Three great books I haven’t blogged about yet – but that every educational leader should read!

Three great books I haven’t blogged about yet – but that every educational leader should read!

We’ve recently started a new feature in our PLT’s, where each session a different member brings along an article, book or reading that has had an impact on them as a teacher. Last week a colleague brought along an article about student motivation and how to improve it. It’s a genuine focus for her professional learning, and I wanted to help her find more resources. Naturally my mind flew to Daniel Pink’s outstanding book Drive. As I went to email the link to my review of that book, I found to my dismay that it didn’t exist! I simply haven’t gotten around to writing about Drive, one of my most highly recommended books, and one that has shaped my own leadership in a number of ways. Quickly I discovered quite a few other books that I haven’t reviewed yet, but that rate very highly on my recommendations list.

So here they are. Three great books that I haven’t blogged about yet, but that every educational leader should read!

Drive – Daniel Pink

Are you wondering why your well thought-out classroom motivation system has stopped working? Wonder why all of those great little Principal strategies you do can’t keep your teaching staff motivated? Ever wondered why every system in the world that has tried performance pay for teachers has seen no improvement (and many that have gone backwards as a result)? Daniel Pink has the answer here. Clearly synthesizing all of the best research into the psychology of motivation, behavioural psychology and organisational health this book clearly explains how motivation does and doesn’t work. Pink shows that we have been vastly oversimplifying motivation into the carrot and stick approaches, and that for complex tasks these approaches simply don’t work and in fact demotivate people. Complex tasks (and careers) such as teaching and leading require a different approach. A must read for all teachers and leaders.

The Principal – Michael Fullan

My copy of this book has so many dog-eared pages, flags and pencil underlines that I really will have to buy another copy if I am ever to lend it to anyone. The Principal is Fullan’s best work. In it, he outlines the leadership drivers which lead to the most success in education, and those which don’t, and lead to schools rolling on the treadmill and failing to improve. Drawing on his own research in Canada, leading educational research into leadership from around the world, and even a nod to some Australian initiatives, The Principal provides a clear framework for improvement in schools. As the title would suggest, every member of the principal class should read this book, but I would go a step further. Every teacher should read this book to enable them to better understand the bigger picture in education, the diverse work their principals undertake and what the effective drivers of improvement really are in education.

Quiet – Susan Cain

I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of Susan Cain by now, or viewed her excellent TED talk. Even if you have, Quiet is well worth a read (and a re-read). Quiet is not just relevant for teachers and leaders to better understand their students, but also themselves and their own leadership and learning styles. It should come as no surprise that this book made its way onto this reading list. For those of you that know me, or have read my other reviews, it should come as no surprise to find out that I am indeed an introvert.  After all, professional reading is a key way that introverts can develop their leadership skills; perhaps this is why I push professional reading so much with colleagues. Introverts also use professional reading as a way of improving their teaching, finding new classroom strategies and staying at the cutting edge of educational research. This book is highly empowering for the introverted leaders within schools, and is well worth a read for introverts and extroverts alike.


So that’s it, three great books you should all read. By the way, that PLT activity really has been a winner. It has allowed our Leadership team get a clearer grip on the interests, passions and professional learning needs of our staff. It has also empowered our staff to drive the improvement agenda. Give it a try.

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