Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education


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About this book

Created by bestselling author and MIT senior lecturer Peter Senge and a team of educators and organizational change leaders, this new addition to the Fifth Discipline Resource Book series offers practical advice for educators, administrators, and parents on how to strengthen and rebuild our schools.Few would argue that schools today are in trouble. The problems are sparking a national debate as educators, school boards, administrators, and parents search for ways to strengthen our school system at all levels, more effectively respond to the rapidly changing world around us, and better educate our children.Bestselling author Peter Senge and his Fifth Discipline team have written Schools That Learn because educators—who have made up a sizable percentage of the audience for the popular Fifth Discipline books—have asked for a book that focuses specifically on schools and education, to help reclaim schools even in economically depressed or turbulent districts. One of the great strengths of Schools That Learn is its description of practices that are meeting success across the country and around the world, as schools attempt to learn, grow, and reinvent themselves using the principles of organizational learning. Featuring articles, case studies, and anecdotes from prominent educators such as Howard Gardner, Jay Forrester, and 1999 U.S. Superintendent of the Year Gerry House, as well as from impassioned teachers, administrators, parents, and students, the book offers a wealth of practical tools, anecdotes, and advice that people can use to help schools (and the classrooms in them and communities around them) learn to learn.You'll read about schools, for instance, where principals introduce themselves to parents new to the school as "entering a nine-year conversation" about their children's education; where teachers use computer modeling to galvanize student insight into everything from Romeo and Juliet to the extinction of the mammoths; and where teachers' training is not just bureaucratic ritual but an opportunity to recharge and rethink the classroom.In a fast-changing world where school violence is a growing concern, where standardized tests are applied as simplistic "quick fixes," where rapid advances in science and technology threaten to outpace schools' effectiveness, where the average tenure of a school district superintendent is less than three years, and where students, parents, and teachers feel weighed down by increasing pressures, Schools That Learn offers much-needed material for the dialogue about the educating of children in the twenty-first century.

Reader's Thoughts

Guida Allès

Un llibre sobre els factors que fan que un centre, una aula o un docent avancin. Escrit per diversos autors, coordinat per Peter Senge. L´he trobat un poc massa general. Pot ser útil per estudiants de magisteri.

Anna Hirsch

There is a wealth of knowledge in this book - everything from how to better communicate on the job to how to build a learning organization to how to re-envision our schools with a living metaphor, schools that learn and grow, as opposed to a machine metaphor, schools that produce.


I did my first "smarty-pants" presentation for my Masters in Education Administration using a chapter out of this book. It was on systemic thinking. See? Smarty-pants.In all seriousness, this is a very progressive book on school leadership. Quite heady at times.


The start has been delightful. I am not going in sequence. Post the introduction, I have moved to Page 100 - about the classroom.

Jeff Noble

The Fifth Discipline by Peter M. Senge (?)


This book is not designed to be read cover-to-cover, the way that I read it. I'm teaching a doctoral class in a program that is designed around systems thinking. Students will read the book throughout the program, as they explore ways to incorporate systems thinking into their work and communities. I would recommend that anyone exploring systems thinking in education start by reading the introductory chapters, and then skim, according to interest. It was a long read to go through in order, though is a robust set of tools and stories that I no doubt will revisit time and time again in the future.


This is the book that I come back to when I want a lift in my education reading. A must for every teacher, administrator, and parent.It has multiple stickies, and highlighters.


A book that focuses specifically on community, schools and education, to help reclaim schools in economically depressed districts.

Steve Johnson

This is a great working model for just about everything as all things are really systems. Leaders (those who direct systems) need to read this book. Educators definitely need to understand the ways their actions affect the learning systems.

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