Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summer reading for evidence-based practitioners and school research leads

Here are five suggestions for summer reading for school research champions and school leaders who are interested in improving their evidence-based practice.   The books are quite deliberately drawn from a number of disciplines including : improvement science, design-thinking, adult learning and evidence-based practice - so as to show that ideas for the improvement of evidence-based practice within schools can be found from a range of sources.  Indeed, they highlight the need for writers,  scholars and practitioners of/on evidence-based educational practice to look outside the field of education, as many of the problems we are grappling with have been addressed in other areas.  That does not mean we have to slavishly follow what is put forward, but rather provides us with the opportunity to learn from others. Enjoy!

BRYK, A. S., GOMEZ, L. M., GRUNOW, A. & LEMAHIEU, P. G. 2015. Learning to improve: How America's schools can get better at getting better.

Taking ideas from the field of improvement science, Learning to Improve, identifies six broad principles of improvement.  It then goes onto shows how a process of disciplined inquiry can be used  with networks to identify, adapt, and successfully scale up promising interventions in education.   In doing so, it provides an incredibly useful description of 'disciplined inquiry' i.e. it is informed by three simple questions. What specifically are we trying to accomplish? What change might we introduce and why?  How will we know that change is actually an improvement?

KEGAN, R. & LAHEY, L. L. 2016. An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, Harvard Business Review Press.

The authors look at the simple but radical idea that organisations prosper when they are deeply aligned with peoples' strongest motive i.e to grow and show how a developmental culture can be developed in organisations.  This fascinating book also explores why many individuals are immune to change, and provides an analytical model to help understand others' theories of action.

LANGLEY, G. J., MOEN, R., NOLAN, K. M., NOLAN, T. W., NORMAN, C. L. & PROVOST, L. P. 2009. The improvement guide: a practical approach to enhancing organizational performance, John Wiley & Sons.

Now in its' second edition, The Improvement Guide, offers an integrated approach to learning and improvement. Using simple examples to illustrate core ideas, the authors develop a flexible model for improving quality and productivity in diverse settings.  In doing to they draw upon research conducted in a variety of areas manufacturing, healthcare, government, and schools.   This is a must read for School Research Leads looking for ways to both implement and evaluate changes within their schools.



            MINTROP, R. 2016. Design-Based School Improvement
            A Practical Guide for Education Leaders, Cambridge, Harvard Education Press

Drawing on work on design thinking by Tim Brown, Tom Kelley and David Kelley - this book provides a step by step guide to the design development process and how it can be applied in schools.  In doing so, it integrates both theory and practice through the use of case studies.

ROUSSEAU, D. M. 2012. The Oxford handbook of evidence-based management, Oxford University Press.

The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-based Management (EBMgt)  provides an overview of key Ebmgt ideas and puts them in context of promoting evidence-based practice. Divided into three sections (research, practice, and education), this handbook examines the realities of everyday management practice and the role Ebmgt can play in improving managerial decision making and employee well being, and is an area largely ignored by writers on evidence-based education.  Indeed, it handbook highlights how relatively underdeveloped our thinking is about evidence-based education.


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