If you’ve been a follower of the CORE blog over the last few years, you’ll notice how many of our CORE whānau are inspired by local and international thinkers and their practice, with these inspirations and ideas infused into their professional practice and conversations.
In 2016 CORE plans to bring a new offering to our blog community, and share with you
Who and what is inspiring our practice and thinking?
To give you a taste of what’s to come, we asked some of our prolific CORE readers to share some of their notable reads of 2015.
We hope some of these titles are new to you, and offer ideas and inspiration to infuse into your thinking and the practices at your centres, kura and schools in 2016.
The Leadership Challenge. How to make extraordinary things happen in organisations. (5th edition)
James Kouzes and Barry Posner
This year I have been thinking about the role of being a leader – what that means for me. My fundamental belief is that a leader is someone who prepares the way for others to experience success. A leader looks for barriers and blocks, a leader celebrates success, and a leader holds hands and commiserates when necessary, because we know that failure is a real part of success.
Colleagues who are facilitators in the National Aspiring Principals Programme mentioned that they use and value a book to guide their work with school leaders.
Colleagues who run the executive Masters of Business Administration Programme at Otago University mentioned that they use and value a book to guide their work with business leaders.
This was the same book!
The leadership challenge is a book that is built on 25 years worth of research across the globe. in this time the authors have distilled their findings down to five practices and ten commitments of exemplary leadership. As I read the book I found that I could see these practices working successfully across both business and school leadership. The practices are challenging enough to make you stop and think, yet simple enough to make you want to set goals and make changes.
I would recommend this book for personal growth and development, and for anyone who is working with leaders to help them with their growth.
Creating Innovators — The Making of Young People Who will Change the World
Tony Wagner (2012)
Have you recently viewed Most Likely to Succeed? Were you inspired and left wanting to know more? Look no further than Tony Wagner, from the Harvard University Innovation Lab. Author of ‘The Global Achievement Gap’ (2008), Wagner presents another must read for educators, parents, employers, and learners alike. ‘Creating Innovators’ is clearly written and easily accessible, with the added bonus of online video clips. Wagner examines the common elements and traits of various innovators, and explores how we can empower our future innovators. Wagner concludes by writing a ‘Letter to a Young Innovator’ and one for business leaders, providing a powerful message, based on Wagner’s research, observations, and conversations.
“Play, passion, and purpose: These are the forces that drive young innovators”
>>> Get a copy of: Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World
A More Beautiful Question
I have enjoyed so many titles this year, but the one I wish to share is ‘A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. This book came highly recommended by a number of Twitter buddies and I had been really looking forward to diving in.
“In this groundbreaking book, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool—one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?” — A More Beautiful Question
Berger really challenges us with a powerful questioning book. He provokes us to think deeply about the power and quality of the questions we ask; to go deeper, exploring problems with ‘Why’ and ‘What if’ type questioning.
The book is a rich resource of questioning examples. While reading, I was challenged to align the role of questioning in our facilitation. Modelling problem finding, and problem solving through questioning, are skills this book may empower you with,to explore further.
Berger left me with a very powerful challenge; to think not only about the type, or number of questions we ask, but the purpose, potential and promise of these questions. In turn this has led me to rethink the modelling of questioning that is incumbent upon education, educators and facilitators. And alongside the myriad of professional challenges Berger afforded me, are the many personal challenges. Questioning things I do and value is becoming a given. And the results have survived me on many occasions.
This book has made it to my ‘must re-read’ list… I hope it makes it to yours too!
>>> Get a copy of: A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
#Edjourney: | A Roadmap to the Future of Education
#Edjourney by @grantLichtman (on Twitter) is the story of Grant's journey across the USA to find people in schools doing innovative things. He interviewed over 600 teachers, administrators, students, parents, and trustees to find out how and what they are doing to innovate and shift away from ‘assembly-line practice’". This book will inspire you to think again about what innovation can look like in schools. It will also help you, as a teacher and a school leader, to consider practical examples that you could use in your own school – and Grant is very clear about what it takes in terms of leader and teacher practices and mindsets too. After reading this book you really have no excuses – you'll have to set about enabling innovation in your school!
Every example that Grant provides leaves you wanting to know more about what it looks like, or how the school managed to achieve the innovation. The good thing is you can find out more by visiting Grant's blog because he blogged about every part of his #edjourney http://www.grantlichtman.com/. — While it is based on US examples, it is still useful for the Aotearoa – New Zealand context.
#EdJourney is easy to read and very practical. It is closely aligned to where most New Zealand schools now want to go with their own education journeys so many leaders and teachers will be on Grant's wavelength. I found #Edjourney an exciting, practical read and I use many of the examples and quotes from the book to inspire school leaders and to help them to commit to new ways of leading innovative change.
My favourite parts of the book were the parts that really unpacked change leadership for innovation including the characteristics of a culture of innovation such as ‘Act Small’ and using Design Thinking for risk taking. Breaking down hierarchies and allowing for real autonomy in schools is something that educational leaders in Aotearoa-New Zealand could learn from this book too. I also loved seeing all the practical examples from schools.
If you are a school leader or a teacher, I highly recommend this book as a practical guide for you to become more future focused and innovative.
>>> Get a copy of: #EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education
Karen Melhuish Spencer
How to Lead:The definitive guide to effective leadership: The definitive guide to effective leadership (4th Edition)
At face value, this book looks like a 'self-help' guide for business, not education. And, self-help books are not everyone's picnic — certainly not mine. So, I was pleasantly surprised by the no-nonsense advice in Owen's 'How to Lead'. He targets anyone who is the meat in the sandwich of management and suggests anyone can learn to adapt themselves to lead others when they need to.
At its heart lies the idea that effective leaders adopt professional, growth mindsets, and tend to follow a set of proven principles. Middle managers, team leaders, heads of department, deputy heads … if you manage others and are, in turn, managed by someone else, then you may find this useful, particularly if you are 'managing up'. The book is strongly focused on the most effective ways to listen to others, design strategic approaches that drive to action, and maintain a professional approach that gets work done while not wasting time on areas that are less productive. If you have ever had to manage a challenging conversation, inspire a team, take people through change, or pitch a new idea, 'How to Lead' offers a refreshingly pragmatic starting point. Can anyone learn to lead? This book not only says you can, it shows you where to start.
>>> Get a copy of: How to Lead: The definitive guide to effective leadership (4th Edition)