Professor Barrie Bennett taught for many years at the Ontario Institute for Studies at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT) until his recent retirement. In addition to his third level teaching, Barrie has taught at secondary, middle school and elementary school levels in Canada. He also worked with ‘at risk teachers’ in Canada as a consultant for six years, focusing on instruction and classroom management so as to enable such teachers to revitalise their careers.
However, Barrie’s main areas of interest relate to the theory of instructional intelligence. This broad area refers to the intersection of existing wisdom and knowledge related to curriculum, assessment, instruction, how students learn, the nature of change and the importance of systemic change. Barrie’s work in these areas has developed his international reputation and he is currently leading systemic change projects in three countries: Canada, Australia, and Ireland. In the case of Ireland, the Instructional Leadership Programme has emerged from Barrie’s initial contribution.
Barrie began the Irish project with 150 teachers drawn from the vocational school sector throughout the state. Over the course of six residential seminars spanning three years, in collaboration with the Irish Vocational Education Association and led by County Cork VEC CEO Joan Russell, these teachers undertook extensive in-service on the key principles underpinning instructional intelligence. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this experience was that for most of those involved, it was their first engagement with professional development focused solely on generic Teaching and Learning rather than a subject-specific model of in-service. A further two cohorts of teachers have also commenced training on the project while those in the first cohort have critically engaged with the project in their own classrooms. A significant number of this group have also facilitated in-service in their own schools.
It is anticipated that as the Instructional Leadership Programme develops and progresses, Barrie’s legacy in terms of his contribution to improving the quality of Teaching and Learning in Irish schools will be a rich one indeed.
Select Publications: The following is a select bibliography focusing particularly on key texts written or co-authored by Barrie Bennett relating to instructional intelligence:
Bennett, B. (2009). Graphic Intelligence. Toronto, ON: Bookation.
Bennett, B., & Rolheiser, C. (2001). Beyond Monet: The Artful Science of Instructional Integration. Toronto, ON: Bookation.
Bennett, B., Rolheiser, C., & Stevahn, L. (1991). Cooperative Learning: Where Heart Meets Mind. Toronto, ON: Educational Connections.
Bennet, B. and Smilanich, P. (1994). Classroom Management: A Thinking and Caring Approach. Toronto, ON: Bookation.