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The Wonder Wall

The Wonder Wall
Leading Creative Schools and Organizations in an Age of Complexity

June 2017 | 192 pages | Corwin

Learn the four conditions most effective for fostering creativity  

Sometimes our attempts to foster creativity can actually stifle it. Author Peter Gamwell, a former teacher and superintendent who has spent more than three decades studying creativity, shares a fresh perspective on how to nurture creativity, innovation, leadership, and engagement in a variety of settings.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Tap the creative and leadership potential in everyone
  • Think bigger by moving from a deficit model of thinking to a strength-based approach
  • Develop the lost arts of listening and storytelling to optimize learning
  • Handle the inevitable pushback and fear that transformational change can bring

Read Peter's blog post, What's Your Wonder Wall?

Watch The Wonder Wall video

Get The Wonder Wall poster


“I love this book. I am a huge fan of storytelling, and this book is one great story blended with cutting-edge academic work in the field of human mind and creativity. In The Wonder Wall Peter Gamwell and Jane Daly bring together decades of firsthand experience in creativity, leadership and learning into this volume that I indeed will, as the authors suggest, read twice. I would urge you to do the same if you want to be in the frontline of finding ways to improve your schools.”
—Pasi Sahlberg, Author
Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland, Helsinki, Finland

“Take everything you know about learning and turn it upside down. It is there that you will find Peter Gamwell, Jane Daly and their Wonder Wall of creativity wallowing in wisdom. Yes, we have three imperatives, and four conditions, and therein you will find a treasure trove of ideas for creativity. You don’t have to leave the school system to upend it. Just read Wonder Wall and you will be swept along into doing things that engage all students and teachers. You will even get ideas about how to evaluate creativity. The timing is perfect. Go beyond skills and knowledge, light the sparks that lead to learning. Be excited about the limitless possibilities of education."
—Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
OISE, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

"Be brilliant at what you're best at. Build on your strengths. Belong to something. These are the three imperatives that this great book sets out for young people and those who teach them. It does so with wit, wisdom, up-close experience and a magnificent capacity to tell a good tale of why all people in schools really matter. This book is its own Wonder Wall. When you've closed your Ken Robinson book, open this next. You'll not be disappointed."
—Andy Hargreaves, Brennan Chair in Education
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA


About the Authors
Prologue: The Wonder Wall
1. The Start of Something Extraordinary
2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future: The Connection Between Change and Creativity
3. The Imperatives for Creativity: Getting There Is a Three-Way Street
4. Lead the Way: Leadership Development
5. Condition #1: Storytelling and Listening
6. Condition #2: Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusivity
7. Condition #3: Making It Personal
8. Condition #4: Celebrating
9. Assessing the Culture of Creativity: How to Get Buy-In and Fellow Travelers for Your Journey to the Extraordinary

"Effective and memorable anecdotes will stay in the reader’s mind long after the conclusion of the book. The book acknowledges the drive toward innovative and transformative practices and provides a framework to foster creativity in complex organizations. A strong theory of action, the text highlights creativity, structure, change, and inclusive practices."

Jill Gildea, Superintendent
Fremont School District 79, Mundelein, IL

"This important book lays out a journey leading to improvement that is strengths-based, and focuses on talent and inclusivity, with the outcome of a creative, innovative, and engaged organization.  For engaging students in school, this book is essential."

Lynn Lisy-Macan, Visiting Assistant Professor
University at Albany- SUNY, Albany, NY

"This book will inspire educators who may be stuck in their current context and encourage them to think out of the box."

Karen L Tichy, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
Saint Louis University, School of Education, St Louis, MO

"The authors present a compelling and refreshing narrative that transcends much of the pedestrian nature of education dialogue.  The focus on learning is wonderful."

Peter Dillon, Superintendent of Schools
Berkshire Hills Regional School District, Stockbridge, MA

"Inspiring and insightful, The Wonder Wall shows that educational organizations can change, for the better, with the "right" leadership: leadership that sees brilliance in everyone and encourages creativity in all."

Yong Zhao, Ph.D., Foundation Distinguished Professor
School of Education: University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

sample chapter

Peter Gamwell

Born in Liverpool, Peter Gamwell is an author, presenter, and an award-winning leader in education who has worked in both central and eastern Canada and abroad. He is recently retired from the role of Superintendent, responsible for District Leadership Development with the 75,000-student Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), where he also served as the Board lead for Aboriginal education from 2006 until 2012.  Working closely with such renowned creativity experts as Sir Ken Robinson and Sir John Jones, Peter has become recognized nationally and internationally as a leader and catalyst for district-wide initiatives that... More About Author

Jane Daly

Curious about the interconnections between creativity, education and business, Jane Daly was happy to join Peter Gamwell on his quest to discover more about the conditions that foster creativity in 2011. Jane works as a communications strategist and commercial writer by day and enjoys fiction writing by night, as well as spending time with her husband John, their kids and grandkids, and their dog and cat in Ottawa, Canada. More About Author

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ISBN: 9781506357379

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