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Intentional Moves

Intentional Moves
How Skillful Team Leaders Impact Learning

A Joint Publication with Learning Forward

August 2022 | 504 pages | Corwin

For maximum impact, let intention drive your actions

If you lead a team you are doing more than running meetings; you are leading collaborative learning for continuous improvement. Similar to effective teachers in the classroom, skillful team leaders decide what they are aiming to achieve and make small, intentional moves to bring about powerful learning.

In this long-awaited follow-up to her best-selling book, The Skillful Team Leader, acclaimed educator, Elisa MacDonald, presents effective moves that skillful team leaders use to produce powerful learning outcomes for teachers and students.  With close to 150 moves organized under ten Primary Intentions there are strategies for everything: foster an inclusive environment, strengthen trust, navigate resistance, engage in inquiry, facilitate data analysis, lead peer observation, interrupt bias and unsound reasoning, cultivate diverse perspectives, and so many more.

Other features include

  • Essential understandings about group psychology, adult learning and peer leadership
  • A thoughtful approach to collaborative inquiry with a simple inquiry cycle
  • Short reality-based dialogue to illustrate moves
  • Advice from real skillful team leaders
  • Templates, tools, and guiding prompts
  • Pro-tips for leading protocols
  • A reflection tool to assess your team’s collaboration
  • Short thought-provoking reads for a teacher team leader book study

Written in a practitioner-friendly format with a light tone and relatable stories that make reading enjoyable, this is a must-have book for all team leaders and those who support them in your school.

Part 1: Foundations
Chapter 1: Skillful and Intentional Leadership
Chapter 2: Don’t Settle for High-Functioning Teams
Chapter 3: The Real Work of Collaborative Inquiry
Part 2: Essential Understandings
Chapter 4: The Psychology of Groups
Chapter 5: Five Must-knows About Adult Learners
Chapter 6: The Upsides (and Downsides) of Being a Peer Leader
Part 3: Ten Primary Intentions with Moves
Primary Intention #1: Optimize Learning Conditions: Time, Space and Accommodations
Primary Intention #2: Establish Expectations and Responsibilities: Norms and Roles
Primary Intention #3: Nurture Group Culture: Community and Trust
Primary Intention #4: Design and Plan Learning: Work Plans, Agendas and Protocols
Primary Intention #5: Engage and Interact: Participation, Conflict-Resolution and Decision-Making.
Primary Intention #6: Set Purpose and Direction: Priorities, Inquiry Questions and Goals.
Primary Intention #7: Use Data to Advance Learning: Assessments and Data Talk
Primary Intention #8: Cultivate Diverse Perspectives in Problem Solving: Assumptions and Bias
Primary Intention #9: Implement New Learning: Peer Observations, Resistance and Change.
Primary Intention #10: Assess: Feedback, Reflection and Growth for Teams and Leaders.

"It’s refreshing to read a book that discusses high functioning teams within the context of moving the needle on student learning. No longer do we have the luxury of defining success based on whether teams follow norms, stay on task, and get work done. Rather, this book frames how we can be intentional about impacting student learning, teacher practice, and school culture and climate through skillful team collaboration. "

Diane Sweeney, Founder and Lead Consultant
Diane Sweeney Consulting

"The beauty of this book rests in its authenticity. MacDonald draws from research and extensive experience to identify 10 essential goals for skillful team leaders and specifies explicit moves and targeted strategies for realization of each. The result is an engaging, user-friendly, encyclopedia of wisdom and hands-on practices. All team leaders who desire to produce results that matter will treasure this book."

Jackie Walsh, Author and Independent Consultant
Walsh Consulting
Key features
  • This eagerly-anticipated sequel to MacDonald's Skillful Team Leader explores how three commonly-used teaming tools -- norms, agendas, and goals -- can be leveraged for maximum impact on student outcomes, educator mindsets, and establishing a positive school culture.
  • Flexible organization allows readers to flip to a particular tool to learn how to better leverage that tool for impact.
  • Includes the latest iteration of MacDonald's popular Impact Team Matrix, designed to help teams map their performance on a scatter plot with respect to function and impact and draw valuable conclusions about their strengths and areas for growth.
  • Filled with many useful examples of team use of the tools.
  • Informed by recent research (including that of John Hattie) on the power of teams.

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ISBN: 9781506392844