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Inside Teaching : June 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 47 REVIEWS Pearsall outlines the purpose behind a strategy, the thinking that informs it, and step-by- step instructions and resource materials. He also refers briefly to the research, much of it Australian, that underpins the strategies he outlines. There's every chance you'll find a strategy here that you've never seen or used before. My favourites are word clouds, resource auctions and an activity using groupwork cards. Each strategy in And Gladly Teach addresses typical problems, grouped in chapters like 'Student engagement'; 'Cooperative classrooms' and 'Staying on task.' Could Pearsall be modelling a positive approach? What's useful here is that the strategies in each chapter actually do address disengagement, the dysfunctional behaviour of groups and individual students, and straying off-task, or not getting on task in the first place. Pearsall avoids both pitfalls of the 'teacher's toolbox' genre: promising silver bullets and pretending that his reader teaches in a ideal world. The 'Query, wait and watch' checklist -- one simple page of check boxes to help you monitor your own behaviours in class discussion -- is worth the price of the book. It's 'a clerk of Oxenford' in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, by the way, who gives the book its title -- the clerk 'gladly wolde. . .lerne, and gladly teche.' Quite. LINKS www.tln.org.au What Expert Teachers Do: Enhancing professional knowledge for classroom practice By John Loughran Published by Allen & Unwin ISBN 9 781 741 759 877 RRP $45.00 Reviewed by Steve Holden What Expert Teachers Do assists professional educators, as John Loughran puts it on page 3, 'to ensure that what we think we do in our practice is in accord with what we actually do, and that is not a simple task.' A case in point in this book is the way educators use wait time in questioning. This is nicely examined, more so because Loughran uses it to address the way, typically, we see the need for wait time in the practice of others, but not in our own practice. The emphasis on skills -- or what Loughran at the end of the book calls an 'armoury' on page 201 -- might suggest Loughran conceives of teaching as merely a mechanical or technical practice. That's not the case. If anything, What Expert Teachers Do investigates the 'messiness of teaching.' According to Loughran, on page 15, 'it is through being challenged by, and engaged in, mapping the indeterminate swampy terrain that professional learning abounds.' What Expert Teachers Do usefully examines that 'indeterminate swampy terrain' with reference to Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Howard Bloom and the like; to explanations of the uses of teaching tools like think- pair-share, mind maps, before- now-after, fishbowl discussions, predict-observe-explain and so on; and, most commendably, to reflective practice and teacher research. What's missing, surprisingly, is any reference to the extensive work that has been undertaken in Australia and elsewhere on the development of professional teaching standards by, for example, the nation's various subject associations, state and territory teacher registration or accreditation bodies and, most recently, the National Standards Sub-group of the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs. Given that much of the work on the development of professional standards was framed precisely in terms of 'what teachers know and are able to do,' that's an unusual omission. Steve Holden is Editor-in-Chief -- Magazines at ACER Press.