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Making Room for Impact
Discover a step-by-step, evidence-based process for deciding which initiatives are most effective—and how to let go of the ones that are not—in Making Room for Impact.
- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781071917077
- Published By: Corwin
- Year: 2023
- Page Count: 344
- Publication date: June 06, 2023
Dial back and make room for impact
With teacher and leader workloads and burnout at an all-time high, it’s time for de-implementation: de-prioritizing and deleting the less effective, higher-cost initiatives we implement in schools. De-implementation allows us to focus on practices that have more supporting evidence and a higher probability of positive impact on students, and at the same time gain much-needed work-life balance.
In Making Room for Impact, the internationally respected education experts and authors provide a clear four-stage process for winnowing down teaching and learning to high-effect practices. Informed by the latest research in learning, education, healthcare, and psychology, each step and tool is designed to move educators through the hard parts of letting go. Inside, you’ll find:
- Research that tells us the process of schooling is often over-engineered and that gives us permission to dial back, carefully
- A step-by-step process for deciding which initiatives are most effective—and how to let go of the ones that are not
- Useful tools, templates, and charts that educators can immediately use in their de-implementation work—at school, in teaching teams, or at the system level
It’s time to get our lives back—without harming student learning. If we can collectively learn to let go and understand how to identify which initiatives are worthwhile, we’ll have more time for what truly matters.
Table of Contents
Part 1: The Big Picture
Chapter 1: Why We Need to De-Implement (and Why it’s Hard)
Chapter 2: Room for Impact: The Helicopter Overview
Part 2: Discover Stage
Chapter 3: Permit
Chapter 4: Prospect
Chapter 5: Postulate
Part 3: Decide Stage
Chapter 6: Propose
Chapter 7: Prepare
Chapter 8: Picture
Part 4: De-Implement Stage
Chapter 9: Proceed
Part 5: Re-Decide Stage
Chapter 10: Praise
Chapter 11: Propel
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"This is a fascinating and compelling read from some of our most influential education specialists. The central purpose is to provide an evaluative framework for educators to use in determining areas of professional workload that take up considerable time without directly improving student outcomes. The process of de-implementing is explored in detail, advice about areas that might be contributing to workload are suggested, but ultimately, we are offered a powerful manual for change.
The idea that more is better is challenged. The notion that much of what goes on in schools may be led by busy-ness or even 'fake work' is set against a review process that privileges effectiveness and impact on learning. These arguments need to be rehearsed both within and beyond schools, optimizing teachers' time and core skills to achieve the greatest benefit for our students. Persuasively, global data shows that some systems appear to be doing less whilst achieving more—a lesson for us all."
Chief Executive, The Chartered College of Teaching, UK
"One of the secrets of the highest-performing education systems is that they pursue fewer things at greater depth and avoid the mile-wide-inch deep implementation culture that often prevails elsewhere. But taking things away tends to be much harder in education than adding new things. Making Room for Impact shows it can be done and provides the research, tools, and guidance to make it happen."
Director for Education and Skills, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), France
"I don’t think I have ever read an educational book quite like this, simply because the focus is not on the latest new thing you should be trying, but a compelling argument on how to become more effective through doing less. By suggesting a range of powerful practical processes through which you can remove, reduce, re-engineer or replace what you do, this book really empowers the reader to be bold. But this is not about taking risks; it is a powerful, evidence-informed guide on how to stop doing what you have always done (much of which we think is mandated from on high when it’s not) if there are better alternatives. As Michael Bungay-Stanier reminds us in his excellent book ‘The Coaching Habit’, one of the key questions we need to ask ourselves is, “if you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” I cannot think of a better companion to have at your side than this unique and well-argued book which has the potential to transform workload, enhance staff well-being, and improve student outcomes. I absolutely loved it!"
Founder of Leadership Matters and BASIC Coaching and former director of the National College for School Leadership, UK
Daniel T. Willingham
"This book is brilliant. Every educator recognizes that we sometimes try something new and it doesn't work out...and every educator recognizes that stopping is not always easy! This book takes you, step by step, through the process of identifying a target for de-implementation, choosing a strategy, and implementing it. This book will be invaluable for administrators!"
Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia; author of "Outsmart Your Brain" and "Why Don’t Students Like School?"
