In brief

19th March 2004 at 00:00
Communicating Effectively: tools for educational leaders

By Michael B Gilbert

Scarecrow Education pound;23.95

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Michael Gilbert, professor of educational leadership at Michigan University, begins with a chapter on listening. He's right to do so, because despite the importance of listening in education, it is a skill that receives scant attention. As he writes here, our most likely "training" in listening is when someone says "Did you hear what I said?" or "I don't think you understand."

The best bit of the book, though, consists of the case studies he gives of six personality types - thinker, feeler, believer, funster, doer, dreamer.

Guess which one you're tempted to look at first? Yes, it's Angie, the funster art teacher: rumpled, unkempt, in bright uncoordinated colours, with "loud" hair and nail polish and a laissez-faire administrative style:

"She is likely to give 'high fives' as a way of acknowledging or rewarding good performance."

The six examples are deliberately drawn in stereotypical outline, with the aim of helping us to see how individuals process reality in widely differing ways. In that sense, the work is useful, and it's certainly readable. Whether, at pound;23.95 for a 192-page paperback, it's also value for money, is another matter.

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