Books and Publications

Dennis studies educational change around the world.  His research spans from the nitty-gritty challenges facing teachers in the prosaic everyday settings of their classrooms and schools to national and international policies and their impacts on student learning and professional engagement.

His writing combines penetrating analysis of the real issues facing educators and students along with practical recommendations on strategies that can be implemented by educators immediately in their classrooms and schools.

The Age of Identity

Who Do Our Kids Think They Are . . . and How Do We Help Them Belong?

A perfect storm is upon us and educators are in the middle of it. Identity issues often incite and divide us, but they are actually our way out of the storm. No one should be oppressed or have to hide who they are, and young people need to be prepared for a future where they can learn to live together and help others belong.

In their beautifully written book, Dennis Shirley and Andy Hargreaves brilliantly show how we can and must engage with young people’s identities in their fullness and complexity. Rooted in classical and contemporary theories of identity, extensive research, and in sheer common sense, their book takes us from bitterness to belonging and includes:

  • Examples of how schools seek to address identity and belonging
  • Strategies to deal with the raging identity controversies in our schools and societies
  • Charts and graphics to help build inclusive professional communities
  • Constant invitations to readers to apply ideas to their own work

Well-Being in Schools

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, students’ well-being was an increasingly prominent concern among educators, as issues related to mental health, global crises, and social media became impossible to ignore. But what, exactly, is well-being? What does it look like?  Why is it so important?  What can school systems do to promote it? How does it relate to student achievement and social and emotional learning?

World renowned education experts Dennis Shirley and Andy Hargreaves answer these questions in this in-depth exploration of the underlying ideas and research findings related to well-being ahead of other priorities, such as scores on high-stakes assessments.  They explain three powerful forces that educators can leverage to set up effective well-being policy and practice: prosperity for all, ethical technology use, and restorative nature.

Inspiring, thoughtful, and provocative, Well Being in Schools: Three Forces That Will Uplift Your Students in a Volatile World offers hope in a time of unprecedented challenges. It charts a path toward a lofty and achievable goal: improved well-being not only for students, but for everyone!

Five Paths of Student Engagement

This is a breakthrough book on student engagement by Dennis Shirley and Andy Hargreaves. With Five Paths of Student Engagement, you will embark on a profound educational quest. This journey will take you through exciting and challenging terrain that leads directly to your students’ learning and success.

This is a book that will open your eyes, heart and mind. By integrating psychological and sociological perspectives, and using inspiring examples from 7 years of research, this book goes deeply into the what, why, and how of student engagement. It reveals who and what the true enemies of student engagement are, and it shows you how to defeat them. It will enrich and reward your work for years to come.

This is a book with an original and engrossing argument that you won’t be able to put down. Written by two award winning authors, it shows you that:

  • Engagement is the new frontier of student achievement.
  • Engagement means so much more than beating back boredom.
  • Psychological and sociological theories cast new light on engagement and motivation.
  • Engagement is about mystery and magic, meaning and purpose, and focus and mastery.
  • Increasing student engagement requires much more than surveys, rubrics and observation protocols.
  • We must battle all five enemies of engagement in our schools, systems and societies if we are to engage students totally.
  • There are five clear paths of engagement that lead to student learning and success that all teachers and schools can embark upon immediately.

The New Imperatives of Educational Change

The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity sets forth an ambitious and attainable agenda for all schools at the dawn of a new millennium. The first, evidentiary imperative to study learning requires that we attain a better grasp of what policies promote student achievement and what strategies undermine it. The second, interpretive imperative is essential because no research findings should ever be transplanted directly from one study to your school without mindful deliberation about the factors that give your students and community their own unique identities. The third, professional imperative describes new international research findings on promising pedagogies and curricula that propel learning beyond expectations. The fourth, global imperative requires that we all look beyond our immediate communities and national boundaries to improve the learning of all young people wherever they may find themselves. The fifth, existential imperative, reminds us that our students look to us not only as conveyors of information but also as potential role models who can dignify learning with meaning and embellish it with joy. Visionary in its scope and practical in its details, The New Imperatives of Educational Change is an indispensable road map to an inspiring future for all school and system leaders.

The Mindful Teacher,
Second Edition

This new and expanded edition of the best-selling The Mindful Teacher provides educators everywhere with practical ideas for improving teaching and learning. Dennis Shirley and Elizabeth MacDonald have created “Mindful Teacher” seminars that enable teachers to focus their craft so that students can learn with dignity and purpose. This updated second edition includes completely new sections on the promise of teacher leadership, the strengths and perils of technology, and schools in the midst of change. The Mindful Teacher is an indispensable and timely resource for all educators who seek to transform schools into places of learning and joy.

The Fourth Way

A compelling approach to lasting educational change informed by lessons learned and new successes worldwide! Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley present a concise framework for successful and sustainable reform that integrates teacher professionalism, community engagement, government policy, and accountability. Drawing from research on traditional methods and new findings from around the globe, the authors offer an absorbing and insightful analysis of three major efforts of the past 25 years, outline the strengths and limitations of each model, and offer a Fourth Way for achieving dramatic improvement built on:

  • Six Pillars of Purpose that support change
  • Three Principles of Professionalism that drive change
  • Four Catalysts of Coherence that sustain change

The Global Fourth Way

Deep and lasting educational reform doesn’t happen overnight, even in the fast and flexible 21st century. This example-packed sequel to The Fourth Way draws upon inspiring examples unearthed by brand-new research that challenges educational leaders, teachers, and policy makers to put to work proven strategies promoting student learning and achievement and the high quality teaching that drives it. With striking success stories from diverse systems around the world, Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley present a bold new vision for education aimed at:

  • Focusing on the real-life, nitty-gritty challenges facing change leaders on a global scale
  • Anticipating stumbling blocks to enacting best principles and practices
  • Developing and implementing a dynamic and coherent plan of action and a culture of determination to overcome challenges to lasting change
Featured Articles by Dennis Shirley
Rural Teachers Forging New Bonds—and New Solutions
Educational Leadership
What’s Wrong with Well-Being?
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
The Quest for Meaning and Purpose in Education
EDUCAZIONE Giornale di pedagogia critica
Well-Being and Success:Opposites that Need to Attract
Leadership, Identity, and Intersectionality
Future Alternatives for Educational Leadership
Book Dennis Shirley for your next event or conference.