Guerrilla Teaching

Revolutionary tactics for teachers on the ground, in real classrooms, working with real children, trying to make a real difference

By: Jonathan Lear


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Products specifications
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Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 216
ISBN : 9781781352328
Format: Paperback
Published: July 2015

Guerrilla Teaching is a revolution. Not a flag-waving, drum-beating revolution, but an underground revolution, a classroom revolution. It's not about changing policy or influencing government; it's about doing what you know to be right, regardless of what you're told. It's sound advice for people on the ground: people in real classrooms, working with real children, trying to make a real difference. Guerrilla Teaching by Jonathan Lear is packed with ideas to refresh teaching practice ' combining direct teaching with creative child-led learning – and forge cross-curricular links to create engaging, motivating and fun learning experiences. Ultimately, Guerrilla Teaching is about making a difference. It's a book Jonathan Lear never meant to write, but it was just too important not to.

Guerrilla: a member of an unofficial group of combatants using the element of surprise to harass a larger less mobile target.

Guerrilla teaching:

- Putting children, and their learning, at the heart of lessons.

- Embracing problem-solving and risk-taking in the classroom.

- Being adaptable and creative.

- Thinking about the skills and knowledge children will need in the future.

- Standing up and making sure children get the education they deserve (even if it means subverting the system!).

Filled with thoughts, ideas and strategies that will help to develop creativity and creative thinking in the primary classroom, Guerrilla Teaching is for trainee teachers, new teachers, teaching assistants, experienced teachers and head teachers ' there's something for everyone!

Picture for author Jonathan Lear

Jonathan Lear

Described as having a breathtaking understanding of how to engage children, Jonathan Lear is an award-winning teacher, education consultant and author. He has worked for many years on a compelling mix of inspirational teaching strategies, and has shared his passion for learning as an advanced skills teacher, a deputy head and an Associate of Independent Thinking.

Read, When Two Tribes Go to War', Jonathan's interview with

Click here to listen in on Jonathan's podcast with Pivotal Education on How to Teach Guerrilla Style'.


  1. Jonathan Lear has written a book which challenges readers to rethink current strategies to engage, motivate and create memorable opportunities for learner participation and interaction. He inspires reflection on issues such as visual signposting, curriculum options and developing learners as effective participants, self-managers and creative thinkers and the positive impact of this upon outcomes for learners and the ethos of a school.

    Lear emphasises the need for the teacher to create a presence that promotes the climate and culture within the classroom where learners can work creatively, independently and in collaboration with others. Readers will find Lear quite non-conformist in style; he is not afraid to challenge the status quo and create a new approach to move learners forward, which he describes as moving from the first floor of learning to the -˜rooftop terrace'. Here is a teacher who creates freedom for learners within a broad based framework within which he displays excellent techniques and skills for promoting rapport with pupils and positive management of behaviour for learning. However, although this book will stimulate many teachers, it will also engender debate and some teachers might find Lear's ideas -˜a challenge too far'.
  2. When I look for a book to improve my teaching practice, I am searching for something inspiring, thought provoking and a book that makes me excited. 'Guerrilla Teaching' inspired me to do things differently, helped me reflect on the creative things I was doing in class and made me enthusiastic about what I had the potential to do. One of the first things I did was to build an Oil Tanker from desks in the class to create a problem solving scenario for the class.

    I also liked how he talked about simplifying all the teaching objectives and pick out the ones that really matter. In a curriculum where we are often swamped with many objectives (often which are meaningless) it helped me focus on specific skills the children really need.

    I enjoyed how he also reinforced the way lessons were structured and did it in such a simple straight forward way.  It is definitely something I will be using for my lessons.

    I would have loved to be a child in Jonathan's class when I was young. He has inspired me to create a classroom of adventure, laughter and wonder.
  3. Although written with teachers of primary school aged children in mind, this is a book with plenty to offer educators in any phase - because above all, it is a heartfelt call to revolution. Lear has had enough of false dichotomies and self-indulgent pedagogical debate; he has as little patience for political posturing; and he understands that 'creative' and 'direct' are not mutually exclusive adjectives when applied to 'teaching'. It's time, he insists, for those responsible for young people's learning to remember what's important, to trust their instinctive and experienced understanding of what is in the best interests of their pupils and to resist any attempt to introduce initiatives and strategies that go against it. 
  4. Luckily for our children there are many truly outstanding teachers in this country. What is rare, however, are outstanding teachers who really understand why their lessons are so good: some of the most natural and gifted teachers don't really realise how good they are and even fewer know why.

    What is even rarer, when you consider the energy and dedication it takes to be an amazing teacher, are truly outstanding teachers who have found the time to write a book that shares their wisdom. Add to that the fact that there is an almost universal modesty about what we teachers do that has to be overcome before one of us will write a book and you have the reason why a gem of a book on teaching like this is so rare. Sadly the nature of the job means few teachers ever get to watch other really good teachers perform their craft but if you can't watch an amazing teacher teach the next best thing is to hope they write a book and buy it!

