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Making Sense of Social Networks in Schools
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Making Sense of Social Networks in Schools



December 2008 | 176 pages | Corwin
Discover how social networks can foster learning communities and promote school improvement!

Social networks reflect the usually invisible relationships that control the power and flow of information within a school. This resource for school leaders examines types of networks—related to tasks, friendships, power, and culture—and provides tools for maximizing networks' positive schoolwide influence. You will find:

- Samples of social network maps that illustrate the relationships among players in various types of networks

- Steps for developing your own social network maps using interviews, surveys, and data analysis

- Strategies and practical advice for managing social networks in support of school goals


 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Foreword by Guilbert Hentschke
 
Preface: What's in a Song?
 
Lyrics to Green Door
 
Introduction: The New Principal Encounters a Locked Door: Through a Smoky Cloud
Outside Looking In

 
Overview of the Book

 
 
1. A Glimmer of Networks: Saw an Eyeball Peepin'
Business Research

 
Predominance of Networks

 
Impact on Schools

 
Misreading Clues

 
The Context of Leadership

 
Managing Networks

 
Finding Direction

 
 
2. Network Basics: Green Door, What’s That Secret You’re Keepin’
Nuts and Bolts

 
Network Players

 
Whole Networks

 
The Key to the Green Door

 
 
3. Limitations of Task Networks: Door Slammed, Hospitality's Thin There
Searching for the Boss

 
Turned Down by the Boss

 
No Access

 
Finding Access

 
Awareness

 
Resources

 
Stephanie Relaxes the Rule Book

 
 
4. Friendship Networks: The Happy Crowd
Finding Friends

 
Someone Who Understands Me

 
Someone Convenient

 
The Impact of Comfortable Connections

 
Emotional Contagion

 
Informal Induction

 
Jasmine’s Cost-Benefit Decision

 
Friendship and Productivity

 
Antipathy and Its Problems

 
The Blessings and Curses of Friendship Networks

 
 
5. Power Networks: Wish They’d Let Me In
Politics as Usual

 
Power Stars

 
Power as Perception

 
Power Players

 
Baskets and Eggs

 
Working the Power Networks

 
Principals as Politicians

 
 
6. Culture Networks: They Laugh a Lot Behind the Green Door
Stories and Traditions

 
Ties That Bind

 
The Way Things Are Done Around Here

 
Tribal Leaders, Mavericks, Mavens, Gossips, and Spies

 
The Door Ajar

 
Cultural Players

 
Trust Thy Neighbor

 
The Spirit Moves Her: A Principal Assumes the Dais

 
The Ghost of Garvey

 
A Bonding Moment

 
Reflecting on Garvey’s Green Door

 
 
7. Scoping and Working the Networks: Midnight, One More Night Without Sleepin’
Promises and Caveats of Network Study

 
Beyond Individual Players

 
Learning Communities, Culture, and Communication

 
Making Sense of School Networks

 
Opening a Can of Worms: Big Brother or the Future of Leadership

 
Inside the Green Door

 
 
Appendix: Research on Networks in Sociology, Business, and Education
Network Literature

 
Network and Related Literature in Education

 
Our Endeavors in Social Network Analysis

 
 
References
 
Index

"In an era of accountability and simplistic management 'quick fixes,' it is refreshing to see a volume dedicated first and foremost to understanding and building human relationships in schools. By developing strong networks, schools can foster open systems committed to distributive leadership and exemplary academic outcomes."

Sharon Conley, Professor
University of California, Santa Barbara

"The important message of this book—that tasks and people are important, but an understanding of power relationships and cultural bonds are crucial to effective leadership—is a message that must be understood by all who work to improve learning for all students in our schools."

Stuart E. Gothold, Clinical Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Former Superintendent, Los Angeles County Schools

"Provides an intriguing insight into the reality and power of the human relationships that exist in our schools. This work offers alternative strategies for getting things done just as it proposes a new paradigm for thinking about the fundamental organization of the school. Readers will think about how they can lead most effectively with a new and challenging perspective."

Joanne Rooney, Codirector
Midwest Principals' Center

"The authors have created a useful, practical, and compelling guide for school and district leaders as they navigate the complexities of school environments. They skillfully guide the reader to manage the school culture in ways to support student achievement and overall school improvement. The authors provide tools, strategies, and resources for site and district administrators to collect and analyze data about one of the most important and often-ignored resources: social capital."

Delores B. Lindsey, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
California State University, San Marcos

"A unique book in that it makes the invisible but powerful human dynamics among staff members within a school more transparent and user-friendly."

Joy St. Pierre
School Social Work Journal, September 2010 (Vol. 35, No. 1)

This book is easy to read for BA students. Who reads this, might get interested in studying social networks or sociological problems of education more deeply.

Dr Karoly Takacs
Institute of Sociol, Corvinus University of Budapest
December 19, 2011

May use this text for a more advanced research course.

Dr Tirupalavanam Ganesh
School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, Arizona State University - Tempe
September 26, 2011
Key features
  • A running story throughout the book anchors the concepts of social network analysis in the everyday experiences of school leaders' professional lives, is built from the authors' research using social network analysis in schools and other organizations, and shows how to use these networks to benefit students and the entire learning community
  • Numerous social network maps graphically illustrate various types of networks and show the relationships among the various players in each network
  • The book helps leaders develop their own school's social network maps using multiple strategies including interviews, surveys, and data analysis
  • Readers will find numerous strategies and practical advice for managing the social networks in their schools to foster collegial learning communities and promote school improvement

Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreword by Guilbert C. Hentschke

Preface

Chapter 1. A Glimmer of Networks


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