Book Reviews

Breaking the Silence

by Joseph Blase and Jo Blase

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas
Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.

In this first-of-a-kind book, the authors unveil the various types of mistreatment teachers may experience from their school administrator.

In Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problems of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers, Joseph Blase and Jo Blase make a compelling case that principals do mistreat their teachers. Through the use of real-life examples and comments from teachers, they explain the impact the various types of mistreatment have on the learning environment. The Blases identify three levels of behavior: indirect and moderate aggression; direct and escalating aggression; and direct and severe aggression.

The authors’ findings were obtained from interviews with teachers at all grade levels in rural, suburban and urban schools in the United States and Canada.

In addition to documenting the problem, the authors include practical solutions for prevention and correction. The last chapter contains strategies for teachers who are being mistreated or for those who witness others being mistreated. The suggestions are offered for school district personnel and professors in administrator preparation programs. A reflective exercise for principals also could be helpful.

The book is based on extensive research, loaded with real examples, and it reflects the authors’ concern to improve the conditions of all schools. Because of the book’s comprehensive focus, it will be valuable to practitioners, fledgling administrators and other educators who are striving to improve the conditions in schools.

(Breaking the Silence: Overcoming the Problem of Principal Mistreatment of Teachers, by Joseph Blase and Jo Blase, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2002, 188 pp. with index, $29.95 softcover)