How to be an Amazing Teacher

By: Caroline Bentley-Davies


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 232mm x 156mm
Pages : 272
ISBN : 9781845904425
Format: Paperback
Published: July 2010

Learn how to be an amazing classroom teacher! In most of our school experience there was an amazing teacher - the teacher who changed our outlook on life, helped us succeed and whose lessons we will never forget. What made them that outstanding teacher and what are the tips, techniques and tactics that make some teachers really first class? How do I improve my skills? How can I get behaviour right? How can I motivate pupils who don't seem to want to learn? These are questions often asked by newly qualified as well as experienced teachers.

Caroline Bentley-Davies' book How to be an Amazing Teacher explains:

  • the secrets of body language, presence and classroom charisma
  • how to unlock the hidden talents of pupils and develop their motivation and engagement through a wealth of innovative teaching techniques
  • what tools amazing teachers have mastered to engage disaffected pupils, making the classroom a vibrant and engaging area

Carefully blending practical advice, real-life scenarios and expert opinion, this book will make any teaching career more rewarding.

Picture for author Caroline Bentley-Davies

Caroline Bentley-Davies

Caroline Bentley-Davies is an adviser, consultant and coach for teachers and school leaders. She runs training and observes lessons across the UK and overseas. She has trained thousands of teachers and is the author of many bestselling books, including How to be an Amazing Teacher and How to be an Amazing Middle Leader.


  1. In How to be an Amazing Teacher by Caroline Bentley-Davies, she describes really special teachers that have the ability to make time fly.

    These amazing souls mesmerise, engross and fascinate by effortlessly mixing together dynamic skills that she summarises as the five Es:

    Enthusiasm, Expertise, Empathy, Empowerment and Enterprise.

    Caroline says these define the “essence of an amazing teacher” and they reflect the key attributes that an amazing teacher has in abundance. Developing and refining these skills takes time, hard work and commitment, and as Caroline points out, “Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.”

    Apart from examining these key characteristics in more detail, Caroline's book also delves into concrete strategies and ideas for solving tricky issues and difficulties.

    Click here to see the review on the Teacher Toolkit website.
  2. By an inspector of schools in the UK who asks her reader to begin with a consideration of the traits and practices of amazing teachers they have had. The four main sections cover: The amazing teacher (e.g., what students want from their teachers, charisma, classroom climate, lesson planning), Assessment, Achievement for all, and Solving difficult problems. Easy-to-read and potentially useful for pre-service and new teachers.
  3. Such a bold title sets expectations very high. To attempt to distil such a complex and often idiosyncratic thing into the pages of a book is, to say the least, brave. For this reason the title may run the risk of putting off potential readers. However Bentley-Davies makes very clear from the opening paragraph that while those looking for `ten top tips before you move on to your next job` may well gain something from dipping into the book, it is really written to be read from start to finish. For her the key is to see this as a dynamic learning process, not a quick fix.

    There are four sections, aiming to take readers on the journey towards becoming an amazing teacher. The first covers the key characteristics and skills from teacher and pupil perspectives. There are the obvious elements, such as plenaries, questioning, group work and planning. In addition, though, it tackles areas harder to define, such as climate and charisma. The second section covers the practicalities, with specific strategies centred on assessment for learning. The third section focuses on achievement for all, dealing in three separate chapters with underachieving boys, special educational needs and gifted and talented. Section IV deals with common problems such as body language, motivation and work/life balance.

    Bentley-Davies`s style is lively and engaging, as she constantly draws on her experience over many years as teacher, inspector, adviser and consultant. The text is rich with personal anecdote, research findings and commonsense advice that draw the reader in while maintaining a level of challenge. Frequently, this apparently basic and practical approach leads to some deep and potentially profound reflection.

    Throughout there is a recognition that fundamental changes, new learning and risk-taking are key parts of teacher development. `Thinking points` contain challenging questions and discursive and useful advice that takes each chapter`s content off the page to genuinely and critically engage the reader with the messages. `Reflection moments` encourage readers to note down for themselves what has been gained from each chapter and to record specific targets related to this. These aspects of the book are a key to its success. Some chapters can start to feel a little simplistic until the reader reaches the thinking and reflection sections, which are skilfully put together in such a way that complacency is quickly skewered. As such, especially given the brief and accessible nature of the chapters, they would make ideal Inset activities in their own right.

