After a hectic week, what a treat to spend Sunday afternoon in the company of the new book from Mary Myatt; Hopeful Schools, building humane communities.
Mary’s point of view is unapologetically optimistic, but is it is definitely not a rose-tinted ideal. She argues for the development of realistic and positive hope in schools. Using real life examples, quoting people I actually “know” (in that special, twitter way of “knowing” somebody), Mary paints a compelling picture of schools where hope is at the heart of their mission.
As in her last book, High Challenge, Low Threat Mary draws on a diverse range popular authors and thinkers, such as Adam Grant and Seth Godin, to illustrate and illuminate her points. I really like this as it places schools into the broader context of organisations. While there are some aspects of school life which are peculiar to schools. there is a lot to be gained by considering this wider context. After all, staff and students are all people, with the same insecurities, strengths and motivations as everyone else.
One feature I found really useful was the structure of the book; it is organised into short 3-4 page chapters , each complete in their own right and linked to the hopeful theme. This is a book you can dip into for 5 minutes, perhaps while waiting for a train or after a difficult conversation when your own hope reserves need a bit of a boost.
So, if you are looking for some inspiration in stepping away from the targets culture and towards a more humane community, start here.