UKEdMag Book Shelf: By @martinillingwor – Think Before You Teach: Questions to challenge why and how you want to teach

Thinking about the 'why' you teach...

As a teacher, it is easy to go throughout a school year in ‘auto-pilot’ mode: following the same routines of teaching and school-life; following the same curriculum over and over again; filling out forms; completing assessments; compiling reports….when does it ever conclude? It is difficult to stop and ask why you want to teach and how you are teaching.

In his new book, Martin Illingworth points out that there is a queue of line managers in schools (the folk that say they are learning to walk!) busy telling you what to do, but there are far fewer asking you to think about why you teach! ‘Think Before You Teach’ is purposefully full of questions: the openings of discussions to have, first with yourself and then, maybe later, with your colleagues. It doesn’t promise all the answers. And it doesn’t tell you what to teach. But it will ask you to think about why you want to teach and how you are going to teach.

Although the title implies that this book is aimed at those thinking about entering the profession, it is actually suited for NQTs as well as established practitioners who may wish to stop and evaluate their own practice, primarily for the benefit of their pupils. The book is strewed with valuable stories, antidotes and recommendations. To tackle the tough day to day questions that teachers raise Martin offers hope, humour, imagination and motivation throughout.

For anybody thinking of entering the teaching profession, student teachers, teacher trainers, NQTs and teachers of all levels of experience. The book explores the various teacher training routes School Direct, Teach First, PGCE and the questions teachers should be asking about the path they have taken and their continuing professional development (CPD) needs. By raising questions about pedagogy, good practice, values and responsibilities, to name but a few, Martin encourages all teachers to become reflective practitioners and rediscover their passion.


This book review originally appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine. – click here to freely view online.


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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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