Achieving sustainable change in (legal) education: a whole of school approach

Penelope Watson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Legal education is facing uncertainty and pressures for change on multiple fronts. We can either see this as a burden, or as a unique opportunity to actively embrace change, re-thinking our fundamental premises and questioning received wisdom and mental models or conceptualisations about ‘the way we do things round here’, moving towards sustainable education. The paper discusses (i) re-conceptualising law schools as ‘learning organisations’, including learning to constantly scrutinize and interrogate our mental models; and (ii) adapting conventional notions of leadership to incorporate distributed leadership, marrying this with ideas from the literature on change management relating to leading secondary school reform. It then addresses the sustainability of change, drawing on principles from environmental law to suggest how innovation in legal education can be embedded and maintained over time in an organic and dynamic process of renewal. Finally, it demonstrates the possibilities inherent in adopting a whole-of-school shared model of leadership, and the capacity of students to act as leaders and change agents for sustainable education. It describes a student/ staff collaboration to design and implement a structured peer tutoring and informal mentoring program in Law at an Australian university, as an example of a student-initiated program that promotes sustainability of learning, learners, and the learning institution, blurring the boundaries between learning and teaching, and learners and teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Australia and New Zealan d Education Law Association Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationsafe, successful and sustainable education - is the law a sword or a shield?
Place of PublicationHobart
PublisherAustralia and New Zealand Education Law Association
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventAustralia & New Zealan d Education Law Association Annual Conference (22nd : 2013) - Hobart
Duration: 2 Oct 20134 Oct 2013


ConferenceAustralia & New Zealan d Education Law Association Annual Conference (22nd : 2013)


Dive into the research topics of 'Achieving sustainable change in (legal) education: a whole of school approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this