Amazon Review by Derry Hannam 21 May 2021
I really enjoyed this book by Geraldine Rowe and recommend it to class teachers, senior leaders, teacher educators and policy makers. It fits beautifully into a series of recent works that challenge the high pressure anxiety ridden high-stakes test driven environments that we have allowed many of our schools to become. Her key concept is what she calls CDM (Collaborative Decision-Making) Building on the experiences of the three primary school teachers who were the case studies of her qualitative doctoral thesis she develops a convincing theoretical framework which sets out why the practice of CDM works to the benefit of not just the students but also their teachers. It is interesting that none of her case study teachers had been long in the profession, none had received guidance in the practice of CDM in their training, and none had senior management support or encouragement for their participative, democratic, rights-respecting approach to young people. They did it because it felt the right thing to do.
Geraldine Rowe rightly claims that ‘we know it (CDM) works’ – presenting powerful evidence that students learn more effectively and with enhanced self-esteem and well-being when they are able to express their feelings and opinions and take individual and collective ownership of their studies and the general management of the class and the school.
This book is both a practical ‘what to do on Monday morning’ guide for teachers who want to dare to give it a try and also a powerful theoretical case for change. It needs to be read by teachers, teacher educators and policy makers.
A big ‘thank you’ to Derry for this great review.