Coaching & Leadership Development
August 8, 2016

4 Great Summer Reads That’ll Help You in the Year Ahead

4 Great Summer Reads That’ll Help You in the Year Ahead

1. Mental Health and Wellbeing in The Learning and Teaching Environment

Edited by Colin R. Martin, Mick P. Fleming and Hugh Smith

This paradigm-shifting book draws on expertise from key opinion leaders within the academic research fields of education and mental health. The book considers the relationship between mental health and education in an evidence-based and practice-focused way.

It is the first book of its kind to examine the complex problems associated with today’s high-stress, high-emotion learning and teaching environments which affects both learners and leaders of learning alike.It is an important and timely text that offers new hope in tackling the alarming mental health crisis in our schools and colleges.

The book bears witness to the fact that with a growing number of students struggling with mental health problems and with schools full of pupils with a wide diversity of abilities, behaviours, needs and diagnosable conditions, teaching and school leadership have become some of the most challenging and stressful jobs imaginable.

Crucially, the text also highlights the serious impact which the behaviour of pupils, teacher and school leaders can have on each other. We now understand that relationships in schools are fundamental to intellectual and behavioural growth for pupils and that many significant mental health problems of adults have their origins in childhood.

In light of this, it is vital that those in education have all the tools and support necessary to nurture and manage these relationships and are able to fulfil their roles from a place of emotional stability and well-being to empower students upwards.

However, emotional support is often not forthcoming and so dealing with this challenging behaviour, on top of the other stresses of working in education, diverse stakeholder expectations, parent complaints and staff conflicts can also have a serious psychological impact on teachers and school leaders themselves. As a result, many struggle with anxiety, depression and burn-out, all of which can harm their ability to teach and lead to the best of their ability.

Above all, the book demonstrates that we must see the well-being of everyone involved in education and school performance as entirely inter-related matters if we are to tackle this growing mental health crisis and successfully develop and nurture the generations to come.

As an expert in the field, Integrity Coaching’s very own Viv Grant was asked to contribute a chapter on “Meeting the needs of Headteachers” which explores a number of the challenges school leaders face today.

In the chapter, Viv discusses the ever-changing and isolating nature of Headship. She explores how Heads find meaning in difficult circumstances and how they learn to learn survive within competing and conflicting demands/values of the education system.Viv also offers a new way in for Head teachers to lead without sacrificing their wellbeing.

More accurately, Viv presents a process through which trusting and meaningful relationships, the cultivation of a deliberate reflective practice can enable head teachers to receive all the emotional and mental support they need to thrive in their roles.

2. Not Knowing –The art of turning uncertainty into opportunity 

Steven D’Souza & Dianna Renner

This book re-frames the concept of Not Knowing, from being in a fearful place of weakness and ignorance, moving to something we must engage with personally.

It introduces us to a new paradigm, where Not Knowing becomes an exciting opportunity, where we are no longer limited by what we already know and our habitual reactions to things that life throws at us, so that deeper knowing can emerge, full of rich possibilities and wisdom.


3. Beautiful Risk of Education
Gert J. J. Biesta

This is a book about what many teachers know but are increasingly being prevented from talking about: that real education always involves a risk.

The risk is there because education is not about filling a bucket but about lighting a fire. It is there because students are not to be seen as objects to be moulded and disciplined, but as subjects of action and responsibility. Ultimately, Biesta presents a strong argument as to why we must give risk a central place in our educational endeavours.

4. Staying A Head – The Stress Management Secrets of Successful School Leaders
Viv Grant

Staying A Head is a must read book for those school leaders who are brave enough to admit that they are not super human and are looking to develop greater resilience, uncover solutions to their own issues, stay connected to their purpose and achieve their vision without sacrificing their wellbeing.

The book identifies key strategies that school leaders should adopt if they are to rise successfully above the challenges of their roles and maintain their ability to lead and inspire others.

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