“This book is more about getting excellent learning happening in your classroom day in, day out. The book is full of tried-and-tested ideas that teachers have learned both from academic research and The University of Life and Experience.”
10 usefully titled sections such as “lesson planning, motivation, learning environment…etc” with each containing 10 ideas that are tried and tested by the author.
This book has been written with the best intentions, to provide real, applicable help to busy teachers which they can apply in the classroom the next day. Emeny himself, admits there are two ways of approaching the book, dipping in and out; or reading like a novel. I chose a mixture of both, skimming the book and dog-earing pages of use, which I returned to later.
This book, according to Emeny, was written for when teachers feel stale and boring. I understand this is a common affliction in our profession – where it is all too easy to use the same bank of activities again and again… He advocates using the book for those occasions, promising that it will provide a new idea to try when your lessons need some jazzing up.
Emeny is clear about using the book to promote a culture of “outstanding teaching” which will remain valid throughout the inevitable changes of Ofsted criteria. His enthusiasm for the profession is evident, and he clearly aims to be the best he can be as a teacher and wants this for others which is admirable.
In terms of value, this book has some good ideas. However, it is not reinventing the wheel, most of the ideas are ones I certainly heard of before, and I actually took very few of the 100 ideas from the book to my classroom. This is not a criticism as such, merely an observation, that I am keen to seek out new ideas and try them out. If I have come across this book a year ago, I suspect many of the ideas would have been new to me.
I have included some of the ideas I found particularly inspiring below, with page references. Obviously for copyright reasons I cannot publish all the details below, but you can buy the book here in both paperback and digital versions.
Idea 36, pp.58-9 – Mark backwards – this is pure genius! I have implemented this straight away.
Idea 65, p.91- Independent Learned Graffiti Wall – I LOVE this idea and have altered it to become a collaborative graffiti wall display where students volunteer a member of their table to contribute to the wall as a plenary or review task.
Idea 91, pp.126-9 – Relearning – The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve – this theory was brand new to me, and really made me think about how I approach teaching and revisiting topics.
These are just a few of the ideas I have started using in my classroom, and I am grateful to Emeny for providing them in a such a neat little accessible package. However I do wish there were more of the groundbreaking ideas, and less of the same teaching ideas dressed up slightly differently as I suspect I personally won’t come back to book time and time again as the author intended.