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This book analyzes three previous major change efforts, outlines their strengths and limitations, and offers a successful and sustainable fourth way to integrate teacher professionalism, community engagement, government policy, and accountability.
The first three change genre are:
1. Innovation and inconsistency (1945-1975circa) and Complexity and contradiction (1975- late 1980s); 2. The way of the markets and standardisation (to 1995, neoliberalism); and
3. Performance and partnership (1995- present, modified New Public Management).
The authors examined aspects of the first three ways of change and decided what was worth keeping: inspiration, innovation and autonomy (from the First Way); urgency, consistency and all-inclusive equity (from the Second Way) and balance and inclusiveness, public involvement, financial re-investment, better evidence and professional networks (from the Third Way).
Six pillars of purpose and partnership characterise the Fourth Way:
1. An inspiring and inclusive vision;
2. Strong public engagement;
3. Achievement through investment;
4. Corporate educational responsibility;
5. Students as partners in change; and
6. Mindful learning and teaching.
Teacher professionalism, which took a nose-dive in the desperate push towards national standards, is re-asserted in the Fourth Way. Importantly, Hargreaves does not forget the important work that he did on sustainable leadership, and he reminds us of the need for responsibility before accountability.
This book provides a useful sense of direction to everyone imbedded in school change, and it is an important reference for all school leaders.
About the Authors
1. The Three Ways of Change
2. The Three Paths of Distraction
3. The Four Horizons of Hope
4. The Fourth Way
Posted March 17, 2010
The book "The Fourth Way" displays a great historical background of the different ways from the past and what had led to changing them into a new way. It is smart to display a well-structured outline of previous events which led to writing the book. Also, it states the predecessors of the new way they have invented: the fourth way. Still, I'm quite sceptical about it.
First of all, Hargreaves and Shirley describe their newly found fourth way very inspiring and innovative. I must disagree. Nearly every aspect of their way has been done before in one of the other three ways, only with a slightly different approach. For instance, the "becoming aware of the importance of an active participation of parents in the education of their children" has happened before, in the second way. The "competition of different knowledge societies" has happened before as well, in the second way going on in the third way. They have just replaced the prior words by using 21st century "new-age" words. Professionalism has been going on since the second way as well and can hardly be described as an innovative idea. Furthermore, the coherence between schools: wasn't that an idea posted in the second way as well?
Secondly, Hargreaves and Shirley claim to have the solution of a way fit for the fast, flexible, and vulnerable new world of the 21st century. Again, my opinion differs. Their way does not demonstrate something fit for the 21st century. Instead, they've just looked at some aspects which are going on at this moment and tried to find a suitable solution to that, which, of course, has been done before. Next they created more new-age words to their plan and there you are: an innovative plan which everyone should be amazed about.
Finally, I disagree about naming their idea "the fourth way". I do not think it is such a new way it can be named the fourth. It is merely a revised version of the third way.
Nevertheless, I do agree with the way they've displayed their ideas. Through this book, their fourth way is presented very clearly and a lot of (sub-)goals have been described very detailed. It is a great initiative to point out different goals and create a schematic overview, such as the six different pillars, the three principles of professionalism, and the four catalysts of coherence. Policymakers should definitely read this book to get informed in a way which could really change educational policy. The change is in the way the ideas are displayed. Now the different sub-goals are so specifically posted, there should be no ambiguities whatsoever anymore.
To conclude, their method of writing certainly clarifies matters. The matters they write about are just not as expected: new.
Posted March 14, 2010
No text was provided for this review.