    What I like about Jonathan Lear's book is not just the amazing, creative, practical, common sense, myth and orthodoxy busting ideas that are easy to bring into your own teaching but the fact that you can trust in those ideas because they don't come from some researcher who no longer teaches (if they ever did) and tried out a standalone novel idea on some nice children and then used statistics to try to prove it was an effective way to teach. Jonathan's advice and ideas are worth following because they come from the experience of successfully teaching thousands of the most disadvantaged children in Sheffield day in, day out and helping them achieve great things and go on to successful lives. Jonathan has a gift not only in teaching but also in being able to dissect almost the most minute detail of the teacher's approach or lesson content and articulate why it makes the lesson work so well (or not). Whether you are starting out in teaching or have many years of experience, and whether you want to develop your own lessons or find ideas to inspire those you lead, this book is a great read, which I why the Sheffield SCITT uses Jonathan Lear to train our teachers. Now everyone else can be in on the secrets of his magic too and there can be even more outstanding teachers in front of our children.
  5. Guerrilla Teaching  is a great, practical and inspirational book for any teacher at any point in their career. 

    It's refreshing to find a book that offers support and advice that will actually make a difference to the way the children we teach learn and enjoy school. It's a book that reminds us to consider the type of people we want our children to grow up to be and how to help them achieve that.

    It reminded me why I choose teaching as a career.
  6. Jonathan Lear is the voice of the true expert - the excellent classroom teacher who, through experience and experimentation, knows what works for his pupils and is not prepared to let outside interference get in the way of doing what he knows is right for their education and wellbeing. There is a blueprint here for great teaching, but it's not one the author would have readers follow. Instead, in analysing his methods, Jonathan strips away the unnecessary baggage that has begun to clutter the job of teaching, helping professionals recall a time when they felt confident to trust in their own judgement. He is a champion of creativity in the classroom and shares his playful toolkit with readers. And while his penchant for costumes and characters won't be for everyone, the more theatrical elements never come before, or at the expense of, the focus on content and skills. Behind every comedy moustache is the face of real learning - clear objectives, searching questions, and a hard-won understanding of children's development.
  7. This is a book you will enjoy reading. It's full of humour; stories about teaching, stories about students, and jokes. There are plenty of great ideas about teaching and learning too.

    It takes real talent to write breezily for 200 pages, and Jonathan Lear manages it without becoming cloying and facile. This is a book with quality and substance behind the humour. 

    Lear's central metaphor is the guerrilla teacher, not the hairy kind who eat bananas - although there are plenty of these - but the kind who stir things up, go against authority and make things happen. 

    Being a guerrilla teacher doesn't sound like an easy option in these days of Morganite-micromanagement and I can't see this book being bought on mass for the staff of Ark'ham Academy, but for the rest of us, hiding in the jungle, it's a valuable manual to keep tucked in our rucksacks. 
  8. As educators, we have to stop waiting for a knight in shining armour to come riding over the hill and lead us to our children's promised land. It is up to us - passionate, professional, creative people - to take the lead and revolutionise schooling. Jonathan Lear's authentic and infectious book hits the spot. Use it in order to build your own confidence and capacity and then to lead change for your children in your school!
  9. This is a book full of passion. In it Jonathan Lear shares that passion with readers on every page, alongside his wealth of personal experiences in teaching. He skilfully captures a depth of research and communicates this with clarity and ease, and writes with confidence and authority. He talks of starting a revolution with this book and I feel he may just do that. Full of great ideas to take immediately into the classroom and a philosophy that is refreshing and forward thinking. A great read for the next generation of teachers!
  10. This is a book about real teaching by a real teacher who has had to work out how to build learning into a school system that should take learning for granted. Jonathan cuts through the rhetoric of the contemporary standards debate with a conversation about how to switch on pupils' learning by being the sort of good teacher they need rather than the deliverer of conventional practice. There are numerous examples of how to make things happen for the good of learning and plenty of tips and suggestions to enable the committed teacher to make progress that they value rather than measure.

    People often talk about 'being brave' in schools these days. What is there to be brave about in inspiring pupils to learn? Teaching should be a joy and a constant source of fulfilment. Anyone who engages with this book will find it goes under the barbed wire of current orthodoxies, throws a few grenades at the mythologies of teaching and comes up in the middle of the great learning debate. There are moments of subterfuge and examples of camouflaged teaching and there is the wonderful escape to teaching that is gripping and enjoyable - for pupils and teachers alike.

    Engage with this book ... and be a learning guerrilla.
  11. Jonathan's manifesto is an excellent guide to teaching creatively in the classroom. Jonathan's book stands on the shoulders of the great creative educationalists and encourages a generation of teachers to join the guerrilla revolution. Most manifestos are full of broken promises, Guerrilla Teaching delivers an eclectic range of creative teaching 'policies' designed to turn the mere mortal educator into an inspiring guerrilla teacher.

    An indispensable book for any teacher wanting to explore their creative pedagogy and inspire their students. Guerrilla Teaching is an inspiring call to arms; Jonathan writes with humour and his book persuades us all to join his creative classroom revolution. Anybody who reads Jonathan's book will want to climb the tallest mountain, raise their arms aloft and shout 'I am a guerrilla teacher!'

    A fabulous read, Jonathan's guerrilla manifesto takes apart existing teaching methods and rebuilds them, creatively, from scratch. The book contains everything you need to start your very own classroom revolution. I implore every teacher to read Guerrilla Teaching: it can only benefit those who really matter - your students, and their futures.

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