Recommended Readings

The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for teaching middle and high school students. Thomas Armstrong, (2016) ASCD.

This book is an excellent update on the latest information about brain physiology with a specific focus on what happens at adolescence. It outlines the risks for adolescents and “Brain Hostile” school practices that fail them. There is list of these practices which can be used as a self-review tool. This is flowed by a list of “Brain Friendly” practices. The book is full of practical examples of strategies and activities that work well for adolescents and each chapter ends with a summary of “Takeaways”. Although connections are made throughout with the physiological rationale for the suggestions, the book is very readable and a teacher-friendly resource.

Learning in the Fast Lane. Suzy Pepper Rollins (2014) ASCD

This book challenges some of the traditional approaches to accelerating student learning. It provides a framework of eight high impact instructional approaches that can move struggling students towards success. Rather than remediation, which Suzy says slows students down, the eight practices work together to address gaps in vocabulary, reading, basic skills and motivation in the context of new learning. Even better, these strategies build academic achievement in all students, not just those at risk of academic failure. This book is practical , a very easy read and is ideal for leaders as well as teachers. You are likely to want several copies in your school!

Building and Connecting Networked Learning Communities. Steven Katz, Lorna Earl and Sonia Jaafar (2014) Sage Publications

Networked learning communities: A powerful school improvement strategy for school leaders!

This book describes strategies that underpin powerful school improvement through the creation of dynamic networked learning communities across schools. The authors, through their work in North America and England use sample school narrative to show how NLCs can enhance instruction, increase student performance and empower local professional communities. They describe and give examples of collaborative inquiry that challenge teachers’ thinking and then generates new learning whilst fostering trusting relationships both within and across schools. As you are working to engage in Communities of Learning (CoL), this book gives you some structures and ideas to consider as you are building cross school relationships and creating a process for long term, sustainable engagement and change. The diagrams are particularly useful and will support your discussion and planning and through the authors’ research, will enhance your process and the outcomes.

Quiet leadership: Six steps to transforming performance at work. Rock, D. (2006) New York: HarperCollins

This is our book of the year. It begins by outlining recent discoveries about brain physiology that help us to understand implications for managing change at a personal and organisational level. It provides six steps to help you help others to solve problems, make decisions and give feedback as well as how to work with teams, students and whole organisations, like a school. This book is highly readable and provides practical strategies for any school leader in managing relationships, building teams and leading change and development.

Brilliant coaching: How to be a brilliant coach in your workplace. Starr, J. (2012) Harlow: Pearson Education Limited 2nd Edition

This is a highly readable and practicable book that defines coaching and outlines how to develop the skills needed for effective coaching. It covers building rapport, focused listening, effective questioning, developing a flexible style of influence and giving constructive feedback. It is very useful for middle and senior school leaders involved in appraisals and those supporting other colleagues.

Realizing the Power of Professional Learning. Timperley, H. (2011). Berkshire: Open University Press.

This book has proved very useful in developing schools professional learning and development programmes. It has a strong research base and is a combination of theory, evidence and case studies of practice.

It will help school leaders develop an in-depth understanding of Helen Timperley’s five dimensions of the inquiry and knowledge building cycle and each section begins with a useful guiding question. The final chapters shifts the focus to developing relevant leadership capabilities. This is an excellent resources for developing leaders across the school and the case studies gives practical examples that can be used for discussion or reflection.

Self Theories: Their role in Motivation, Personality, and Development. Dweck, C. (2000). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

This book describes how people function- why they sometimes function well and, at other times, behave in ways that are self-defeating or destructive. In this book Carol Dweck describes:

How these patterns originate in people’s self-theories
Their consequences for the person — for achievement, social relationships, and emotional well-being
The experiences that create them
This book also includes simple student surveys that are helpful for determining how students see themselves as learners and can provide valuable data for teachers as they think about student needs.

This is an easy read book for educational leaders and teachers who are interested in developing strategies for building student learning self-efficacy.