By Roy Watson-Davies
Teachers Pocketbooks pound;6.99
There won't be many books for teachers that give advice like this: "Hire a costume! Teach a maths lesson dressed as a superhero." I don't recall that one in the Teacher Training Agency national teaching standards.
This is a wonderful book. It's a pocket-sized compendium of good ideas, lively practice and fun-packed innovation. Written by an advanced skills teacher, it isn't just a pre-packaged collection of someone else's charismatic wacky wheezes; rather it has the sense of coming from someone who knows the realities of the classroom.
There are hints on organising the classroom, a fine section on revision techniques, and tip after tip on how to make your teaching relevant and inspiring. I like the washing-line idea for hanging up quotations and equations, the use of pictures to summarise key points, hangman games to guess the learning objective, and getting students to throw paper aeroplanes with their questions written on. Just check your school's health and safety policy first.
As with all the best books for teachers, the author focuses on the needs of the learner with hints for visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles, and practical tips such as bringing in a big alarm clock to teach examination time-management.
Advanced skills teachers aren't always the best people to write books of advice for other teachers; they can demoralise with their expertise. This tiny book is an exception: a wonderful stocking-filler for any teacher near you; an inspiring and funny read; a real gem.
Geoff Barton is headteacher at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk