How to run your department successfully- Chris Turner
by Sunita Rajiv
‘How to run your department successfully’ is the result of work carried out in the last ten years among the subject leaders working in secondary schools. This uniquely practical book deals specifically with current issues faced by subject heads of department (HODs).The author has drawn heavily from his research work, case studies, interviews with HODs of all subjects, their reflection journals, from an impressive and expansive bibliography and the result is a book that serves within its cover all the possible dimensions of an administrator’s job.
Various aspects of leadership, features of effective departments, managing the twin role of teaching-learning and leading a department which might not always be supportive, working with parents and pupils while keeping a good grip on the four stages of growth, namely forming, storming, norming and performing;a careful and detailed approach to all such vital fields gives the reader a complete picture of a leader’s role. All derivations are well supported by evidence either from people in the job or from writers who have already done a commendable research in the field. Sensitive issues like conflicts between subject leaders and the department or management are dealt with deftly.
To be a change agent Turner has a three-pronged approach-1. A sense of timing, 2.ability to motivate people 3.dealing with teacher resistance in a sensitive fashion [chapter 6] is worth etching on stone. The leader needs to understand that the different perspectives on learning from experience have to be a mixture of “reflection-on-action and reflection-in-action”.
Turner is acutely aware of the need for CPD for the role model-the HOD and recommends professional development to all leaders. Each chapter ends with discussion points and forces the reader to reflect upon his own learning. The suggested reading list is rich and complete and the language is lucid.
One can recommend this book to all departmental heads who have donned this responsibility recently while seniors can read it as a refresher as it has newness of approach and richness of strategies.