"Educational improvement efforts are plagued by remnants of previous efforts that were also designed to change outcomes. These fragments, or perhaps even entire initiatives, prevent the knowledge we have now from taking hold. Implementation fails because there are too many other things that are not working but haven’t been abandoned. It’s as if we’re at a buffet, with a full plate, and instead of removing some items, we ask for another plate and pile it on. We need to learn how to stop doing things that no longer work and this guide provides a toolkit for accomplishing just that. Before trying to implement a new program or initiative, take stock and figure out what needs to go. Then follow the process outlined in this book to successfully de-implement and remove the clutter so that the good ideas take hold."
Professor of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University
"In this profoundly important book, Hamilton, Hattie, and Wiliam reveal why so many well-intentioned educational reforms fail and, more importantly, what we can do about it. Before you start your next initiative, take the authors’ words to heart and de-implement first. With practical step-by-step advice, the process guides educators and leaders through the essential steps to declutter their agendas and focus on the essentials. The impressive evidence in these pages makes clear that the fragmentation associated with an abundance of initiatives is the enemy of learning. Yet it is astonishingly difficult to avoid the sunk cost fallacy—fearing that we cannot de-implement projects in which we have invested time, money, and political capital. No matter how promising the new initiative, it will fail unless you either buy a 36-hour day or follow the advice in this book."
Author, "Fearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Learning, Teaching, and Leading"
Frederick M. Hess
"Kurt Vonnegut's immortal 'Cat's Cradle' featured the Bokonist mantra 'busy, busy, busy.' I've often thought the phrase works all too well as a description of schooling, where the mandatory and routine squeeze out the good. In Making Room for Impact, instead of giving school leaders yet another to-do list, the authors instead offer much-needed but far-too-rare guidance on how to focus in on what matters most and carefully de-implement the rest."
Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC
"There's no end to the list of tasks teachers and schools could take on. So where can teachers find the space and time needed to make improvements, adopt better programmes, or simply go home earlier? This admirable book offers the clearest answer I've yet seen. The authors offer valuable guidance in why making room for impact matters, how we can pursue it, and precisely what steps we might choose to take. Even more importantly, they offer schools license to work towards doing less and doing differently—not just more and more. The examples of how this can be done, practical and provocative alike, are also helpful. If you've ever wished you had more time, or didn't have to do something, read this book."
author of "Habits of Success" and "Responsive Teaching," UK
"Hamilton, Hattie, and Wiliam provide a comprehensive guide that will assist busy educators in determining what to stop, start, and continue in their efforts to improve schools. Their model is grounded in research and provides a practical and efficient methodology for de-implementation that is long overdue and needed in education."
Author of "Collective Efficacy: How Educators’ Beliefs Impact Student Learning" and "Quality Implementation"
"I cannot praise Making Room for Impact too highly. It took me 18 years as a headteacher to realize that the fewer things I asked colleagues to do, the better our school became. If you read this book—the follow up to Building to Impact—you won’t have to spend 18 years learning how and why to de-implement. The thing is, we can only use each hour of our lives once. That is why opportunity cost is the most important concept in the wider lives of people working in schools.
In Making Room for Impact you’ll find a step-by-step guide to creating the time and space for developing high quality teaching and learning by stopping doing things that don’t have enough impact on our pupils’ academic progress. This book will show you how to stop headteachers writing school improvement plans with 15 priorities, how to stop deputy headteachers discussing meaningless progress data which everyone knows is meaningless, and how to stop teachers doing marking which has no impact upon learning. We need to focus more intently upon improving the quality of teaching and learning if we are going to improve the quality of provision for our pupils. This book shows you how.
What’s more, if we could persuade our CEOs, governing bodies, Trust boards, local authorities, and policymakers to heed the advice so clearly articulated by Hamilton, Hattie and Wiliam, we may just re-establish teaching as a joyous profession where colleagues are able to meet the challenges of the job and avoid burnout, and by doing so solve the teacher-recruitment crisis. Making Room for Impact is THE book for our times—everyone interested in the future of our schools should read it!"
Educational Consultant and co-author of the “Huh” series, UK
"Unbearable workloads are a chief reason given for the teacher shortage experienced in many countries. Often teachers are exhorted to ‘work smarter, not harder’, but they rarely receive advice about how to do this. This new book, from a team of highly regarded educators and researchers, is unique in that it provides guidance on both the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. It offers a process, based on principles, for removing, reducing, re-engineering, or replacing existing practices in order to concentrate on those practices likely to have most positive impact in terms of learning outcomes.
