Teacher Proof (2012)
I wrote this when I got tired of Brain Gym and Thinking Hats and Multiple Intelligences…in fact as soon as I started t realise that a lot of what we were sold as solid educational research was complete pseudo-science. Once I started to pull on that thread, everything started to unravel. Join me on a journey through the junk science of education, from Learning Styles, to smell-based memory-enhancers, via iPads and group-working Flipped Classrooms.
‘Tom Bennett is the voice of the modern teacher.’ – Stephen Drew, Senior Vice-Principal, Passmores Academy, UK, featured on Channel 4’s Educating Essex
Do the findings from educational science ever really improve the day-to-day practice of classroom teachers?
Education is awash with theories about how pupils best learn and teachers best teach, most often propped up with the inevitable research that ‘proves’ the case in point. But what can teachers do to find the proof within the pudding, and how can this actually help them on wet Wednesday afternoon?.
Drawing from a wide range of recent and popular education theories and strategies, Tom Bennett highlights how much of what we think we know in schools hasn’t been ‘proven’ in any meaningful sense at all. He inspires teachers to decide for themselves what good and bad education really is, empowering them as professionals and raising their confidence in the classroom and the staffroom alike. Readers are encouraged to question and reflect on issues such as:
the most common ideas in modern education and where these ideas were born
the crisis in research right now
how research is commissioned and used by the people who make policy in the UK and beyond
the provenance of education research: who instigates it, who writes it, and how to spot when a claim is based on evidence and when it isn’t
the different way that data can be analysed
what happens to the research conclusions once they escape the laboratory.
Controversial, erudite and yet unremittingly entertaining, Tom includes practical suggestions for the classroom throughout. This book will be an ally to every teacher who’s been handed an instruction on a platter and been told, ‘the research proves it.’
The best guide I could write about how to manage behaviour in a mainstream classroom. It takes the most common problems about which I was asked in the TES Behaviour forum, and splits them up into easy-to-read themes that teachers can dip into and use the next lesson.
‘This is a very good book indeed, both timely and necessary…. Bennett writes with humour, style, understanding, a massive amount of common sense and not a little wisdom. And how often do you use those words in an educational context?’ —Times Educational Supplement
‘a jargon-free, unpatronising, highly browsable and accessible set of responses and suggested solutions to common classroom management issues…if you want an instant answer without having to wade through pages of search results, other people’s mis’spelled comments on the forum, or just a reminder that you are not alone in the big bad world of behaviour, you would do well to turn to this book which seems, like Mr Bennett himself (and perhaps that really annoying kid who sits near the back in 9X4), to have an answer for everything… a book that no self-respecting staff room or faculty office should be without… our Behaviour Guru hovers, like a guardian angel, ready to gently reassure, redirect and reintroduce classroom Zen.’ —Jenny Turner, Journal of Trainee Teacher Educational Research, UK
Most teacher manuals talk about what teachers need to do. That’s useful enough, especially for new teachers. But no list, however long, can anticipate every circumstance, and in teaching unusual circumstances are an integral part of everyday life. But how do experienced teachers know what to do? Successful teachers develop a Teaching Character; they’ve worked on the qualities and personality traits that they need in order to cope successfully with the full spectrum of situations that being a teacher can involve. Veterans don’t ask themselves, ‘What does the teaching guide book tell me’ when confronted with difficult situations – they react instinctively, based on the character skills they’ve developed over time. Unfortunately, for most people this process of learning is unguided, and unconscious. It’s time for a self-help manual that actually helps. This book includes case studies and anecdotes, chapter summaries and humorous illustrations to help teachers reflect on what it means to be a teacher, and why it is the most rewarding profession there is.
I will translate every acronym and portmanteau the panjandrums of education feel we can’t live without. I will tell you which mug to buy, and where your biggest worries will come from. There are many, many teacher training books that claim to offer practical advice; some of them are even useful. There are also humorous books aimed at teachers claiming to offer a zany, sideways look at our madcap world; some of them even contain a joke. This book, although light in tone, has a serious intent: to reassure trainee and beginning teachers that are parachuted into difficult schools without anything like the right level of preparation. Tom Bennett walks you through the training and initial teaching practice, offering practical advice and wisdom from the more experienced vantage point of hindsight. This double-narrator style allows you to identify with the situation, learn from the experience and then critically reflect on your own teaching journey. But most importantly, this is a teacher training guide disguised as something actually readable.