Book Reviews: Pocket Pal

Three updated editions of an expanding series of practical teaching books published by Bloomsbury now available have been designed to support primary teachers with practical, ready-to-use activities which are clearly presented and practice-based.

Creating Enquiring Minds by Sara Stanley

This is a wonderful book for those wishing to use P4C in their classroom. It explains how teachers can encourage children to ask the right questions, reason effectively, think for themselves and begin to understand more about themselves and the world around them.

As you open the book, you are met with an idea, and then how you can take that idea into action accompanied with practical ideas which all children will be able to access. The book splits into eight crucial areas of exploration: philosophical skills; big issues; the structure of sessions; getting started with the stimulus; getting started with questioning; getting started with dialogue; taking philosophy home, and; games and activities.

P4C is a crucial, and often an under-utilised area in school life, but managed properly can support learning across different area strands. Attention should be given to providing pupils with philosophical thinking, as it can be a great stimulus in helping them articulate their thinking, listening and speech. Sara Stanley, in this book, offers great advice, tips and activities which make P4C accessible in all primary/elementary classrooms. The book gives teachers the confidence, prompts and resource tips to implement p4c in the classroom, and those who have used ideas from p4c will know how beneficial and inclusive such sessions can be.

Pocket Pal: Creating Enquiring Minds by Sara Stanley is published by Bloomsbury Education, with an RRP of £8.99. Click here to view the book on, where the Kindle version is priced at £6.17*.

Raising Boys’ Achievement by Gary Wilson

There are still quite a few schools which lack any male member of staff, and whether this is a positive or negative part of school life for the boys who attend is a long-established debate. Many believe it doesn’t matter, yet this book provides an introduction to why boys underachieve along with a practical toolkit of proven strategies to help raise boys’ attainment across all age boundaries helping teachers to identify the problems and plan a way forward.

The book offers a collection of ‘barriers’ and ‘resolutions’ exploring: the early days in school; literacy; classroom practice; emotional intelligence; socio-cultural factors, and; whole school ideas.

There are many issues explored here by Gary Wilson which will resonate with many teachers who have to teach boys providing many tips, ideas and reminders of what, generally, makes them tick. The ten barriers to writing offer great ideas on how to enthuse the writing process that will appeal to both sexes, with common-sense at the core. Exploring own pedagogical practices, beliefs and classroom management strategies are also given valid space, yet this is essential reading for all practitioners who see that there is a ‘boys’ problem within their school.

Pocket Pal: Raising Boys’ Achievement by Gary Wilson is published by Bloomsbury Education, with an RRP of £8.99. Click here to view the book on, where the kindle version is priced at £7.69*.

Multiple Intelligences by Mike Fleetham

What are multiple intelligences? This Pocket Pal book claims it is a powerful tool for enriching your teaching and developing learners’ talents. Therefore, this book provides a selection of ideas to help infuse Multiple Intelligences (MI) into everyday teaching. Practical strategies are tailored to encourage awareness and use of MI for primary and secondary teachers. So, what are MI and how do they work?

MI is centred around the philosophy that everyone is good at something with Howard Gardner eventually offering nine bits of intelligence that drive particular kinds of minds: logical/mathematical; verbal/linguistic; interpersonal; intrapersonal; visual/spatial; bodily/kinesthetic; musical/rhythmic; naturalist, and; existential. From this, each area is explored in brief detail and moves on to explore opportunities to ensure pupils are accommodated for each intelligence. Personalised learning, observation and talking.

One of the main benefits of MI, advocated by Fleetham, is a teacher’s belief that all learners are intelligent and a recognition that learners can self-reflect to enhance their overall intelligence level. This is a celebration of the individual, who is characterised by their own experiences, background and genetics. In recognising this, each member of a class full of pupils can be given the correct support to develop their skills and learning. For teachers who want to explore this concept, this book is a fantastic starting point.

Pocket Pal: Multiple Intelligences by Mike Fleetham is published by Bloomsbury Education, with an RRP of £8.99. Click here to view the book on, where the kindle version is priced at £6.17*.


*Prices correct at time of review publication.


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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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