This is a book that I have had in my own professional library for quite a while; although it has now been published for quite some time it’s dog-eared nature indicates how useful an asset it has been to me and countless colleagues over the years!
Essentially this book is a compendium of ideas that have been tried and tested by Paul and people he has worked with over the years. The aspect that I really like is that when you are looking for inspiration about how you teach a particular topic you can pick this book up and within minutes have a really effective method that suits your class at your fingertips.
The key sections of the book provide a really useful context as to why each tool has been included in the toolkit. The toolkit is divided into five sections:
- Design Tools
- Tools for Teaching & Learning
- Tools for managing Group Work, Behaviour and Personal Responsibility
- Operating Tools
- Audit Tools
Within each area of the toolkit there are a broad selection of tools that can be used by experienced or inexperienced teachers alike. Each suggested activity has a how to do it section, a why to do it section, how it might be applied to different subjects and possible variations, which allows someone picking it up for the first time to quickly contextualise the activity , how and why it would be used and how it might be adapted to suit the needs of particular classes.
Overall this has been one of the books that I have made best use of and has had the most impact on my own teaching and on my ability to support colleagues to develop their own teaching.
Recommendation: Buy it!
Review information from Amazon:
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Mr. M. J. Birch on 1 Mar. 2003
Firstly, the book combines theory with practice – too many books do not get the balance right, giving too much theory or vice versa. What this book does is set out basic and more compex theories about how effective teaching can occur, then it gives practical examples. The effect of this is so simple – you can understand WHY you should use certain strategies.
There is a huge section in the book detailing dozens of effective teaching strategies that anyone can try, each one saying how it could be adapted for each subject and even what learning is taking place.
I thouroughly recommend this to every teach who wants to improve their teaching – from NT and NQT to HOD’s!!
By A Customer on 8 Jun. 2002
By Mad Max on 19 Nov. 2009
Some are simple and require little preparation, while others (eg “Market Place”) require a lot! Have done a modified “Market Place” at least 10 times in the last 18 months as a study aid for the Romans, Volcanoes and India. Did the last one for a recent (Oct 2009) Ofsted inspection and it was well worth the effort: lesson was judged good with elements of outstanding.
They are designed to maximise co-operation and interaction, so that pupils are learning from each other rather than just sitting at desks being fed the info. Each activity has a table showing what the activity is designed to achieve (eg independence, fun etc), and one showing what the activity contains (eg group work, moving about, listening, reading etc) – so you can pick and choose depending on time, space, targets etc.
Will now use ideas from the 17 activities in Section 3 (“Tools For Managing Group Work, Behaviour and Personal Responsibility” ) during our informal “Focus Weeks” as a way of improving pupils’ communication and reasoning skills.
Finally, I very rarely buy educational books any more, so the fact that I wanted my own copy and have bothered to submit a review shows how much I value it!
By “mskealey” on 24 Mar. 2003
Leave it around so that others will see it and buy their own.
By granadam on 3 May 2006
By Jivespin on 27 April 2006
Perhaps the jewel the crown in this book are the fifty teaching activities which can be used in many different contexts. Not only are they activities presented in a clear and accessible format, it also allows for suggestions on how they can be applied in the classroom as well as alternative ways the activities can be structured.
I found the educational theory well-presented and gave food for thought as well as directions for additional reading. There were some useful behavioural management suggestions which would particularly be useful for NQT’s.
A first-class resource which I would highly recommend. The only down side in buying this resource would be if you used it at school, many of your colleagues would want to borrow it and you may not see it again for weeks!!!