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In Brief

Whose Learning? The role of the personal tutor

By Kate Bullock and Felicity Wikeley; Open University Press pound;16.99

I'm often wary of books about life in schools written by people on the perimeters, but this wise and timely publication by two lecturers in university education departments is an exception.

Many schools are rethinking the role of the tutor. Tempted by the logic of replacing daily tutor time with electronic registering, we are wondering whether that 15 to 20 minutes each morning is money well spent.

This book provides one of the most lucid, contemporary evaluations of the tutor's role I've encountered. It repositions the tutor as someone who helps students know what to learn, how to learn and, crucially, to "know" themselves as learners. It has a good mix of theory and practical guidance.

It warns against over-dependence on the learning styles obsession (so what if students have nine types of intelligence? No single lesson will cater for all of them) and illustrates the tutor's powerful role in making connections between subjects and areas of knowledge. A fascinating, stimulating read.

GEOFF BARTON Geoff Barton is headteacher at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

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