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Unlocking Group Potential to Improve Schools

Unlocking Group Potential to Improve Schools

Foreword by Michael Fullan

April 2012 | 280 pages | Corwin

How great groups make great schools

Training leaders how to conduct effective meetings is important, but it's not enough to ensure that the professional development process is valuable. This field book shows educators how to develop group culture, enhance facilitators' skills, and optimize the group's most precious resource—its members. The authors describe how to form working committees, task forces, grade-level, and department teams, and faculties that are more effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. Specific topics include

  • Understanding eight principles that underlie effective groups
  • Learning the five standards for effective meetings
  • Setting clear goals and roles
  • Practicing new ways of talking for improved collaboration
  • Examining perceptions and mental models
  • Enhancing energy sources
  • Working with conflict
  • Developing basic facilitation skills

This practical guide's special features include the newly updated seven norms of collaboration, a sample team assessment survey, instruments for assessing meeting effectiveness, an extensive bibliography, and practical examples embedded throughout the text. Practitioners will find a valuable road map for leading effective, student-focused school improvement efforts.

About the Authors
I. Getting Work Done
1. Building Effective Groups
2. Understanding Group Roles
3. Examining Decision Making
4. Creating Focused Agendas
II. Developing Collaborative Communities
5. Forming Smarter Groups
6. Learning the Way Groups Talk
7. Challenging Mental Models
8. Working With Conflict
III. Developing a Sense of Community
9. Becoming a Self-Directed Group
10. Enhancing Energy Sources
IV. Developing Facilitation Skills
11. Developing Facilitation Skills
12. Learning the Language of Facilitation
13. Intervening Successfully
14. Setting up the Room
Appendix A: Large Group Room Configurations
Appendix B: Sample Inventory
Appendix C: Seven Norms of Collaboration: A Supporting Toolkit

"This is an easy to read book that includes research-supported strategies and tips to help educators use precious collaborative time to their best advantage."

Dr. Kathy Grover, Assistant Superintendent
Clever R-V Public Schools, MO

"An informative read for school administrators. I recommend this book for anyone who organizes or facilitates a group of people in decision making."

Pamela Maxwell, Principal
Kennedy Elementary, Peace River, AB

"The authors provide teachers and leaders with the tools they need to make teacher group work effective and productive."

Dr. Scott Hollinger, Executive Coach
Communities Foundation of Texas/Texas High School Project, Dallas, TX

"The authors synthesize all the best research as well as extensive experience into a practical, easily understood and comprehensive guide for working effectively with groups. This book helps administrators to achieve maximum group participation and cohesion while maintaining the integrity of all involved."

Dr. Roberta E. Glaser, (Ret.) Assistant Superintendent
St. Johns Public Schools, MI

"This book provides the insights, conceptual foundation, precise language, and explicit processes about how groups work. The authors have an elegant and expanding understanding of the gestalt of the power, purpose, and energy of group work."

Dr. Douglas Gordon Hesbol, School District Administrator
Laraway Community Consolidated School District 70C, Joliet, IL

"Those familiar with the theory of adaptive school should read this book. It provides a practical and effective approach to the development of group culture and collaborative groups."

Dr. Roberto Pamas, Principal
O.W. Holmes Middle School, Alexandria, VA

"Dr. Garmston’s work provides potent tools that leaders in our local district use every day to propel student achievement forward. This book is theoretically sound and reality-based regarding the needs of schools and their leaders. This kind of work makes systems adaptive and ready to move students, parents, and leaders into the next era of learning and achievement."

Roberto Antonio Martinez, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District, Local District 5
Key features
Examines group work through the use of numerous examples, brief cases, and reflective exercises.

Useful for staff development for professional learning communities or at state or district levels when forming collaborative working groups that will meet for an extended period of time for significant tasks that require effective working relationships. 

Appropriate for leadership courses for administrators who will work with groups at the school level.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452283838

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