Friday, 23 October 2015

Review - The Art of Being A Brilliant Primary Teacher by Andy Cope and Stuart Spendlow

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The Art of Being a Brilliant Primary Teacher is, well, brilliant. It is a rare shining star in the galaxy of ‘improving teaching handbooks’ - it’s written from experience and celebrates the brilliant job that is Primary Teaching whilst recognising that it is one of the most physically and emotionally demanding roles. And, perhaps most importantly, there is no tick box, formulaic approach to becoming ‘outstanding’. Hence the title I guess ‘The Art…’
There are boxes though, and in a twist that reflects the authors’ style, they are ‘thinking inside the box’ boxes (you’ll have to read the book to find out why). There’s also amusing pictures, jokes, quips, anecdotes…
Therein lies the brilliance of this book. There are some meaty concepts covered in 9 easy and fun to read chapters, reflecting the understanding of the value of a busy primary teacher’s time. And on that note, you won’t be doing more. In fact you may end up doing less but brilliant-er; the key here is that you will be making the changes, fundamental changes, based on internal reflection facilitated by Stu and Andy’s humorously thought provoking content and not just attempting to apply some irrelevant one-size-fits-all solution.
Deliberately written to provide to the point advice and provocation, this is a must read. Not only is it a real passion stoker (professional and otherwise!) it doesn't take much of your precious holiday time to read through. If you or other teachers you know are in need of rediscovering the art, the passion or the core reason that teaching was the chosen vocation, then this book is a must-read.
There’s little else to say really when Stu and Andy’s paragraph sums it up so much better than I can do:
It’s grounded in pure realism; it’s self-challenging in that, when combined with a little bravery and risk taking, it will refresh your teaching until retirement day.
Oh, and in the words of Stu and Andy, ‘if you ‘get it’ then you will sense a whirring of something somewhere within...If you don’t ‘get it’ there will be no whirring and you will feel slightly irritated by squandering yet another tenner on a book that doesn't work.’

What have you got to lose? Apart from another tenner maybe.

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