The Networked School Leader: How to Improve Teaching and Student Outcomes using Learning Networks

Chris Brown
Durham University, UK

Product Details
03 Apr 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
280 pages - 138 x 216mm
As accountability increases while budgets decrease, a growing number of school leaders and policy-makers are turning their attention to Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) as a way of improving education and student outcomes in schools and across school systems. Although PLNs can have real benefits for teachers and students, a number of underpinning conditions need to be in place to ensure these networks have real impact. Key amongst these conditions is effective leadership.  
The role of school leaders is crucial to ensure that there is meaningful participation by their teachers in network activity and that this participation makes a difference within teachers' 'home' schools. In this timely book Chris Brown addresses the knowledge gap about how school leaders can effectively develop, support, and sustain PLNs within and across schools, drawing on two key case studies from England and Germany.  
Evidence-based, accessible, and engaging, with key takeaways for practitioners in every chapter, The Networked School Leader is crucial reading for school leaders, system leaders and education researchers working close-to-practice.
Chapter 1. The current context for Professional Learning Networks
Chapter 2. The labyrinth
Chapter 3. Connecting PLN learning with what happens in schools
Chapter 4. How can we learn from PLNs in Germany and England?
Chapter 5. Research Learning Networks in England: what do teachers and school leaders say?
Chapter 6. Research Learning Networks in England: exploring social networks, cultures of trust and innovation 
Chapter 7. Pess Networks in Germany: hearing the voices of teachers and school leaders
Chapter 8. Pess Networks in Germany: examining the use and value of networked learning
Chapter 9. Conquering the labyrinth: lessons learned from cases in England and Germany
Chris Brown is Professor in Education at Durham University, UK. He has a long-standing interest in how research evidence can and should, but often doesn't, aid the development of education policy and practice. Through his current work, Chris is seeking to drive forward research into PLNs as a means to promote the collaborative learning of teachers and to improve practice. This is Chris' eleventh book, he has also written scores of papers, and regularly presents at international conferences in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.
It will come as little surprise to anyone who has ever worked in a school or who has read anything about teacher CPD, that providing opportunities for teachers to collaborate and undertake professional learning together can lead to increased teacher job satisfaction, more effective teaching practice, and improved pupil outcomes. But the key word here is CAN - we also know that many forms of professional learning, including collaborative professional learning, fail to have a meaningful or long-term impact on teaching and learning. The devil is in the detail, in the implementation - and that is where this latest book from Chris Brown is so powerful. It offers key insight into the role of school leadership in harnessing the power of professional learning networks, and through a combination of theory and case studies of two Professional Learning Network (PLN) approaches, helps us begin to understand how such principles might work in practice. Picking up on often-neglected elements of the process - including how the learning from PLNs is shared and mobilised through the wider school - it highlights the conditions for success in collaborative professional learning (and the inhibitors of it!), providing a detailed view of not just the potential benefits of developing and engaging in PLNs, but the substantial challenges for school leaders in doing so effectively. - Cat Scutt, Director of Education and Research, Chartered College of Teaching

The great strength of The Networked School Leader is its comparative aspect. Chris Brown explores his ‘formalise, prioritise and mobilise’ advice to school leaders who want to harvest the full potential of Professional Learning Networks by drawing on his studies of networks in England and Germany. These diverse examples help to illuminate how and why networks can be powerful mechanisms for supporting learning and innovation within and across schools, but also why their leadership is challenging and why they so often fail to achieve their full potential. - Professor Toby Greany, Chair in Education, University of Nottingham

This timely book is essential reading for school leaders looking to engage and collaborate with others. Written with a focus on lived experiences, Chris offers a compelling case of the benefits when leaders support learning networks in their schools, offering sound and realistic recommendations for how to do so. - Ruth Luzmore, Heateacher – Primary, St Mary Magdalene Academy, London

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