Book review: The Gradual Art of School Improvement

TES | November 03, 2019

As such, I am convinced that the Gradual Art of School Improvement offers some powerful learning for new-to-post and inexperienced secondary school leaders – in particular for those who are coming to the uncomfortable realisation that the work ahead of them is greater than they anticipated. The central tenet is that we should, as school leaders, fight against a culture of rapid and ultimately unsustainable school improvement. Instead, the author suggests, we should create a learning culture that focuses building the capacity and capability of others to learn in a slow-burn fashion. In this sense, there is little to disagree with – who wouldn’t agree that schools should have an “intense and unremitting focus on teaching and learning,” or that “micromanagement is rarely effective”? The book is intensely practical, with detailed guidance on a number of what the author considers to be key school-leadership challenges. Each one of the nine chapters outlines in an engaging style how the author established this slow-burn culture in his own school.

Spotlight

It is generally assumed by educators that the K-12 curriculum – the curriculum used in primary, elementary, and secondary education – will affect students’ post-secondary educational experiences and their ability to enter the workforce. The content of the K-12 curriculum provides students with foundational knowledge and skills which are then built up at the post-secondary level. K-12 education is also intended to develop students’ general academic skills, such as reading comprehension, writing ability, researching ability, and presentation skills. These skills are also further developed in post-secondary education, which most British Columbia high school students will undertake at some point (Heslop, 2016).

Spotlight

It is generally assumed by educators that the K-12 curriculum – the curriculum used in primary, elementary, and secondary education – will affect students’ post-secondary educational experiences and their ability to enter the workforce. The content of the K-12 curriculum provides students with foundational knowledge and skills which are then built up at the post-secondary level. K-12 education is also intended to develop students’ general academic skills, such as reading comprehension, writing ability, researching ability, and presentation skills. These skills are also further developed in post-secondary education, which most British Columbia high school students will undertake at some point (Heslop, 2016).

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