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Unleashing the Positive Power of Differences
An illuminating book shows how school leaders can effectively use polarity thinking—a powerful tool for bridging differences—to resolve contentious debates on education reform.
- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781452257716
- Published By: Corwin
- Year: 2013
- Page Count: 288
- Publication date: November 05, 2013
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Move from entrenched differences to common goals!
All too often, key education initiatives collapse because leaders fail to anticipate and learn from the concerns of those charged with implementation. This illuminating book shows how education leaders can bring opposing groups to common ground, resulting in a solid plan built on diverse wisdom.
Acclaimed education coach Jane Kise demonstrates how polarity thinking—a powerful tool for bridging differences developed by Barry Johnson of Polarity Partnerships—provides an alternative to endless debates and either/or thinking. Rather than seeing conflicting forces, the tools help us view them as equally important—even interdependent—concepts, approaches, or models. Readers will find:
- Ways to recognize polarities, map the positive and negative aspects, and channel energy wasted on disagreement toward a greater common purpose
- Tools for introducing and working with polarities
- Polarity mapping to help leaders improve processes for leading change and creating buy-in
- Ways to use polarity with students as a framework for higher-level thinking
“Jane Kise provides guidance for educators engaged in deep change and implementation of initiatives in which stakeholders have opposing perspectives. Through authentic examples of significant changes educators face today, Kise guides educators to leverage polarity thinking to promote commitment, engagement, and investment.”
— Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor
“The mind, entrenched in the rigidity of either/or thinking, dwells on the divisions and ignores the connections of both/and. This engaging and practical book helps our students (and their teachers) transcend those divisions in a journey toward enriched enlightenment and greater flexibility.”
—Arthur L. Costa, Emeritus Professor
California State University, Sacramento
- Applies the framework and tools of polarity management – a powerful means to bridging differences – to the most contentious education reform debates.
- Guides readers in applying the framework to their local contexts.
- Includes sample polarity maps as well as case studies, professional development activities, and group exercises for mapping and "tapping" polarities
- Grounded in extensive interdisciplinary research
Table of Contents
List of Professional Development Activites
About the Author
Part I. Understanding Polarity Thinking
Chapter 1. Introduction: Let's Put Our Differences to Work for Us
Chapter 2. Getting Unstuck in Education
Part II. The Big Picture of Polarity Thinking in Education Reform
Chapter 3. Leveraging Education Goals: Academic Success AND Whole Child Success
Chapter 4. Ensuring Effective Teachers: Evaluation as a Measure of Effectiveness AND a Guide for Professional Growth
Chapter 5. A Math Wars Truce: Mastery of Knowledge AND Mastery of Problem Solving
Chapter 6. Making Diplomas Meaningful: Standardization AND Customization
Part III. Putting the SMALL Polarity Thinking Tools to Work
Chapter 7. Introducing Polarity Thinking to Your Team
Chapter 8. Guiding Your Team Through Polarity Thinking
Chapter 9. Using Polarity Tools to Explore Initiatives and Opposing Experts
Chapter 10. Working With Common Polarities in Education
Chapter 11. Students and Polarities: A Tool for Critical Thinking
Part IV. A Closer Look at Why We Believe What We Believe
Chapter 12. Carl Jung, Neuroscience, and the Truth That We're Wired to Develop Different Viewpoints
Conclusion: Moving Beyond Polarization in Education
Appendix A. A PACT Process Case Study
Appendix B. Chapter 9 Reading: How Do We Help Students Succeed?
Suggestions for Further Reading
"Practical and inspirational! Leveraging the Positive Power of Differences is a must read for educators at all levels of a school system. Drawing from a wealth of information and stories from the field, Kise shows educators and students “why” they must have conversations about polarizing issues, and then shows “how” to engage productively in the conversations. Everyone benefits! After reading this book, educators and students will have the necessary tools to transform school cultures and classrooms into climates of trust and collaboration."Janice Bradley, Assistant Professor
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
"Jane Kise is an expert in personality type as applied to educators. Although useful, ways of understanding leadership, coaching, and teaching, personality types are based on polarities. Kise uses them, however, as part of a framework for understanding and resolving critical polarities in education, such as depth versus breadth in curriculum. She provides a set of steps for making use of personality types and moving from conflict to common purposes and then into action for the good of student and adult learning."Lois Brown Easton, Educational Consultant and Author
LBE Learning and Learning Forward Senior Consultant, Tucson, AZ
"Making sense of 'pendulum swings' in education is difficult for all educators; however, the use of Jane Kise's polarity tools keeps planning, decisions, and acceptance of change centered on what’s most important—student learning!"Dana Salles Trevethan, Interim Assistant Superintendent Educational Services
Turlock Unified School District, CA
"We live in an increasingly polarized world. At last, Leveraging the Positive Power of Differences provides a meaningful and relevant way to harness the passion that drives people to take positions at opposing poles and leverage their energy to focus on the common good."Scott Bailey, Assistant Professor
Stephen F. Austin State University, Longview, TX
“Conservatism vs. liberalism; autonomy vs. interdependence; competition vs. cooperation--our lives are now and our children’s future lives will be filled with intellectual tugs of war between opposites. The mind, entrenched in the rigidity of either/or thinking, dwells on the divisions and ignores the connections of both/and. This engaging and practical book helps our students (and their teachers) transcend those divisions in a journey toward enriched enlightenment and greater flexibility. Ah, but there’s the dilemma: rigidity vs. flexibility.”Arthur L. Costa, Emeritus Professor
California State University, Sacramento
“Kise’s Unleashing the Positive Power of Differences provides pragmatic guidance for educators engaged in deep change and implementation of initiatives in which stakeholders have opposing perspectives. Through authentic examples of significant changes educators face today, Kise guides educators to leverage polarity thinking to promote commitment, engagement, and investment. Rather than squandering time and effort in determining right and wrong, Kise helps educators learn how to extract ideas from diverse stances on an issue to accelerate and sustain change. When educators use polarity thinking, they model for their students and stakeholders how to develop healthier, more productive strategies for strengthening community.”Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor