Unleashing Great Teaching: The Secrets to the Most Effective Teacher Development£17.99
- Easy to read and laid out well, with key terms which are elaborated on and used in practical examples, where possible.
- Provides a range of helpful checklists for a variety of different practitioners within school to use as starting points.
- Promotes a move towards whole school professional learning journeys, where every member of staff has the opportunity to be a responsive professional learner.
- Useful examples address any questions that arise as you are reading which means you don’t have to look up words or theories as everything is explained well.
- Enables you to raise questions about and reflect on your own practice.
Review compiled by: Portia Anane-Busia
We’ve all experienced those staff meetings or INSET days when SLT get excited about a new scheme or approach that is going to ‘transform’ our teaching and pupils lives. The problem that I (and probably many others) have experienced is that these new ideas are never really assessed in terms of the impact that they have on the school as a whole, for its students or the staff delivering it and if they are evaluated it is not done by the staff on the front lines. They are usually brought in quickly, rolled out with gusto and then somewhere along the line get replaced by something new and shiny. The cycle continues. This book, without specifically saying so, addresses some of these issues and relates almost all of its key themes back to impact. What is the point in changing policies, schemes, approaches, meetings, assessments and the like if it has no impact on teaching or learning?
Right from the start David Weston and Bridget Clay make bold statements about what they hope to accomplish by writing this book. It is to help support and enable the growth of teachers, but it is not limited to just teaching staff. As I progressed through the chapters, I realised that they’ve written this book as an all-encompassing guide to promote staff learning which in return aims to allow pupils to reach their full potential.
The authors use well a plethora of real-life examples and case studies to give depth to their research and ideas. Their focus on impact, evaluation and professional learning as a continuum allowed me to constantly relate these to my own teaching practice and professional learning journey. For example, their warning to address your awareness of biases and effects (such confirmation bias or the Halo Effect) which can hinder your own professional learning truly made me think about the times where I have dismissed an idea before it had even been fully explained.
This book provides a valuable insight into the world of ‘school’ and the many different layers of learning that take place. From leaders to teachers to pupils, it delves into what is effective and works best in a variety of schools. It discusses topics that are sometimes forgotten such as the culture of a school and ‘cultivating a culture of learning’ that applies to both staff and pupils. As a current member of SLT, I have found this book to be an insightful window into how schools could operate if senior leaders ran through the same processes that Weston and Clay describe in great detail. It is a book that I will be sharing with my fellow colleagues and one that I will return to again and again.
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