Boyd, P., Hymer, B. and Lockley, K. (2015) Learning Teaching: Becoming an Inspirational Teacher: Critical Publishing

Title: Learning Teaching: Becoming an Inspirational Teacher

Authors: Pete Boyd, Barry Hymer and Karen Lockley

Publishers: Critical Publishing, 160 pages, regular price £18.00

What is my impact on learning and learners?

Learning Teaching: Becoming an Inspirational Teacher offers an interesting and unique approach to explore the complexities of learning how to teach and extending current practice to become inspirational. The book is aimed at beginner teachers and more experienced practitioners. The question above appears on the last page but it is interwoven throughout the book and is something that all teachers should reflect on throughout their professional career.

The authors focus on teachers’ professional learning being an interplay between the body of public knowledge and the practical wisdom of teachers. This notion is drawn on throughout the book, which uses an inquiry-based approach that sets the reader on a learning journey throughout their career. By adopting a questioning approach and not accepting that ‘best practice’ is set in stone it gives a methodology for future practice.

Learning Teaching: Becoming an Inspirational Teacher has 5 distinct features with each chapter beginning with a pedagogical dilemma (grounded case study), then a theory or ‘learning power’ section followed by considerations for  ‘workplace learning’ all interwoven with prompts of ‘things to try’. The dilemmas reflect the complexities faced by teachers and are deliberately provocative. The authors advise that the book should be read alongside a more conventional teaching manual for the reader to maximise their learning.

Chapter 1 offers a useful overview of the book, which summarises the 5 distinct features in a grid. Chapter 1 also sets the scene for how the reader should continue to engage with the book by considering some basic ideas about learning. It begins by exploring the meaning of learning which is appropriate as learning is at the heart of the book. It offers the reader some things to try and then explores the interplay between practical wisdom and public knowledge. By equipping the reader with new metaphors for learning such as transmission and construction and a methodology for using their new learning as each chapter is read.

The remaining chapters based on the professional dilemmas are:

  • Belief versus reality
  • Autonomy versus compliance
  • Abstract versus concrete
  • Feedback versus praise
  • Collaboration versus competition

The final chapter of the book serves as an epilogue, which recaps the core messages, and maps the dilemmas onto more traditional key areas of teacher knowledge and practice.

The book would certainly appeal to those wishing to explore and improve their practice. Whilst it would be a useful companion for teacher educators working with their students I can see immense value in the book being used by Induction mentors and CPD co-ordinators.

All three authors are deeply rooted in teacher education at Cumbria University

The book is based on the authors’ interpretation of the research evidence base and their own teaching experience.

Reviewer: Dr Coleen R Jackson


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