islPAL - International Society for Leadership in Pedagogy and Learning

Pedagogies and Learning

Brendan Spillane

Brendan Spillane is currently the Project Leader of two substantial systemic change projects for the Catholic education system in WA. These projects involve the design and implementation of review and improvement frameworks for all Catholic schools in WA and for head office personnel. This has included overseeing the construction of digital and other support resources. In 2010, he was a member of the steering group that organised the inaugural school improvement network for Australian Catholic school systems held in Sydney.

He has also had a significant role in both the development and delivery of a suite of leadership programs for leaders at all levels in the Catholic education system of WA. Before moving to a policy role, Brendan had a background in schools as a teacher and principal. He has a B Ed from the National university of Ireland and an M Ed in Educational Leadership from Notre Dame Australia. He is a GCi accredited Executive Coach.

Brendan has had senior roles at executive level on professional associations at both state and national level. At present, Brendan is designing programs for 2012 based on the AITSL National Standard for Principals, programs that will be delivered to a cross-sectoral audience of school leaders in WA. During 2012, he will be taking extended leave from his current role to pursue private consultancy interests, working in the areas of organisational intelligence, leadership and learning culture.

In the past few years, Brendan has had significant experience at facilitating across a diverse range of settings. Some of these have involved:

Leadership Programs

  • A series of workshops for senior leaders on understanding organisational change and the leadership requirements of today's organisations (2009-11).
  • A significant role in the delivery of core modules in the CEOWA Aspiring Principals' and Emerging Leaders' programs as well as the Induction Program for Transferring Principals.

Conference Workshops

  • Australasian Mercy Sisters Schools Association (Perth 2011).
  • Centre for Strategic Education/Growth Coaching International Conference (Melbourne 2011).
  • ACEL Conference Learning Landscapes (Adelaide 2011).
  • Association of Heads of Independent Schools Australia - Senior Staff Conference (Perth 2011).

Masterclass Series (co-designed and facilitated with Dr John Edwards)

  • Productive Feedback Relationships (Perth 2010).
  • The Conversations that Matter (Brisbane 2011).

Brendan is a strong believer in the power of dialogue to generate organisational learning and an advocate for flatness in organisational structure. He thinks kindness is a core disposition of good leaders.


Keynote Abstract

The Difference Between Fun and Joy


A Keynote Reflection on the Folly of Looking for Positional Solutions to Dispositional Problems


The complexity of our working lives needs little further explanation.It is hard to escape the conclusion that we are standing astride organisational tectonic plates that have started to move and are grating each other. Many of us have a sense that an old way is passing and something new is trying to be born in our organisational reality. How do we make sense of ourselves and our working lives in such tumultuous times? What sort of dispositions will the new organisational world order ask of us? What will leadership look like? The call to a practical wisdom that allows us to thrive in times of uncertainty is clearly discernible. Drawing on the pioneering work of Bill Isaacs, on Dan Pink's work on motivation and on a range of other sources, this keynote will try to provide a compass that still points to true north! 


The address will focus on the 'new dispositions' that need to underlie effective (and sane!) performance and looks at dialogue, vulnerability, empathy and a couple of others in a practical and hopefully interesting way. The workshop which will follow the presentation will explore a couple of key aspects in more depth.




Anatomy of Dialogue - a practical exploration

If good professional dialogue was easy, it would be happening everywhere. Too often, however, important things are left unsaid or the conversation driven underground. Why does this happen? 

This workshop will explore the patterns and archetypal behaviour that we typically experience when we meet as groups of people. It will identify the pre-condition and four core capacities that we must present for meaning to flow in groups. Participants will better understand their own roles in 'allowing' or 'disallowing' dialogue. As a result of this workshop, people should be able to better process, plan for and participate in professional dialogue. The workshop will also have direct implication for people wanting to understand the process of allowing and participating in generative dialogue from a non-professional standpoint.