The authors draw on extensive research from the fields of education, medicine, business, and across the English-speaking world. However, the book wears its learning lightly: It is very readable, has a strong sense of an audience of educators, and is structured in such a way that the key themes are reprised for practitioners who are likely to dip into different chapters as the need arises. It should be read by teachers, school leaders, and teacher educators, but also by policymakers who often promote innovations with insufficient attention to value or consequences."
Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge Faculty of Education, UK
"Written by an unbeatable team of authors on how to improve outcomes by decluttering, this book is surely of interest to school leaders and teachers everywhere."
author of "Accomplishment: How Ambitious and Challenging Things Get Done," UK
Russell Bishop ONZM
"Two ideas came me as I was reading this book. The first was that these are such good ideas, I wonder why it has taken so long for them to reach print. The second one is that any book that promises me a means of ‘getting off the hamster wheel’ has to be taken seriously, so much so that I wish this movement to de-implementation had been more fully developed when I was working full-time directing a large-scale education reform project in 50 secondary schools: a recipe for needing de-implementation if ever there was one. I would have benefitted from the processes identified in this book immensely."
Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato, New Zealand
"Making Room for Impact is a refreshingly original, timely, and beautifully crafted book. I'm certain the brilliantly conceived toolkit will energize educators around the world, empowering them to make the changes they need in order to take their schools forward by breaking the cycle of forever doing more and more and more.
The de-implementation model combines a rigorous and systematic conceptual framework, intellectually satisfying in its clarity and logic, with a grounded pragmatism rooted in the wisdom you only gain by spending a lot of time around busy teachers and leaders in the manic world of education.
Having personally experienced the struggles of running a complex school with an overloaded agenda, the ideas set out here resonate completely. It goes far beyond a simplistic 'less is more' mantra, providing an extremely thorough, practical guide that will help countless educators to regain balance, and get back on track, focusing their energies on the things that make the most difference."
Education Consultant and Author of "Teaching Walkthrus," UK
"Schools are crowded with many unnecessary and fruitless policies and practices. School leaders, teachers, and students are all overworked with futile reforms and innovations, mandatory requirements, and unproductive tasks. Schools must do less! In Making Room for Impact, Arran Hamilton, John Hattie, and Dylan Wiliam make compelling arguments for doing less and provide excellent guidance for schools to do less. This is a great read for educators!"
Foundation Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas and Professor in Educational Leadership, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
"De-implementation, or the science and art of removing, reducing, re-engineering, or replacing existing practices, is a novel concept in education, but a very important one in a world in which the limits in constantly adding more to the workload of teachers and leaders are ever more apparent. In Making Room for Impact, an international dream-team of education researchers, Hamilton, Hattie, and William, have written a practical and user-friendly guide to exactly how we can go about de-implementing in our schools so we can make room not just for a better work-life balance, but also for better results for our students."
Professor of Education and Head of the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University, Belfast
"Making Room for Impact is a magnificent and unique book. It addresses a crucial almost completely neglected topic—how to get rid of or re-constitute things that no longer work!
I am sure the reader has heard the lament that the old ‘grammar of school’ continues to plague all efforts of reform. What reformers have traditionally done is to criticize the old way, try to implement the new only to find that they have failed time and again. How about: systematically getting rid of the old as you pave the way for the new. This book furnishes a roadmap to do just that. With fantastic graphics— a transformer's dream tool box— Making Room for Impact systematically guides us through nine ways to identify, unravel, and rid the organization of distractors as you mobilize the forces for new action. The reader learns to Discover, Decide, De-Implement, and Re-Decide, ending up with less work in total, and more powerful impact. This is a gem of a book for the action-oriented who want to affect both the small and big picture for the better."
Professor Emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto
Thomas R. Guskey
"Skilled mountaineers know that to reach the summit, you carry only what you need. Carrying more diminishes your chances of success and threatens your survival. In this book, Arran, John, and Dylan provide the practical guidance that school leaders so desperately need to lighten their packs, improve their efficiency of impact, and succeed in reaching the summit of helping all students learn."
Professor Emeritus in the College of Education, University of Kentucky