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Reduce Change to Increase Improvement
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Reduce Change to Increase Improvement



August 2017 | 152 pages | Corwin

Too much change, not enough improvement

 

Planned changes often fail because those designing them underestimate the complexity of implementation.

 

Reduce Change to Increase Improvement provides a practical structure for helping system and school leaders increase improvement while reducing ineffective change and innovation. By drilling down to the beliefs and values that inform the actual practice of change leaders, Robinson identifies the mindset, processes, and actual behaviors that contribute to successful reform efforts and, importantly, provide school leaders with concrete tools that enable them to be more effective.

 

The structures described in the book are illustrated by numerous examples, cases, and conversation extracts and center on four phases of engagement:

  • Agreeing about the problem to be solved
  • Revealing the beliefs that sustain the current practices
  • Evaluating the relative merit of the existing practices and proposed theory
  • Implementing and monitoring the new theory of action

“Finally, a serious, evidence-proven book about educational change that takes a different tact – beginning with the impact on the learner. Reduce Change to Increase Improvement is a treasure-trove of concrete information for educational leaders. Robinson, always cautious about “change for change sake”, brilliantly delineates each step of the way for leaders using authentically-documented conversations and practical discussion-starters that guide us through this collective inquiry approach towards student improvement. All leaders need this concise, clearly-stated text to guide their intentional improvement practices.

Dr. Lyn Sharratt, International Consultant and Author

OISE, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 
List of Tables and Figures
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. Too Much Change, Not Enough Improvement
Not All Change Is Desirable  
Distinguish Between Change and Improvement  
Improvement Means Positive Impact on Learners  
The Impact of Leadership on Student Outcomes  
Reflection and Action  
 
2. Understand the Challenge of Improvement
Understand Theories of Action  
Espoused Theories of Action Versus Theories in Use  
Helping to Change Theories of Action  
Reflection and Action  
 
3. Two Approaches to Leading Improvement: Bypass and Engage
The Limitations of the Bypass Approach  
The Bypass Approach: A National Initiative  
From Bypass to Engagement  
Reflection and Action  
 
4. The Four Phases of Theory Engagement
Phase I. Agree on the Problem to Be Solved  
Phase II. Inquire Into the Relevant Theory of Action  
Phase III. Evaluate the Relative Merit of the Current and Alternative Theories of Action  
Phase IV. Implement and Monitor a New, Sufficiently Shared Theory of Action  
Reflection and Action  
 
5. Learning How to Lead Improvement: Coaching That Engages Principals
Excerpt 1: Engage Others’ Thinking  
Excerpt 2: The Self-Referential Critique  
Excerpt 3: Bypass and Reframing  
Reflection and Action  
 
6. Learning How to Lead Improvement: Professional Learning That Engages Participants
The Context  
Phase I. Agree on the Problem to Be Solved  
Phase II. Reveal the Relevant Theories of Action  
Phase III. Evaluate the Relative Merit of the Current and Alternative Theories of Action  
Phase IV. Implement and Monitor a New, Sufficiently Shared Theory of Action  
Reflection and Action  
 
Afterword by Stephen Dinham
 
References
 
Index

"There are many reasons why Viviane Robinson is one of my favorite researchers in the field of educational leadership. Her depth of knowledge and understanding of school improvement makes her a stand out in the profession. Reduce Change to Increase Improvement is a book all leaders should read because it will help them understand what improvement looks like and how to avoid the pitfalls that too many leaders fall into."

Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., Corwin Author/Consultant
Finding Common Ground blog (Education Week), Albany, NY

"Viviane Robinson’s brilliant new masterpiece is provocatively entitled Reduce Change to Increase Improvement.   It is a stunning achievement. Every sentence bristles with penetrating insights and practical recommendations in the hands of Robinson’s sparkling prose. The sections on engaging respectfully with teachers’ theories of action should be required reading for every school principal or superintendent. Best of all, this expertly crafted book is a pleasure to read and re-read.  It will be cited frequently around the world for years to come."

Dennis Shirley, Professor
Lynch School of Education, Chestnut Hill, MA

Finally, a serious, evidence-proven book about educational change that takes a different tact – beginning with the impact on the learner. “Reduce Change to Increase Improvement” is a treasure-trove of concrete information for educational leaders wanting to move away from the frequently-used, ineffective Bypass Theory leading to no change in student outcomes to the rarely-used, highly effective Engagement Theory that gets at the heart of leading school improvement. Robinson, always cautious about “change for change sake”, brilliantly delineates each step of the way for leaders using authentically-documented conversations and practical discussion-starters that guide us through this collective inquiry approach towards student improvement. She highlights that only by integrating new thinking into current classroom practice will reform be successful - AND only if built on a firm foundation of leaders and teachers rigorously examining shared beliefs and exposing tacitly-held disbeliefs about the capacity of all students to learn. All leaders need this concise, clearly-stated text to guide their intentional improvement practices."

Dr. Lyn Sharratt, International Consultant and Author
OISE, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

"This is a ‘must read’ for anyone who is serious about achieving meaningful improvement and understanding more about the potential of engaging with theories of action. With her forensic eye for detail, Viviane Robinson unpicks why current practice is sustained and shows how deep and respectful coaching dialogue can produce mutual commitment and powerful professional learning. It’s a book with many applications."

Louise Stoll, PhD, Professor of Professional Learning
London Centre for Leadership in Learning/ UCL Institute of Education, London, England

"Never was a book more welcome than one that addresses why so much change leads to so little impact. Viviane’s work gets right to the heart of the beliefs, values and conditions that lie at the heart of our willingness to either embrace change or resist it. Viviane gives us an opportunity to eavesdrop on real conversations that model skillful enquiry into the values and beliefs that drive our behavior and that are more likely to lead to change that ‘pays off.’ In a world where change is constant, and resources are tight we should all be intolerant of any more failed attempts.  I would like to see every Education Ministry, school adviser and school leader not just reading this book but using it to shape their practice so change can be far less frequent, but have far more impact."

Maggie Farrar, Education Consultant
FarrarChapman Ltd, Cumnor, UK

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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ISBN: 9781506325378

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