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Making Room for Impact

Making Room for Impact
A De-implementation Guide for Educators

  • Arran Hamilton - Group Director, Education, Cognition
  • John Hattie - The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Dylan Wiliam - Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London

Foreword by Lyn Sharratt

June 2023 | 344 pages | Corwin

Dial back and make room for impact

With teacher and leader workloads and burnout at an all-time high, it’s time for de-implementation: de-prioritizing and deleting the less effective, higher-cost initiatives we implement in schools. De-implementation allows us to focus on practices that have more supporting evidence and a higher probability of positive impact on students, and at the same time gain much-needed work-life balance.

In this book, the internationally respected education experts and authors provide a clear four-stage process for winnowing down teaching and learning to high-effect practices. Informed by the latest research in learning, education, healthcare, and psychology, each step and tool is designed to move educators through the hard parts of letting go. Inside, you’ll find:

  • Research that tells us the process of schooling is often over-engineered and that gives us permission to dial back, carefully
  • A step-by-step process for deciding which initiatives are most effective—and how to let go of the ones that are not
  • Useful tools, templates, and charts that educators can immediately use in their de-implementation work at school, in teaching teams, or at the system level

It’s time to get our lives back—without harming student learning. If we can collectively learn to let go and understand how to identify which initiatives are worthwhile, we’ll have more time for what truly matters.

Foreword by Dr. Lyn Sharatt
Part 1: The Big Picture
Chapter 1: Why We Need to De-Implement (and Why it’s Hard)
Chapter 2: Room for Impact: The Helicopter Overview
Part 2: Discover Stage
Chapter 3: Permit
Chapter 4: Prospect
Chapter 5: Postulate
Part 3: Decide Stage
Chapter 6: Propose
Chapter 7: Prepare
Chapter 8: Picture
Part 4: De-Implement Stage
Chapter 9: Proceed
Part 5: Re-Decide Stage
Chapter 10: aPpraise
Chapter 11: Propel

"De-implementation, or the science and art of removing, reducing, re-engineering, or replacing existing practices, is a novel concept in education, but a very important one in a world in which the limits in constantly adding more to the workload of teachers and leaders are ever more apparent. In Making Room for Impact, an international dream-team of education researchers, Hamilton, Hattie, and William, have written a practical and user-friendly guide to exactly how we can go about de-implementing in our schools so we can make room not just for a better work-life balance, but also for better results for our students."

Daniel Muijs
Professor of Education and Head of the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University, Belfast

"This is a fascinating and compelling read from some of our most influential education specialists. The central purpose is to provide an evaluative framework for educators to use in determining areas of professional workload that take up considerable time without directly improving student outcomes. The process of de-implementing is explored in detail, advice about areas that might be contributing to workload are suggested, but ultimately, we are offered a powerful manual for change.  

The idea that more is better is challenged. The notion that much of what goes on in schools may be led by busy-ness or even 'fake work' is set against a review process that privileges effectiveness and impact on learning. These arguments need to be rehearsed both within and beyond schools, optimizing teachers' time and core skills to achieve the greatest benefit for our students. Persuasively, global data shows that some systems appear to be doing less whilst achieving more—a lesson for us all."

Alison Peacock
Chief Executive, The Chartered College of Teaching, UK

"In this profoundly important book, Hamilton, Hattie, and Wiliam reveal why so many well-intentioned educational reforms fail and, more importantly, what we can do about it. Before you start your next initiative, take the authors’ words to heart and de-implement first. With practical step-by-step advice, the process guides educators and leaders through the essential steps to declutter their agendas and focus on the essentials. The impressive evidence in these pages makes clear that the fragmentation associated with an abundance of initiatives is the enemy of learning. Yet it is astonishingly difficult to avoid the sunk cost fallacy—fearing that we cannot de-implement projects in which we have invested time, money, and political capital. No matter how promising the new initiative, it will fail unless you either buy a 36-hour day or follow the advice in this book."

Douglas Reeves
Author, "Fearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Learning, Teaching, and Leading"

"One of the secrets of the highest-performing education systems is that they pursue fewer things at greater depth and avoid the mile-wide-inch deep implementation culture that often prevails elsewhere. But taking things away tends to be much harder in education than adding new things. Making Room for Impact shows it can be done and provides the research, tools, and guidance to make it happen."

Andreas Schleicher
Director for Education and Skills, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), France

"Making Room for Impact is a refreshingly original, timely, and beautifully crafted book. I'm certain the brilliantly conceived toolkit will energize educators around the world, empowering them to make the changes they need in order to take their schools forward by breaking the cycle of forever doing more and more and more.

The de-implementation model combines a rigorous and systematic conceptual framework, intellectually satisfying in its clarity and logic, with a grounded pragmatism rooted in the wisdom you only gain by spending a lot of time around busy teachers and leaders in the manic world of education. 

Having personally experienced the struggles of running a complex school with an overloaded agenda, the ideas set out here resonate completely.  It goes far beyond a simplistic 'less is more' mantra, providing an extremely thorough, practical guide that will help countless educators to regain balance, and get back on track, focusing their energies on the things that make the most difference."

Tom Sherrington
Education Consultant and Author of "Teaching Walkthrus," UK

"I cannot praise  Making Room for Impact too highly. It took me 18 years as a headteacher to realize that the fewer things I asked colleagues to do, the better our school became. If you read this book—the follow up to Building to Impactyou won’t have to spend 18 years learning how and why to de-implement. The thing is, we can only use each hour of our lives once. That is why opportunity cost is the most important concept in the wider lives of people working in schools.  

In Making Room for Impact  you’ll find a step-by-step guide to creating the time and space for developing high quality teaching and learning by stopping doing things that don’t have enough impact on our pupils’ academic progress. This book will show you how to stop headteachers writing school improvement plans with 15 priorities, how to stop deputy headteachers discussing meaningless progress data which everyone knows is meaningless, and how to stop teachers doing marking which has no impact upon learning. We need to focus more intently upon improving the quality of teaching and learning if we are going to improve the quality of provision for our pupils. This book shows you how. 

What’s more, if we could persuade our CEOs, governing bodies, Trust boards, local authorities, and policymakers to heed the advice so clearly articulated by Hamilton, Hattie and Wiliam, we may just re-establish teaching as a joyous profession where colleagues are able to meet the challenges of the job and avoid burnout, and by doing so solve the teacher-recruitment crisis. Making Room for Impact  is THE book for our times—everyone interested in the future of our schools should read it!" 

John Tomsett
Educational Consultant and co-author of the “Huh” series, UK

"This book is brilliant. Every educator recognizes that we sometimes try something new and it doesn't work out...and every educator recognizes that stopping is not always easy! This book takes you, step by step, through the process of identifying a target for de-implementation, choosing a strategy, and implementing it. This book will be invaluable for administrators!"

Daniel T. Willingham
Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia; author of "Outsmart Your Brain" and "Why Don’t Students Like School?"

"Schools are crowded with many unnecessary and fruitless policies and practices. School leaders, teachers, and students are all overworked with futile reforms and innovations, mandatory requirements, and unproductive tasks. Schools must do less! In Making Room for Impact, Arran Hamilton, John Hattie, and Dylan Wiliam make compelling arguments for doing less and provide excellent guidance for schools to do less. This is a great read for educators!"

Yong Zhao
Foundation Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas and Professor in Educational Leadership, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

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ISBN: 9781071917077
CAD$ 54.95

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