Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Distributed School Leadership

November 8, 2008 Leave a comment

31jejplwn9l_sl500_aa240_Tomorrow’s schools will need new forms of leadership. The old hierarchical models of leadership simply do not fit any longer. We need to develop new leaders at all levels of the system if we are serious about sustaining improvement and change.

This book is about developing young leaders in schools. It argues that we need to generate broad-based distributed leadership within, between and across schools to be certain of lasting change and improvement. Its main aims are to: provide a rationale for more widely distributed forms of leadership in schools offer new ways of thinking about distributed leadership practice provide practical illustrations and examples of distributed leadership give concrete ways of developing lateral leadership capacity within, between and across schools.

The book focuses on the “why, how” and “what” of distributed leadership by offering a practical insight into what it looks like in schools. It argues that our new system leaders are already in schools and that the main challenge is to develop them and maximise their collective capacity to make a difference. The main aims of the book are to:

provide a clear account of more widely distributed leadership.
offer evidence about its positive impact on organizational and individual learning.
give case-study exemplars and practical illustrations of how it works in practice.

The book also considers the leadership of networks and the new forms of partnership schools are engaged in and looks at how lateral capacity is built and the part distributed leadership plays in generating leadership capacity between schools. [Editorial Reviews]


Helping Teachers Learn

October 2, 2008 3 comments

How can you, as a principal, create opportunities for teacher learning that really work to support teachers with different needs and preferences? There is wide agreement that the best teacher development is informal, diverse, democratic, school-based, and continuous.

Helping Teachers Learn will become an essential part of an educational leader’s thinking, learning, and language. Drago-Severson is an excellent writer who masterfully weaves theory into practice. Her attention to and explanation of Bob Kegan’s Constructive-Developmental theory lends clarity, as well as insight into helping adults learn and grow in their professional lives.

As she states in her book, “Growth is an ingenious mix of supports and challenges.” Drago-Severson provides leaders with tools to create various supports and challenges in environments that can and should foster growth. I found that her four pillars, and the new model for learning-oriented school leadership were particularly useful in crafting a faculty professional development plan.

Concepts covered in Helping Teachers Learn include:

  • A new model of learning-oriented leadership that can be tailored to particular settings or individuals
  • Adult learning principles that inform teacher growth and development, and why they are essential to effective teacher development programs
  • The Four Pillars: teaming, providing leadership roles, engaging in collegial inquiry, and mentoring
  • Real-world examples of principals sharing leadership, building community, and managing change

Enhance your professional development model to better support teacher growth and development, as well as your own self-development as a principal. – [Customer Reviews from]

This is a must read for any educator who believes in adult growth and professional development.


September 20, 2008 Leave a comment

No matter where you are on the organizational ladder, the odds are high that you’ve delivered a high-stakes presentation to your peers, your boss, your customers, or the general public. Presentation software is one of the few tools that requires professionals to think visually on an almost daily basis. 

But unlike verbal skills, effective visual expression is not easy, natural, or actively taught in schools or business training programs.slide:ology fills that void.

 Written by Nancy Duarte, President and CEO of Duarte Design, the firm that created the presentation for Al Gore’s Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, this book is full of practical approaches to visual story development that can be applied by anyone. The book combines conceptual thinking and inspirational design, with insightful case studies from the world’s leading brands. With slide:ology you’ll learn to:

  • Connect with specific audiences
  • Turn ideas into informative graphics
  • Use sketching and diagramming techniques effectively
  • Create graphics that enable audiences to process information easily
  • Develop truly influential presentations
  • Utilize presentation technology to your advantage

Millions of presentations and billions of slides have been produced — and most of them miss the mark. slide:ology will challenge your traditional approach to creating slides by teaching you how to be a visual thinker. And it will help your career by creating momentum for your cause. – [Editorial Reviews]

Categories: Book Review

The learning Leader

August 12, 2008 Leave a comment

The Learning Leader: How To Focus School Improvement For Better Results by Douglas B. Reeves is an 121-page compendium of tactics and strategies appropriate for teaching and guiding students to achieve their best efforts in the classroom regardless of the curriculum or subject being studied. Addressing important issues such as the dimensions of leadership, the dilemmas of grading, transformation between learning and leading, improving a school through leadership, and so much more,

