by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : October 2010
Reviews Inside Teaching | October 2010 REVIEWS 48 How to Teach By Phil Beadle Published by Crown House ISBN 9 781 845 903 930 RRP $42.95 Reviewed by Steve Holden Like Andrea Berkeley, who wrote the foreword to this book, reading How to Teach made me laugh out loud on a crowded train. Phil Beadle – one of the teachers on The Unteachables on ABC TV last year – works hard to make How to Teach a pleasurable read. In a world where you can read any number of ‘practical survival guides,’ Beadle’s practical focus is striking. As he observes, ‘Unlike many experts in education I am still a serving schoolteacher. As such, (the insights in the book) are not something I once thought 15 years ago that no longer apply; I am using the techniques in this book, in a school toward the bottom of the league tables, on the day you are reading this.’ Beadle’s emphasis on techniques to do with the management of students, subject knowledge, teaching methods and organisation, lesson planning and finally assessment, and his background discussion of these, is spot on. Here’s his first rule on the management of students: turn up. ‘You may think you’re...doing a crap job when you are in front of the class,’ he observes, ‘but you’re worse when you’re not there.... If you get a reputation with the children as a good attender, it will pay dividends in terms of behaviour.’ Not incidentally, Beadle begins this book with a vignette from his first class, En10a2, and points out, ‘I was about their 15th English teacher in the space of a year’ and they were ‘all too used to adults letting them down.’ The backhanded compliment from En10a2’s ‘Big Isaac’: ‘Christ! Beadleman. Don’t you ever take any time off? When are we going to get a break from you?’ Beadle’s section on discipline is fine indeed and worth more than the usual day’s training – this is in Britain – ‘that generally consists of sitting mute, watching Antipodean behavioural guru, Bill Rogers, effortlessly controlling a class of miniature, compliant Aussies’ who are ‘clearly middle class and obviously easy to manage.’ The first level in Beadle’s ‘gradational/assertive/non- confrontational’ discipline involves ‘“body language” telling- off,’ particularly proximity, or ‘standing slightly too close’ – powerful because students know it’s a technique only used by teachers with a mature command of behaviour management. There’s much besides classroom management that’s useful in this book that offers you useful rules and tools, but also gets you thinking about why you teach the way you do. Beadle stresses the value of good assessment, which ‘is the most important thing you do as a teacher.’ Towards the end of the book, he takes us through the Year 10 work of one of his current Year 11 students, and in doing so tells a powerful story. I read this going home on the train – and nearly missed my station. I’m not sure that Beadle’s tendency to hammer at Britain’s prescriptiveness is relevant to Australian readers, and there are errors which you’d usually hope to catch, but these are minor problems. This is a valuable book for early career teachers.