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Book Review

Book review: Paul Ginnis, 2002. The Teacher’s Toolkit. Edition. Crown Publishers.

Paul Ginnis, 2002. The Teacher’s Toolkit. Edition. Crown Publishers.

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

92 of 93 people found the following review helpful

By Mr. M. J. Birch on 1 Mar. 2003

Format: Paperback

Our department at school got its hands on a copy last year, and I was so impressed I purchased my own copy. This has to be the best teacher book I possess, and there are several reasons why i believe every practioner should have one.
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!!

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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful

By A Customer on 8 Jun. 2002

Format: Paperback

This is an excellent resource and reference book for teachers of all levels, ages and subjects – regardless of teaching experience! Ginnis explains in non-jargon language the different styles of learning and how teachers and learners can utilise this knowledge to improve learning experiences and teaching strategies. Teachers will enjoy reading about practical strategies they can use, in the classroom. Pupils have responded to such ideas with enthusiasm, and have fun, while learning in different ways. Ginnis clearly explains the need to use a variety of strategies to tap into the different learning styles individuals will have in the classroom. Useable at all levels, from primary to adult. Fun filled learning suggestions backed up with serious teaching and learning pedagogy. Highly recommended to all teachers!

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful

By Mad Max on 19 Nov. 2009

Format: Paperback

Used 16 activities (there are 50) from Section 2 of this book (“Tools For Teaching & Learning”) to make our lessons more fun and proactive. The ideas are simple, can be adapted for any subject and can be easily modified (which is what we did for our junior school).
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!

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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful

By “mskealey” on 24 Mar. 2003

Format: Paperback

Recommended by a friend. This is such a fantastic reference for all teachers, however long you’ve been teaching. Nicely set out, very helpful. Covers many useful strategies that are easily implementable. Not too heavy so you can dip in and out of it. The book has well set out activites sections that will help add to the effectivness of your lessons. Friends have borrowed my copy and ordered thiers.
Leave it around so that others will see it and buy their own.

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful

By granadam on 3 May 2006

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I bought this book as a trainee teacher and now as an NQT, I still use it for lesson ideas especially when trying to use kinaesthetic, visual and auditory activities. It has a host of activities which are then related back to individual subjects and so, doesn’t focus as some other books do on the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. I teach French, and the book provided a lot of new ideas for my lessons that I’d never tried before. I don’t know what I ever did before this book came along! Buy it!

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful

By Jivespin on 27 April 2006

Format: Paperback

This is perhaps the best single volume teaching resource I have come across and I only wish it was available when I was an NQT. The book is clearly structured tackling diverse areas, such as educational theory, teaching activities and behavioural management ideas.

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!!!



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