Crown House will soon be publishing my second book, Teach Like Nobody’s Watching.
Over the last few years of writing about education I have noticed two questions emerging in what I have to say; what can we do to make teaching more effective and more efficient?
This book is based on three things that I believe to be true:
- Teaching is essentially simple. Watch any teacher who is just getting on with their job and you will see them recap previous learning, give some input, ask the class to apply this to some practice and then they give check how they did and give them some feedback. That’s it.
- Doing these things well is complex. If it really were so simple, we wouldn’t need to train teachers. We could just drag them in off the street and set them to work. However, there are many ways to recap previous learning, and not all are equal. We can give input in a range of different ways and some ways will make it stick and others won’t. This is where teachers should be directing their attention – on how to do these simple things really well. Unfortunately,
- Teaching has been over complicated. This has largely happened because we try to please outside observers. We base what happens on schools on trying to please parents, or OFSTED or consultants. We need to teach like nobody’t watching and leave these complications behind.
Teaching like nobody’s watching requires use to have the confidence in our profession and our craft. This confidence must not be baseless but instead come from a combination of reflections on our own experience combined with an understanding of the research into what is likely to be effective practice.
As well as understanding what is effective we also need to consider what is efficient. As teachers, we are ingenious at making almost anything work. We can differentiate according to learning style, use written dialogic feedback and attempt to limit teacher talk and still get good results. But doing so is hugely inefficient and asking teachers to jump through these hoops is leading to them leaving the profession in droves. This book, therefore, seeks to not only answer the question “what does effective teaching look like?” but also “what does efficient teaching look like?”.
This book sets out to explore and lay bare some of the damaging myths about how teachers should teach that have come from outside observers and explores what teaching might look like if we left it to highly engaged and trained professionals in the classroom. It starts with the idea that there is a great deal individual class teachers can do to teach like nobody’s watching and to take control of their own classroom.
Part One therefore looks at the process of effective and efficient recap, input, application and feedback. It considers the research underpinning doing these things effectively and strategies for doing them efficiently.
Part Two considers he role of the wider department and how the individual lesson fits into a wider whole. This part looks at curriculum building, assessment and the use of department meetings.
Finally, Part Three acknowledges that the school climate has a dramatic affect on a teacher’s ability to just get on and teach. This part of the book discusses how school leaders can create the conditions to free up teachers to put the principles of this book into action.
Throughout the book you can expect to find questions to help you reflect on what you have read and on your own practice as well. You will also find case studies from teachers who are teaching like nobody’s watching and from school leaders who are helping their teachers to do this.
I hope you find that this book isn’t only useful but that it is also a book with a message of hope. Teaching is a tough job but I firmly believe it doesn’t have to be. We can give pupils an exceptional education without running ourselves into the ground. I will try and show you how.
Viva la revolution.
You can pre-order a copy here.