Product reviews for Dare to be Different

Humanising Language Teaching, Year 20; Issue 3; June 2018
"The current educational climate has become obsessed with data and the collection of evidence, but what does having this information actually achieve?

Will Ryan considers himself to be a very lucky man. He has now spent forty-three years going in and out of this country's best primary schools and classrooms, and if there is one thing he has discovered it is that these wonderful places tend to make up their own rules. In fact, it was Michael Korda who said, -˜The fastest way to succeed is to look like you are playing to someone else's rules whilst quietly playing by your own.'

The problem in education is that politicians and administrators have constantly been changing and making up rules, leaving behind a workforce that is committed to the children in its care but worn down by political meddling. Will seriously believes that a significant proportion of these actions have been taken by politicians driven rather by a quest for power than by a deep concern for the welfare of children. Indeed, sometimes children's wellbeing has been totally neglected.

If this is the case, then it really is time for brave school leaders everywhere to start playing by their own rules. However, this can be easier said than done. Will has always been impressed by the influential leadership fables of Patrick Lencioni. He believes they have the capacity to bring about real transformational change. As a consequence, he has always harboured a desire to write a similar leadership fable within a primary school setting, and here it is ... meet Brian Smith: head teacher, hero in waiting.

Dare to be Different is the story of a primary school head teacher, Brian Smith, who listens very carefully to the things his political masters say and then sets out to achieve greatness by doing the exact opposite. While the characters in the story are all fictitious, the wonderful Tom Featherstone and the butterflies he creates (i.e. the little things that make a huge difference) are based around the work of Sir Tim Brighouse.

Those forty-three years of going in and out of wonderful classrooms while trying to make sense of constant government meddling left Will with a story which he has been dying to tell. As Zora Neale Hurston said, -˜There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.' So here comes the story."

Click here to read the review on Humanising Language Teaching website.
Guest | 07/06/2018 01:00
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