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Good practice: Keep your sympathy - we want emotion

Helping Kids Hope By Nancy E Gill Scarecrow Press pound;24.95 The Emotional Literacy Handbook By James Park, Alice Haddon and Harriet Goodman David Fulton Publishers pound;18 Restorative Practices in Schools By Margaret Thorsborne and David Vinegrad Incentive Publishing pound;20

Remember Margaret Thatcher's dictum: "Bring me solutions, not problems"? That's what we want from books that address life in schools. By the end we want to feel that we have replenished our reserves of idealism and gained some practical strategies. Nancy E Gill's Helping Kids Hope aims, I think, to be inspirational, but in fact proves to be gloomy reading. An American college professor, Gill has spent 24 years "adopting" groups of students who find school discouraging and boring. She catalogues their woes in exhaustive detail and clearly feels huge empathy for them. As she says, "all of them seemed to long for someone who would just listen to them without criticising and judging them". She takes on the role. Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

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