education isn't just about the pushing of the buttons, it's about how you “be” in the world.

Lisa Leong | Game Changers insight**

Locating Advocacy In School Learning

Learning which is orientated towards the advocacy of continuous learners and unlearners tells a joined-up story of the journey that we take from yesterday to today to tomorrow. What does it look like to embed advocacy within school learning?

Advocacy + Learning (1)

Leading Learning With Advocacy

Adriano and I describe the modelling of leadership as continuous learners and unlearners that orientates school learning through advocacy for the other like this in our book***:

We need to be living proof that it is worth taking the big step forward and up into today’s learning for tomorrow’s world through an ongoing process of building self-awareness, relationship, service and vocation through the inside-out process of development.

Ref: Game Changers: Leading Today's Learning for Tomorrow's World (Amba Press 2023) p.15

A checklist for the work of advocacy as a team leader building learning might look like the following:

Screen Shot 2023-10-19 at 3.13.40 pm

A checklist for the work of advocacy as an organisational leader building learning might look like the following:

Screen Shot 2023-10-19 at 3.15.53 pm

How do you rate your work as a leader who orientates school learning towards advocacy for the other?

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* You can learn more about transformational leadership of a community of inquiry and practice here: https://www.aschoolfortomorrow.com/game-changers/learn

* You can listen to Lisa Leong’s Game Changers Episode here: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/game-changers/id1503430745?i=1000567201331

*** You can purchase your copy of Game Changers: Leading Today’s Learning For Tomorrow’s World (now published by Amba Press) through Amazon here, Barnes and Noble here, and Booktopia here.

Dr Phil Cummins FRSA FACEL FIML is the Managing Partner of a School for tomorrow, Managing Director at CIRCLE – The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity & Leadership in Education, Associate Professor of Education & Enterprise at Alphacrucis University College, and co-host of the Game Changers podcast series.

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