From Able to Remarkable: Help your students become expert learners£17.79*
- A sensible book that explores strategies to improve teaching and learning in schools.
- Explores research and theories that have been shown to make a positive difference in classrooms.
- The book recognises the importance of creativity and scaffolding in helping pupils develop their skills and learning.
- Offers a wide range of reflective questions to teachers and school leaders to help develop approaches in schools.
- An acknowledgement throughout the book that most of our students have gifts and talents - often latent and dormant - helping teachers make them believe in their abilities.
It can be both a pleasure and a challenge to teach pupils who are labelled as ‘gifted and talented‘. They appear to be able to breeze through the teaching and learning sequence you’ve planned, making significant strides compared to their peers. But, were these individuals born with talents that help them glide through schooling, or are such attributes developed through life that help them fly ahead?
In his book, Robert Massey challenges that many of the attributes that gifted and talented show are there, latent and dormant, in many more students who are present in schools. His three-step approach is remarkable in its simplicity, yet the reality of daily teaching, bureaucracy and distractions can us forget the purity of the process. In summary:
- Teach to the top – scaffolding and supporting students as required,
- Treat all pupils as if they are capable of high attainment as soon as they enter your classroom,
- Offer the best enrichment programmes possible.
Actions speak louder than words, and the book progresses to explore how teachers, leaders and schools can create a culture where we make pupils more intelligent. Inspired by Dylan Wiliam, who ascertained that students should be exposed to maximally challenging environments from as early as possible, for as long as possible, questioning how setting is down within schools, and exposing learners to quality learning experiences.
Creating the best conditions for learning is given consideration as the book progresses, with Robert exploring ‘The Ideal Lesson’, where adults teach, students learn, and students lead the direction of the progress of each session. In the second part of the book, Massey explores ‘The Expert Learner’, with a focus on expertise, deliberate practice and motivation. Yet, creativity and scaffolding are justifiably repeated themes throughout the book, and Robert provides ideas and considerations on how to utilise scaffolding strategies within the classroom, for those who need to be nudged into utilising methods that really to help build learning, understanding and progress. Attention is also given towards feedback, collaborative learning and questioning, and each chapter explores key themes for each topic, as well as providing pedagogical questions to consider to help reflect on practice within your local setting.
The final section of the book explores ‘Excellence for all’, including well-being, renaissance scholars, and concluding with a manifesto for excellence. In this final chapter, Robert tries to address the ‘excellence gap’ by ensuring that all actors involved in the education of our students commit to excellence in their area, whether that be leadership, parenting, policy, curriculum and so on.
In a powerful conclusion, Robert addresses the fact that ‘thousands of children fail every year to make the progress they should in schools, particularly those already suffering economic and social disadvantage‘, and as part of our obligation within the teaching profession, we should evaluate the provision being offered and approach to attainment setting.
This book cries out for attention to be given to all students in our schools – not those at either end of the ability spectrum – but recognising that each individual has the ability to shine in many different ways. Giving teachers the tools, permission and guidance to utilise pedagogical strategies that can improve teaching and learning, this is certainly a book worthy of a place in any school CPD library.
*Price correct at time of review publication