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Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work

ISBN: 978-0-470-64008-1
224 pages
April 2011, Jossey-Bass
Engaging Students: The Next Level of Working on the Work (0470640081) cover image



In Phillip Schlechty's best-selling book Working on the Work, he outlined a motivational framework for improving student performance by improving the quality of schools designed for students. Engaging Students offers a next-step resource in which Schlechty incorporates what he's learned from the field and from the hundreds of workshops he and the Schlechty Center staff have conducted since Working on the Work was first published.

This innovative and practical book is focused on helping teachers become increasingly successful in designing engaging work for their students. Schlechty contends that rather than viewing schools as teaching platforms, schools must be viewed as learning platforms. Rather than seeing schools as knowledge distribution systems, schools must be seen as knowledge work systems. Rather than defining teachers as instructors, teachers must be defined as designers, leaders, and guides to instruction. Engaging Students also includes useful questionnaires that will facilitate discussion, analysis, and action planning at both school and classroom levels.

Praise for Engaging Students

"In Engaging Students, Schlechty boldly delineates why the focus on engaging students overrides the focus on test scores. Every teacher and administrator in my district will use this guide to transform our entire organization into one that is truly focused on student engagement."
KIM REDMOND, superintendent, Canton Local Schools, Canton, Ohio

"This insightful book reminds us that every decision made in schools should ultimately benefit students. You will find yourself referring to this book again and again as a guide to support you in your role as an educator."
ALLENE MAGILL, executive director, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Atlanta, Georgia

"Here is a much-enriched framework for everything Dr. Schlechty advocates: well articulated curriculum standards, schools as a platform for learning, teachers as leaders and designers of engaging and meaningful work, and students becoming responsible for their learning."
NYANA SIMS, K-12 literacy and induction facilitator, Goshen School District, Torrington, Wyoming

"By understanding and implementing the principles so thoughtfully articulated in this book, schools can become centers of highly engaged learners—and in that endeavor find again the joy of teaching and learning."
JOHNNY VESELKA, executive director, Texas Association of School Administrators, Austin, Texas

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

The Author ix

About the Schlechty Center xi

PART O N E Engagement

ONE Introduction 3

TWO The Meaning of Engagement 13

PART TWO The Framework

THREE Motives and Motivation 43

FOUR The Engagement-Focused School 57

F I V E Prototypes and Design Specifi cations 75

S I X An Alternative View of Teaching 97

PART T H R E E New Roles in Our Schools

SEVEN The Teacher’s Role: Leader, Designer, and Guide to Instruction 113

E I G H T The Principal’s Role: Leader of Leaders 133

NINE The Superintendent’s Role: Moral and Intellectual Leader 151

T E N Rethinking Accountability 171

Appendix: A Framework for Refl ection and Discussion 187

Bibliography 197

Index 199

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Author Information


PHILLIP C. SCHLECHTY is founder and CEO of the Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform. Schlechty is the author of Leading for Learning, Creating Great Schools, Working on the Work, Inventing Better Schools, Shaking Up the Schoolhouse, and Schools for the 21st Century.

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