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The Fourth Way

The Fourth Way
The Inspiring Future for Educational Change

Edited by:
  • Andy Hargreaves - Boston College, USA, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, Canada
  • Dennis L. Shirley - Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA, Boston College, USA

August 2009 | 168 pages | Corwin
'Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley, always one or two steps ahead of the field, have done it again. An extremely balanced and insightful treatment of the first three ways of change, in which the authors clearly display the strengths and limitations of each model. And then they go to town in mapping out the fourth way—a concise and compelling framework for change that integrates teacher professionalism, community engagement, government policy, and accountability. The Fourth Way is itself a powerful 'catalyst for coherence' in a field that badly needs guidance. Read the book and rethink your approach to educational reform' - Michael Fullan, Educational Consultant , Author, The Challenge of School Change

A compelling approach to lasting educational change informed by lessons learned and new successes worldwide!

In an expressive and absorbing style, this penetrating volume offers a plan for viable and sustainable educational reform that reflects research on traditional methods and new findings from successful school initiatives around the globe.

Beginning with an incisive analysis of the three major educational change efforts of the past 25 years, Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley offer a plan that integrates government policy, professional involvement, and public engagement to create an environment of greater inclusiveness, security, and humanity. Drawing on "Four Horizons of Hope"-examples of promising implementation and practice-the book demonstrates how districts and schools can achieve dramatic improvement built on:

- Six Pillars of Purpose that support change

- Three Principles of Professionalism that drive change

- Four Catalysts of Coherence that sustain change

Written for educators, consultants, and administrators at the school and district level, The Fourth Way represents an innovative vision of educational change for meeting the dramatic problems and dynamic challenges facing educators in the 21st century.

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

Change in schools is generally not well done. Principals and school boards often are so impacted by the press of the present that they cannot see the "big," strategic picture, so they resort to the few well-tried strategies that have served them well in the past. Andy Hargreaves is a highly credible researcher on change in education. In this book, he joins with Dennis Shirley to provide a new, alternative way of re-examining change in schools.

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.

Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, WA, Australia

well done; comprehensive; forward-thinking

Dr Duncan Waite
Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education and School Psychology, Texas State University - San Marcos
October 25, 2012

This will be a common reading for the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. The book captures in a way not seen before the historical and current state of education across multiple contexts. A well-written book that challenges and engages the reader in considering education from a systemic, historical perspective.

Dr Karen Wetherill
Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina - Wilmington
June 18, 2012
Key features
  • Goes beyond how a district, school or policy shift has made a difference in bringing about change and suggests a new way that is based on research and global successes
  • Written for school principals, staff developers, district consultants, preservice educators
  • Provides established practice and clear guidelines for implementation

Sample Materials & Chapters


Ch 1 excerpt

Purchasing options

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ISBN: 9781412976374
CAD$ 40.95

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

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