Classroom skills

12th May 2000 at 01:00

Acknowledging the gap that exists between teachers and educational research, this book seeks to bring the two together. It demonstrates in a practical way how some findings from recent research could be applied in primary classrooms, with benefits for teachers and pupils.

The research is small-scale and accessible and concerns the nitty-gritty of everyday classroom life - just the sort of research teachers are most likely to engage with - how do I involve that tone-deaf nine-year-old who thinks all school music is snobby or naff? Where do I seat the special needs child I am trying to integrate into my classroom? How do I teach art when I'm no good at drawing or painting?

Layout and tone are user-friendly, giving adequate explanation of research terms without being patronising. Chapters are self-contained and address various areas of the primary curriculum such as special needs and behaviour management as well as all the subject areas including ICT and citizenship.

Each chapter begins wit a clear abstract and an excellent introduction to the focus area including a research review that offers plenty of scope for further reading. And each ends with a photocopiable resource offering practical support in applying some of the research in the classroom.

This seems an obvious and positive way to invite teachers to become users of research. The contributors have packed a great deal of information into their chapters and occasionally this results in a loss of those details of background and context that make research real to the reader. Sometimes teacher and pupil voices get lost, leaving a feeling of research being done to, rather than with or by, teachers.

In other chapters, the teacherpupil voice shines through to great effect, bringing the whole issue to life and creating suddenly a real classroom where these activities actually took place. Nothing is more convincing to another teacher, and nothing is more likely to encourage readers to feel that they too can do this.

Sue Jennings Sue Jennings is a literacy teacher, primary Senco and teacher-researcher at the Friars school, Salford

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