The Learning Leader acts as a complete mapping of the struggles often faced by educators in new schools, positions of combined administrative and “on the line” teaching. Critically important reading, especially for those new to teaching,

The Learning Leader is very strongly recommended for student teachers seeking their teaching certificates, as well as recently repositioned teachers searching for an adaptive reference for effectively guiding of their students to improved scholastic results. -[Customer Reviews from]

Categories: Book Review

Six Thinking Hats

May 6, 2008 2 comments

Dr. de Bono is perhaps most famous to many people for his Six Thinking Hats method, a method designed to help people break away from traditional argument or adversarial thinking. From Edward de Bono’s website: “Adversarial thinking completely lacks a constructive, creative or design element. It was intended only to discover the ‘truth’ not to build anything.” Parallel thinking methods help two or more parties, then, engage in more cooperative and coordinated forms of thinking that lead to creative solutions. Video below show Edward de Bono explaining further about Six Thinking Hats method.

Categories: Book Review, General

Designing Professional Development for Teachers

April 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Today’s teachers must prepare all students to understand, master, and apply important concepts and skills in mathematics and science and become able problem solvers and inquirers. As someone who plans professional development, you are in a unique position to meet these challenges by designing more powerful professional learning programs–programs that deepen teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge, improve teaching skills, explore student thinking, and build a learning community.

Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics, now in its second edition, guides professional developers, administrators, and teacher leaders to design learning experiences for teachers that are directly linked to improving student learning. It offers a framework for planning professional development, summarizes key research, and introduces critical issues. This book suggests many strategies to introduce professional learning into the daily work of teachers. Learn to design professional development programs that incorporate

  • Mentoring
  • Immersion experiences
  • Action research projects
  • Teacher-directed study groups
  • Lesson study
Categories: Book Review

McKinsey Report

February 22, 2008 Leave a comment

The McKinsey Report : “How the world’s best-performing schools system come out on top” is the result of research carried out by McKinsey & Company between May 2006 and March 2007. Its objective has been to understand why the world’s top-performing school systems perform so very much better than most others and why some educational reforms succeed so spectacularly, when most others fail.

In the course of this research they are visited schools from Wellington to Helsinki and from Singapore to Boston in order to benchmark more than two dozen school systems in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.


“The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teacher”

“The only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction”

“High performance requires every child to succeed”

Below is the Executive Summary of the report:

Education reform is top of the agenda of almost every country in the world. Yet despite massive increases in spending (last year, the world’s governments spent $2 trillion on education) and ambitious attempts at reform, the performance of many school systems has barely improved in decades. This is all the more surprising because there are wide variations in the quality of education. For instance, in international assessments, less than one percent of African and Middle Eastern children perform at or above the Singaporean average. Nor is this solely the result of the level of investment. Singapore, one of the world’s top performers, spends less on primary education than do 27 of the 30 countries in the OECD.

Changing what happens in the hearts and minds of millions of children – the main charge of any school system – is no simple task. That some do so successfully while others do not is indisputable. So why is it that some school systems consistently perform better and improve faster than others?

There are many different ways to improve a school system, and the complexity of this task and the uncertainty about outcomes is rightly reflected in the international debate about how this should best be done. To find out why some schools succeed where others do not, we studied twenty-five of the world’s school systems, including ten of the top performers. We examined what these high-performing school systems have in common and what tools they use to improve student outcomes.

The experiences of these top school systems suggests that three things matter most:

  1. getting the right people to become teachers,
  2. developing them into effective instructors and,
  3. ensuring that the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.

These systems demonstrate that the best practices for achieving these three things work irrespective of the culture in which they are applied. They demonstrate that substantial improvement in outcomes is possible in a short period of time and that applying these best practices universally could have enormous impact in improving failing school systems, wherever they might be located.

Categories: Book Review