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‘Tom Bennett is the voice of the modern teacher.’ - Stephen Drew, Senior Vice-Principal, Passmores Academy, UK, featured on Channel 4’s Educating Essex


Do the findings from educational science ever really improve the day-to-day practice of classroom teachers?

Education is awash with theories about how pupils best learn and teachers best teach, most often propped up with the inevitable research that ‘proves’ the case in point. But what can teachers do to find the proof within the pudding, and how can this actually help them on wet Wednesday afternoon?.

Drawing from a wide range of recent and popular education theories and strategies, Tom Bennett highlights how much of what we think we know in schools hasn’t been ‘proven’ in any meaningful sense at all. He inspires teachers to decide for themselves what good and bad education really is, empowering them as professionals and raising their confidence in the classroom and the staffroom alike. Readers are encouraged to question and reflect on issues such as:

  • the most common ideas in modern education and where these ideas were born
  • the crisis in research right now
  • how research is commissioned and used by the people who make policy in the UK and beyond
  • the provenance of education research: who instigates it, who writes it, and how to spot when a claim is based on evidence and when it isn’t
  • the different way that data can be analysed
  • what happens to the research conclusions once they escape the laboratory.

Controversial, erudite and yet unremittingly entertaining, Tom includes practical suggestions for the classroom throughout. This book will be an ally to every teacher who’s been handed an instruction on a platter and been told, ‘the research proves it.’

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    Proofed and read.

    As a teacher for over twenty-three years, this book has been one of the best I have read that really does get to our own thinking about the craft of teaching. I also stopped, dropped and rolled when brain gym came in like a tsunami in my school district a few years ago. When I asked about the science behind this farce, I was met with bewildered stares and confusion from colleagues who thought it was truly helping their students. So too, my experience when Emotional Intelligence was given the royal treatment by our administrator training workshops, I came to realize that many of the New and Improved teaching ideas often follow someone's own lined pockets. The money flows easily, and doubtful practices can be adopted by entire systems unless a brave teacher raises their hand and asks the question of "Wait a minute? Why are we doing this, and how does it really help our students?" This book has given me both vindication and ammunition for any future alarm bells that go off when a new and improved method, gadget or practice gets thrown my way without the benefit of careful consideration, study and reflection. I loved the writing style presented in this book and recommend it for all teachers needing their own boost to ask for proof when faced with similar claims of miraculous results and easily attained results. Well done, mon ami, well done!


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