Leadership Dialogues: Conversations and activities for leadership teams

 
9781845909062: Leadership Dialogues: Conversations and activities for leadership teams
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This book from John West-Burnham and Dave Harris is based on two basic assumptions. Firstly, dialogue, conversation, reflection and challenge are fundamental aspects of effective learning and developing personal understanding. Secondly school leaders do not have sufficient time to engage in these activities - they are always the first casualties. Designed to provide stimulus materials for school leaders to support their personal development, Leadership Dialogues encourages personal reflection, dialogue with a coach or mentor and conversations in leadership teams. It includes short think pieces, case studies, diagnostic reviews, selected quotations on a particular theme and questions for discussion and reflection. The content is clustered into themes including: The changing context of education / strategic thinking Alternative perspectives - international comparisons Understanding effective leadership Getting management right - making schools work Leading teaching and learning Developing staff capacity Performance and accountability Working collaboratively Engaging with the community Personal resilience and sustainability The book is a valuable and practical resource for leadership teams. Much of the content is included on a free CD of printable resources.

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Review:

John and Dave have written a book that provides a wealth of material for school leaders to get their teeth into...to chew over for themselves and digest the arguments and counter arguments. The text is refreshingly full of experience and insight about how to run a school successfully, not to a formula or defined model, but to the needs of the school community. It is a book that offers reader the chance to find their own starting point based on the circumstances particular to their own school situation. --Mick Waters, Author of `Thinking Allowed on Schooling`and Professor of Education, Wolverhampton University

One of the great things (and there are many) about this book, is the fact that you know the writers have placed the child at the centre of leadership concern. It s such a fantastic testament to them that in the current cloudy maze of school pressure, expectation and accountability, their humanity, here represented as conversation, shines through. This moral purpose lies at the heart of what make West-Burnham and Harris so special. Their experience in educational leadership burns through every page of Leadership Dialogues and in writing it, they have created a resource that is not only illuminating and helpful, it s also important. This book is a boon to the experienced leader, whilst offering much food for thought around bravery, effectiveness and impact for those stepping up to leadership at any level. A key message here is that as leaders we need to ensure that our professional contributions and conversations are transformational and not simply incremental; we need to contribute effectively across the piece. Leadership Dialogues offers us the tools to do this (including a nifty CD Rom of additional resources) whilst developing a strong culture of learning, research and inquiry at the hearts of our communities. A must read. --Hywel Roberts, @hywel_roberts, Teacher, imagineer, writer and Associate Director of Independent Thinking

Like many school leaders I have read and forgotten far too many books on school leadership. Why would we possibly want another one? `Leadership Dialogues` does something rather different from all the others - and it`s designed to use collectively with fellow members of the school`s wider leadership. We know that successful leadership needs to be rooted in vision and values, underpinned by courage and a sense of judging when to push and when to step back. We know all about the grand stuff of leadership. But it`s all too easy for these principles and values to be squeezed out by real life. An incident at break, a problem with buses, another staffing issue - all of these can knock us unwittingly yet disastrously us off course. Suddenly our optimism of September is mired in the grim day-to-day realities of November. Our idealism and moral fervour unravel. That`s why I enjoyed this book by John West-Burnham and Dave Harris so much. It s a practical book about principles, a set of questions and provocations to be deployed by leadership teams in order to hold a regular mirror up to what we are doing and how. The format is simple, pithy, deeply informative, and full of challenging questions and suggestions that will help constantly to re-root us in what matters most, to think about what our priorities are and why. From where I sit, almost thirteen years into headship, `Leadership Dialogues` feels like a necessary and indispensable text. I can`t think how I got this far without it. --Geoff Barton, Headteacher, King Edward VI School

About the Author:

John West-Burnham works as an independent teacher, writer and consultant in leadership development and is also Professor of Educational Leadership at St Mary s University College, Twickenham. Dave Harris worked for over 20 years in School leadership, including 12 as a school principal across both primary and secondary phases. During this time he developed a reputation for innovative thinking and practice. Since retiring from working in schools he now puts his ideas into practice as Managing Director of Independent Thinking Ltd.

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