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Effective Teaching

EFFECTIVE TEACHING: evidence and practice, second edition. By Daniel Muijs and David Reynolds. Sage Publications pound;19.99

A small number of education books feel indispensable; this one is warmly welcomed to the club. The authors tell us that educational research in the UK hasn't always been good at focusing on what teachers do in the classroom, making it seem detached from classroom life. Effective Teaching challenges that view. It is a practical compendium of relevant research into the essential skills of teaching. There are chapters here on classroom climate, behaviour management, homework, the brain, groupings, ICT. And it's all good, no-nonsense stuff.

For example, on the recent vogue for strategies involving multiple intelligences, the authors say: "As often happens in education, psychological theories are taken on board by educators or commercial consultants who do not understand them well and produce a low-level, vulgarised version for use in schools." Quite so. This isn't particularly a book for someone starting out on their career; it won't offer you an easy route to becoming an effective teacher. It's a magnificent survey of what educational research can tell us about nitty-gritty classroom issues.

Geoff Barton is head of King Edward VI school, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

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