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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New publications

Doomed to Fail: the Built-in Defects of American Education

Paul A Zoch
Ivan R Dee,  2004
The author challenges the 'progressive paradigm' presented by educational theorists such as Dewey, Howard and Gardner. Rather than 'blame the materials' or teacher, the book argues that education should require more of students. According to the author, students should be told that they need to 'become educated whether you enjoy the experience or not', take responsibility for their own success and failure or face 'the consequences of ... low-paying work'. The book concludes by advocating for the redefinition of education pedagogies and goals in the USA, and examines the example offered by the Japanese education system. (Adapted from review by Bruce Gans in American Journal of Education, vol. 113, no. 3 May 2007.)

Subject Headings

United States of America (USA)
Education philosophy
Education policy

Classroom Confidential

Louisa Leaman
Continuum, December 2005

This book, written by a behaviour support teacher, offers advice on creating a personalised learning environment in the classroom. With a focus on lesson content and delivery, the author describes strategies such as using visual and kinaesthetic activities, visual displays and classroom layout to focus students on class work. It highlights the importance of meaningful, specific and measurable targets as a way to assist and challenge all students. Behavioural issues are explored, with suggestions on managing group behaviours and individual students who may be withdrawn, seeking attention, reluctant to work or have difficulties socialising. (Adapted from publisher's description and review by Michael E Daniel in Teacher, August 2007, p 70.)


Subject Headings

Teacher-student relationships
Classroom management

Literature Review of Current Approaches to the Provision of Education for Children with Dyslexia

Dely Elliot, Julia K Davidson, Jon Lewin

While a ‘universal consensus’ on dyslexia has yet to be reached, the report finds that there is strong support for focusing on the development of phonological processing skills to assist dyslexic students. The research explores the various genetic and environmental influences that may contribute to dyslexia, and how students’ behavioural, social and emotional experiences may be used to aid learning. Key findings are summarised, with suggestions offered for practitioners. Noting vital clues such as family history of dyslexia, poor spelling and delayed speech can help early identification and intervention, while supporting students’ strengths and self esteem is also important. The report suggests that recent ICT developments may benefit dyslexic students, and should be scoped further. Various approaches used to teach students with dyslexia are explored, and best practice examples of programs discussed. (Adapted from report.)


Subject Headings

Learning problems

A Life in the Day of a Head Teacher

Michael Bristow, Gillian Ireson, Andy Coleman
In England a study has been undertaken involving 34 novice and experienced head teachers from various phases and regions. The focus of ths study was on work–life balance, wellbeing, stress and job satisfaction. Findings are based on  interviews, observations and participants' journals. A healthy work–life balance is found to be achievable for some participants, but unachievable for others despite similar workloads and pressures. Head teachers' division of time between liaising with external stakeholders, strategic leadership and other key areas of work is explored. Being child-centred, developing effective relationships and achieving results are the main rewards for participants, while negative staff issues include some intractions with parents, pupil misbehaviour and 'bureaucracy'. Suggested strategies to manage workload as leaders include effective prioritising, setting limits on workload such as staying late but not working weekends, and delegating tasks to other staff. The report suggests that a healthy work–life balance is possible where head teachers use distributive leadership, are able to prioritise in personal and professional lives, deal confidently with negative staff, parent and/or pupil issues, are involved in networks and enjoy an active personal life. (Adapted from report.) 

Subject Headings

Great Britain
School principals
School leadership
School administration

The Stupid Country: How Australia is Dismantling Public Education

Chris Bonnor, Jane Caro
Australia’s current approach to managing public schools is challenged in this book. The authors explore how the actions of government, some parents, religious and social ideologies are transforming public education, and undermining public schools. A wide range of debates are covered, such as the role of education in democracy, academic standards and the culture wars, school fees and funding, and league tables. Recommendations for improvement conclude the book, and focus on governance, enrolments and resources for regional and remote communities. The book is written in a way that invites readers ‘to consider the evidence and form their own response.’ (Adapted from review by Mercurius Goldstein in ON LINE opinion, 7 August 2007 and publisher's description. See also author's article in ON LINE opinion, 7 August 2007.)

Subject Headings

Education and state
Education management
Education policy

Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works

ASCD, August 2007
Written for teachers, this book describes how to incorporate research-based teaching strategies with educational technology. A wide range of lesson ideas are offered, using word processing and spreadsheet applications, multimedia, data collection tools, communication software, and the Internet. Topics covered include using technology for cooperative learning, formative assessment and student feedback, as well as for supporting students to practice new skills and do homework. Other technologies can be used to help students generate and test hypotheses, summarise notes and make comparisons, or use advanced organisers and non-linguistic representations. Advice on how to choose appropriate ICT experiences for different learning situations is offered. (Adapted from publisher's description.)

Subject Headings

Multimedia systems
Teaching and learning
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)