It’s Our School, It’s Our Time outlines a whole-school approach to teacher–pupil collaboration, illustrating how aspects of social inequality can be addressed by involvement in the school community and active participation in decision-making from an early age. The book presents insights into the psychological processes that are at work when pupils and teachers share decision-making, and how this can harness and increase motivation for teachers and their pupils.

It’s Our School, It’s Our Time was released on November 24, 2020 by Routledge, ISBN 9780367859381.

About the Book

It’s Our School, It’s Our Time: A Companion Guide to Whole-School Collaborative Decision-Making is a book that came out of my doctoral research into the way that teachers share classroom decision-making with their pupils. It was fascinating to learn how the teachers in my study developed this way of teaching, and their classroom accounts confirmed that this type of collaborative decision-making is not only good for children, but also good for teachers. However, my study identified the need for a collection of examples of collaborative decision-making along with some back-up evidence to explain how this way of teaching and management can promote greater cooperation and productivity.

The 25 stories in my book are drawn from my research study, but also from other teachers who have shared their accounts of what collaboration with pupils is like in the real world. I am a practical person and I set out in this book to show not only the positive outcomes of collaborative decision-making, but also to address some of the common hurdles that teaching professionals and school leaders might encounter when introducing a new level of collaboration into a conventional school culture.

The continuing drive to reduce inequalities in educational and mental health outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds calls for a new look at what is going on in our classrooms; children need a sense of power and strong school-belonging to protect them from potential radicalisation, sexual exploitation and recruitment into drug trafficking.

In this book, I share the evidence that inequality can be addressed by community involvement and active participating in decision-making from an early age, combining theory and examples of practice from years of visiting classrooms and talking with students, teachers and parents.

This book is a companion guide for those teachers and head teachers who want to modernise their role and transform achievement, behaviour and motivation through greater collaboration with pupils across the age range.

Examples are given for co-design of curriculum and the environment; joint decision-making around resource and time management; and negotiation of classroom governance. A framework for monitoring and assessment of outcomes is suggested and guidance is given for schools wishing to start the process of collaboration in order to:

Help children to believe in the value of their own ideas and opinions

• Teach them as potential leaders in politics, business, industry and academia

• Mobilise the efforts of all pupils and staff to maximise learning

• Develop an engaging curriculum that has relevance to the lives of your pupils

• Reduce teacher workload and utilise staff more efficiently

• Construct a bespoke list of participation principles for your own school

This book is a unique and essential resource for head teachers, teachers, support staff, student teachers, teacher educators, school inspectors and governors/trustees and educational policy-makers.

An increased collaboration between teachers and pupils in classroom decision-making could well become the most significant change in school culture this decade, and I sincerely hope that this book will be used as a seminal text in that transformation.

Table of Contents

1. It is possible! – a study of three teachers  2. Rationale and Psychology  3. Monitoring and Evaluation  4. Which Decisions? Which Pupils?  5. How to Collaborate  6. Negotiating the Curriculum  7. Culture and Leadership  8. Teachers and Collaborative decision-making. 

Dr. Geraldine Rowe

For most of my 40-year career in education I have been an Educational Psychologist, with specialist roles in Parent Partnership and Behaviour and Attendance. I have also taught in Primary and Middle Schools and been a member of the Senior Leadership Team of an alternative provision secondary school. My career has already taken me into over 100 schools and the many pupils and teaching professionals I have worked with continue to inspire me.

I completed a degree in Occupational Psychology at U.W.I.S.T. Cardiff before going on to Southampton University to train and work as a teacher then as an Educational Psychologist (EP). In 2018, I was awarded a Doctorate in Education from UCL Institute of Education.

About Collaborative Decision-Making

Teachers and pupils of all ages and backgrounds can collaborate to make important decisions about what goes on in their schools and classrooms. My book and resources on this website have been designed to encourage and support teachers and pupils to collaborate in decisions that affect the whole class and school, not just the individual.

Decisions can be about curriculum, discipline, the environment, or resource and time management. Collaborative decision-making has the potential to make a significant difference to well-being and educational outcomes, particularly for under-privileged pupils.

A valuable resource

The articles on this website have a solid professional and research base. Please contact me with suggestions for additional articles and resources. I invite you to share your stories about collaborative decision-making, so that other teachers can learn from your experience.

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