Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School


Non-Fiction - Education
114 Pages
Reviewed on 02/12/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is a non-fiction academic management text written by Don Broadwell. Broadwell's early management style was an authoritarian one based on his experiences in the US Marine Corps; however, a career counselor's advice led him to explore other management options, ultimately ending in his study of collaborative leadership. He is the director of The Collaborative Center and has been training teachers in the collaborative method for the past thirty years. He begins this work by defining what a leader is, and he compares the different leadership models seen throughout history, from the strict authoritarian to the more modern servant leader. Broadwell describes collaborative leadership and gives numerous examples in industry, the classroom, and even as a tool that allows parents and children to feel involved and committed to the decision making process. He discusses the strains and stresses put on the education system, teachers and students during the No Child Left Behind initiative, and highlights the differences of today's children from previous generations, their expectations and their potential. Broadwell includes a List of References, a Facilitation Flow Chart for teachers and a Collaboration Base Chart in his appendices.

Don Broadwell's Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School addresses many issues I have found troubling in today’s education process. One reads all too often of highly rated, trained and committed teachers who leave the profession after several years, citing disillusionment with an educational system that puts testing above the needs of students and teachers. The presence of police on public school campuses and their increased role in "discipline" and enforcement of authority is likewise disheartening, as it seems only to create an increasingly hostile environment that's not at all conducive to learning. Broadwell's leadership approach is brilliant.

As I read his chapters describing how collaboration works best, I wished I had known about this when I was a manager sandwiched between the needs of my staff and the demands of a management committed to downsizing and instilling in their employees the belief that they existed to serve their superiors as if they were valued and demanding clients rather than encouraging workers to feel that they had a stake in the firm’s functioning as valued members. I remembered hours of unproductive staff meetings and frustrating encounters with management that could have been done so much for employee morale and productivity when approached using a collaborative leadership method. After President Obama's interest in collaborative leadership in the schools, I share Broadwell's hopes that the current administration continues to define an education policy that makes each school "a place of vitality and excitement rather than fear and loathing." Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is most highly recommended.

Gisela Dixon

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School by Don Broadwell is a non-fiction book on education practices, and advocates the collaborative style of leading and teaching method. This method emphasizes that the students and teacher work together in a collaborative, group setting where everyone’s voice is heard and a mutual consensus is reached. This approach radically differs from the traditional top-down authoritarian style of the past. In Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School, Don goes through the history of leadership and teaching throughout the centuries via a brief discussion of the thoughts of men such as Lao Tzu, Plato, Confucius, and then takes us through the various models and approaches to leadership backed by actual data. The book has been succinctly summarized in the preface and allows the reader to flip back and forth between sections as needed.

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School by Don Broadwell is a well-researched book and makes a compelling argument for the “inclusiveness in decision-making” collaborative approach. As backed by data, various models, and thorough explanations throughout the book, this model enables a more stress-free environment for all and Don encourages schools to adopt it for the future generation. I thought the argument was well laid out and valid in most parts. I also liked the fact that modern-day government and politics, and the role they play in the school system, have been addressed as well. Overall, Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is a well-written and well-researched book that I would recommend.

Marta Tandori

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is a valuable educational tool by Don Broadwell, a former instructor who taught collaborative leadership to classroom teachers for the better part of two decades. The reference source, Wikipedia, provides the following definition for “collaborative leadership”: a management practice that is focused on the leadership skills across functional and organizational boundaries. Quite the lofty definition, most would agree. Broadwell takes this lofty concept and turns it into a simple action plan for today’s classroom so that teachers can effectively model collaborative leading into situations of choice and then share collaborative deciding with their students.

The book follows a developmental approach wherein Broadwell uses a building block scheme, adding small units to what has already been learned. Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is divided up into five chapters wherein the author overviews changing leadership throughout history, then introduces basic collaboration, advanced collaboration, situational leadership revisited, and generational changes that point to collaboration as the optimal style for today’s student. The author extols that the positive aspects of collaborative leadership in the classroom will result in teachers finding it easier to change their classrooms into a problem-solving whole by energizing and implementing solutions among their students which, in turn, will raise student achievement levels. Collaborative leadership in the classroom is not without its challenges, however. Teachers must adjust their expectations of their students, making them understand that it does not dominate the decision-making process. Succeeding teachers must also understand why students from a teacher that has embraced collaborative learning are more vocal than others.

Broadwell’s passion and knowledge for his subject matter resonate throughout the book. Though relatively short, Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is written in simple, engaging prose that doesn’t threaten to overwhelm with too much information. In 1984, the author founded The Collaborative Center, a place that helped teachers learn the skills that would help them transform their classrooms from a “command and control” model to a collaborative one, so clearly, he’s got the chops for the task, so to speak. It’s difficult to deny that these days teachers are faced with many challenges in the classroom, and the threat of alienating students through the customary “command and control” method of teaching is a very real problem. Broadwell offers a smarter alternative. Read it and judge for yourself.

Deborah Lloyd

The workplace has evolved from an authoritarian model to a collaborative model. The economy is no longer local, but global. To meet these challenges, today’s students must learn, and experience, an interactive setting. Don Broadwell has developed a realistic program described in his nonfictional work, Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School. Beginning with a comprehensive history of leadership over the centuries - from the ancient philosophies of Lao Tzu, Confucius, Plato and Plutarch, to modern-world thinkers, Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership and President Obama’s collaborative style - the author demonstrates a progression of leadership models. The author also speaks from a wealth of personal experience, as he is a former Marine, college instructor and leadership expert. He utilizes the Gordon 6-Step Model: define problem as balancing need of both sides; brainstorm for solutions; evaluate ideas; choose solution; implement solution; follow up on progress. This model works in many settings, including the classroom.

This book is both scholarly and easy-to-understand. Mr. Broadwell has researched the topic extensively; yet, he presents a model that is easily implemented. He has included many case studies, pointing out what to do and what not to do. He also addresses how to verbalize each person’s needs, and how to deal with angry parties. Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School by Don Broadwell should be required reading for all teachers, principals and parents. He writes in a clear, pragmatic style, making this approach accessible to any adult who commits to a new way of teaching. The world is changing, and the ways to reach and teach children must change too. Mr. Broadwell has presented a viable way to prepare children for this evolving world.

Christian Sia

Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School by Don Broadwell is a ground-breaking work that offers professional insights and a road map for both educators and pupils for an inclusive leadership, a blueprint that will help anyone develop a sense of responsibility and participation. Yes, this is one of the books that is very relevant to our age, one that will help anyone achieve more success and lead others by getting them involved. In the introduction, the author makes a very bold claim, one that will resonate in many hearts: “I have yet to meet a young person who liked his or her schooling. In hindsight, school was a compulsive exercise in obedience (...). What quickly became obvious to me is that most of our young workers got absolutely nothing from their educational experience.”

The economic, social, and political landscapes are fast evolving and we need a form of education that prepares future leaders to meet the challenges of our eclectic culture. Don Broadwell, an ex-marine, college educator, and leadership expert offers an invaluable tool for educators in this book. As one reads the book, it becomes abundantly clear that Broadwell’s strategies will help students and teachers to be more proactive, to develop a stronger sense of self-worth by being involved in decision making. Collaborative Leadership for Classroom and School is a powerful testament, a work that showcases lessons the author learned over the years, researching, leading others, and teaching. It’s a book every educator should read. The message is simple and couched in clear and accessible language.