Book: Big Ideas in Education: What every teacher should know by @russellgrigg

Published by Crown House Publishing Limited

Big Ideas in Education: What every teacher should know

Big Ideas in Education: What every teacher should know







        Practical Ideas





            • Provides an excellent commentary in 12 key issues within education.
            • Encourages the reader to reflect upon their own practice.
            • Relevant to NQTs, experienced teachers or leaders.
            • Backed up by research and theories.
            • Questions common educational assumptions and popular rhetoric.


            There are so many aspects involved in education, but at the core is one important element – learning. It starts very early in our lives, with our experiences, senses and interests all playing a major role in our attitudes to learning. And all learning is not going to be fun – alas, some will be painful, yet the role of the teacher in supporting the learning of pupils can play a major role in tuning attitudes to (formal) learning. Obstacles are placed in our way though. The everyday challenges of working with a variety of different pupils, or the day-to-day challenges of paperwork and bureaucracy can all make us seem a little robotic in what we do without really stopping and reflecting upon on practice and – more importantly – our role in defining what positive learning looks like for our students.

            This is where Dr Russell Grigg’s excellent Big Ideas in Education book comes into play. Offering 12 chapters (see below) of big ideas for the reader to reflect upon, Russell guides teachers to consider their practice , building on their own experiences. The chapter on ‘childhood’ is particular important as it reminds us of the modern pressures placed upon them in our world, and the neuroscience research that shows that children learn more when they are enjoying an activity. It’s obvious – it makes sense – but how easy is it to forget that when they are approaching vital tests or exams?

            All the other chapters in the book are also worthy of further comment, but at their core is a central idea (see below), with Russell guiding the reader to reflect on their reading, actions or beliefs, and to become more considered in how we approach the role of teaching, and the vital part that teachers play in the lives of children.

            What the publishers say…

            Big Ideas in Education: What Every Teacher Should Know by Dr Russell Grigg provides an accessible and easily understood introductory guide to the big ideas that really matter in education. The teaching profession is saturated with ideas. Unfortunately, some of these are half-baked or fundamentally flawed. Dr Russell Grigg moves beyond the unhelpful supposed dichotomies that pervade current educational thinking – child-centred versus teacher-centred, traditional versus progressive. Throughout the book, readers are invited to question assumptions and popular rhetoric and reflect on their own experiences. Big Ideas in Education aims to equip teachers with a good understanding of current thinking in a diverse, fluid and dynamic field. Each of the big ideas is discussed within the framework of four questions: what is the big idea, who is behind it, why is it important and what can you do?

            Big ideas are important, distinctive, empowering, adaptable and simple to understand. Dr Russell Grigg provides readers with a concise and reliable introduction to twelve such ideas, which are at the core of educational practice. The ideas chosen are general rather than subject-specific in nature. In turn, they invite the reader to look at teaching in wider society, address elements of learning which teachers actively promote, raise questions about why, how and what to teach and, finally, look at ways of improving the quality of education.

            The twelve big ideas under discussion are:

            1. Education – education goes beyond the school gates and is a lifelong experience

            2. Childhood – children need time and space to explore, enjoy learning and develop as children rather than miniature adults

            3. Knowledge – knowledge is the foundation for learning

            4. Skills – learners need to develop a broad range of skills in real-life, relevant contexts

            5. Dispositions – effective learning depends upon cultivating positive dispositions

            6. Ethics – teachers’ conduct should be guided by a moral purpose

            7. Instruction – direct instruction is a tried-and-tested means of effective teaching

            8. Curriculum – the curriculum is all the learning and assessment activities in school, both planned and unintentional, that contribute to agreed educational goals

            9. Feedback – providing personalised, accurate, specific and timely feedback is one of the keys to improving learning

            10. Reflective practice – good teachers critically analyse their practice with a view to improving what they do

            11. Research – research has a central role to play in the professional development of teachers

            12. Professional leadership – effective school leadership operates at all levels and is about shared vision, support and securing improvement

            An ideal book for busy teachers who need to be kept up to speed with the latest thinking in education, this comprehensive guide provides the essential knowledge to keep you fully informed, whether leading staff discussions, submitting assignments or preparing for interviews. Suitable for teachers in any setting, from trainees and NQTs to more experienced practitioners looking to reflect on their practice, the book will also appeal to school leaders and teacher training providers.

            About the author:

            Dr Russell Grigg is Executive Head of Research at the Wales Centre for Equity in Education where he leads applied research and policy development, aiming to address inequities in education. He has more than twenty-five years’ experience in education in many roles, including teacher, head of school, trainer, consultant, inspector, writer and researcher. He is the author of the much-acclaimed Becoming an Outstanding Primary Teacher and has written many other education materials. He is a lifelong, passionate Swansea City supporter.

            Big Ideas in Education: What every teacher should know by Dr Russell Grigg is published by Crown House Publishing Limited.

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