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Books : School culture

The Motivated School
By Alan McLean
Sage Publications pound;17.99

Bullying in Secondary Schools: what it looks like and how to manage it
By Keith Sullivan, Mark Cleary and Ginny Sullivan
Paul Chapman Publishing pound;16.99

Teachers, Parents and Classroom Behaviour: a psychosocial approach
By Andy Miller
Open University Press pound;17.99

The best education books frequently challenge our assumptions. For example, Alan McLean's The Motivated School demonstrates, with a kind of forensic exactness, the way we over-emphasise the importance of students' self-esteem. We have tended to assume building our students' self-esteem will improve learning.

In fact, McLean argues, "it may be the case that teachers can more readily damage student self-esteem than build it". Our energies, he believes, are better directed into creating motivating cultures. We can't make students motivated; we can only create the right conditions.

This is just one example of the way in which his book helps us to rethink current approaches. To be successful, McLean says, schools need to move from a control culture to one that emphasises self-motivation, recognising that young people today need to learn self-discipline.

Geoff Barton is headteacher at King Edward VI school, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolknbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

Read Geoff's reviews in full in thisnbsp;week's TES Friday magazine

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