Created by bestselling author and MIT senior lecturer Peter Senge and a team of educators and organizational change leaders, this new addition to the Fifth Discipline Resource Book series offers practical advice for educators, administrators, and parents on how to strengthen and rebuild our schools.
Few would argue that schools today are in trouble. The problems are sparking a national debate as educators, school boards, administrators, and parents search for ways to strengthen our school system at all levels, more effectively respond to the rapidly changing world around us, and better educate our children.
Bestselling author Peter Senge and his Fifth Discipline team have written Schools That Learn because educators—who have made up a sizable percentage of the audience for the popular Fifth Discipline books—have asked for a book that focuses specifically on schools and education, to help reclaim schools even in economically depressed or turbulent districts. One of the great strengths of Schools That Learn is its description of practices that are meeting success across the country and around the world, as schools attempt to learn, grow, and reinvent themselves using the principles of organizational learning. Featuring articles, case studies, and anecdotes from prominent educators such as Howard Gardner, Jay Forrester, and 1999 U.S. Superintendent of the Year Gerry House, as well as from impassioned teachers, administrators, parents, and students, the book offers a wealth of practical tools, anecdotes, and advice that people can use to help schools (and the classrooms in them and communities around them) learn to learn.
You'll read about schools, for instance, where principals introduce themselves to parents new to the school as "entering a nine-year conversation" about their children's education; where teachers use computer modeling to galvanize student insight into everything from Romeo and Juliet to the extinction of the mammoths; and where teachers' training is not just bureaucratic ritual but an opportunity to recharge and rethink the classroom.
In a fast-changing world where school violence is a growing concern, where standardized tests are applied as simplistic "quick fixes," where rapid advances in science and technology threaten to outpace schools' effectiveness, where the average tenure of a school district superintendent is less than three years, and where students, parents, and teachers feel weighed down by increasing pressures, Schools That Learn offers much-needed material for the dialogue about the educating of children in the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Peter Senge is the author of The Fifth Discipline, "one of the seminal management books of the past 75 years" Harvard Business Review. Together with Arthur D. Little executive Bryan Smith and editorial director Art Kleiner, he is coauthor of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change.
Nelda Cambron-McCabe, professor at the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University (Ohio), is a nationally known expert on school reform and leadership; Timothy Lucas, a public school superintendent in New Jersey, is a recognized innovator of systems-thinking approaches for schools; and Janis Dutton is an education writer, consultant, and community activist.
Advance Acclaim for Schools That Learn:
"Today, more than ever, all the forces within society must join together to prepare our children to meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world. Schools That Learn is an important resource for all those wanting to tackle the challenge of integrating family, school, faith community, and policymakers into one coalition on behalf of children."
--Dr. James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center, Associate Dean, Yale School of Medicine
"I don't know of a country that is happy with its educational system. That is because most schools are crafted for the mass production ethic of industrial society. Changing this obsolete state of affairs is the best investment that a government or community can make. This book can help; it shows how schools can reorient themselves to emphasize humanity, adventure, entrepreneurship, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and experimentation, instead of rote learning."
--Kenichi Ohmae, author of The Mind of the Strategist and The Invisible Continent
"I plan to read long passages to my daughter. Whenever I think about the world in which she (and her children) will grow up, the educational system seems to be the locus of both hope and despair. Reading this book is like opening the curtains and letting in rays of hope, illuminating an entire, systemic, detailed map for change."
--Howard Rheingold, author, The Virtual Community
What Educators and Students Say About How Our Schools Work
"It took us three years to define the standards we expected of students, because we engaged the community from the beginning. It mattered to us that [the people of Memphis] own the standards."
--1999 U.S. Superintendent of the Year Gerry House
"Ordinarily, teachers are taught to work as individuals, so staff development has to help them learn to work together. And it needs to be an ongoing process, with enough time to learn new ways of teaching, to develop esprit de corps, and to unlearn old habits."
--Ed Joyner, executive director of the Yale School Development Program
"We work harder than kids in other schools. But we have more fun doing it. All the kids have different rates of learning, so the teachers keep up different rates of training."
--Students at a "five disciplines" -oriented middle school in Chelmsford, Massachusetts