    Cynics may well be deterred by the title, and effective teachers will obviously gain considerably less than those who are new to the profession or have significant development needs. However, this is a very readable and at times inspiring book that will support any teacher`s journey towards `amazing`.
  4. Caroline Bentley-Davies provides a checklist of what outstanding teachers do that I wish I`d seen when I was getting started. The book is practical, uplifting and immensely reassuring. It reminds us that whilst brilliant teachers are awe-inspiring to watch, their skills are essentially learnable. Caroline Bentley-Davies` book provides a canny mix of advice and opportunities for reflection on the journey towards being an outstanding teacher. The style is eminently calm and practical.
  5. An excellent thought provoking and inspired text, based on front line experience. This book will be a real asset in schools and colleges as it encourages the reader to reflect on really effective practice within a text full of ideas and suggestions to tweak and possibly improve practice. A brilliant publication.
  6. This book jumps off the page from the very beginning, grabs you and never lets go. Every chapter is a gem. Each has excitement, ideas, tools. What`s more, it covers the waterfront of everything that is key without ever getting bogged down. Caroline-Bentley Davies is Amazing. Read it as soon as you can if you want to appreciate and improve your teaching to maximum benefit.
  7. How to be an Amazing teacher does what it says on the cover. Caroline has provided a lifelong teaching resource that will give new teachers tools and techniques that can be used immediately, as well as more established educators refreshing ideas and strategies to build off their own best practice.
    Her writing style is a delightful balance between engaging personalisation and clear instruction and example. I have already used some of her ideas and intend to keep it on that special shelf of books that are well read and well used.
    If you haven`t got a copy, go and get one. If you have a copy, go and get one for someone else. They will thank you for it and so will their students.
  8. The value of this book is its focus on teaching and learning as a fundamentally interpersonal process in which dialogue and relationships are central rather than `off the peg` techniques. Bentley-Davies presents a picture of teaching and learning as an invigoratingly open ended voyage of reflective discovery which works best when pupils and teachers are in partnership and teachers are clear sighted about their own strengths and development targets.
  9. Caroline Bentley-Davies has produced a significant resource to support teachers in reviewing and reflecting on their professional practice. Her approach is authoritative and practical and she explores in a detailed and systematic manner the incredibly complex range of variables that enable effective learning. Her focus on reflection in practice is particularly welcome and she provides a range of resources to encourage teachers to become more aware and robust about their own teaching. Her insights and examples ensure that this will be a highly credible and relevant resource for teachers committed to supporting and enabling effective learning.
  10. This is an informative, practical and supportive guide that will help new teachers develop their skills but will also provide fresh ideas to those who have been in the profession for a while. Topics covered range from body language and classroom charisma to dealing with underachieving boys and effective marking and lesson planning. Throughout the book there are `thinking points` and `reflection moments` which offer the reader a chance to consider each chapter in the context of their own skills and teaching practices. Real-life scenarios are examined along with clear instructions on what is good and not so good. This resource shows exactly what outstanding teachers do and how easily others can do the same.
  11. Takes the mystique out of being an Amazing Teacher. Sensible and achievable steps drawn from a wealth of invaluable experience.
  12. Most of us can remember an amazing teacher from our own school days. We looked forward to their lesson each week; they understood us and helped us succeed; they fascinated and inspired us. Amazing teachers make teaching appear relatively easy. They have a brilliant rapport with even the most difficult classes and are almost always smiling. How do they do it?

    Can you really teach someone how to be an amazing teacher? Caroline Bentley-Davies says she can. Her book is absolutely bursting with tips to transform a good teacher into an amazing one, and it will make everyone who reads it a better teacher. It is reassuring to read that I already employ some of the techniques the author considers essential to the amazing teacher`s practice, but I picked up many more inspiring ideas throughout the book.

    All teachers, regardless of how long they have been teaching, should be given this as a handbook. In fact, the longer you have been teaching, the more useful it may be - it is all too easy to slip into the same routines and to stop challenging and improving your skills. It is important to be excited about your subject and your profession because it rubs off on your students, and this book reignites that passion. Bentley-Davies has advice for everyone, from NQTs to those with years of experience. The book is guaranteed to leave you feeling fired up and eager to get back into the classroom to try out some of her ideas - even with bottom-set Year 9. In fact, after reading this, you will be especially keen for the challenge they present.

    Many of Bentley-Davies` ideas are simple and not necessarily ground-breaking, yet they are practical and effective. You may have heard some of her advice at Inset days and continuing professional development sessions, and you will remember some of it from your teacher-training days. But we all need regular reminders to embed excellent ideas into our daily practice. This book should be kept on a shelf in every teacher`s classroom or office and accessed frequently as part of their teaching toolkit.

    It is also an extremely enjoyable read. The author sets out her ideas in a user-friendly way, allowing you to dip in and out of the book if you feel a particular area of your teaching needs a boost. However, I am sure you will not be able to put it down once you start. This practical guide covers everything from the skills required to be an outstanding teacher to lesson planning, asking the right questions in class, the perfect starters and plenaries, hints for setting homework, making Assessment for Learning happen in your classroom, ensuring that every student makes progress, and coping with the most difficult classes - and colleagues.

    The book also acknowledges the difficulties and stresses of the profession and offers strategies and ideas that really work in the classroom. It even offers tips on managing your time at work and at home, and keeping yourself fresh and interested. Bentley-Davies is refreshingly realistic and offers hands-on advice that you can start using straight away. The section on `student voice`, which focuses on the pupil`s experience in the classroom, is insightful and helps you understand the characteristics that pupils want and value in their teachers.

    Every teacher knows that you need to involve your pupils at every opportunity - you shouldn`t just speak to them didactically. Bentley-Davies has built in `thinking points` every few pages that help the reader analyse what they have just read. These help to reflect on current practice and encourage you to set yourself targets for trying out new techniques.

    It`s a practical, inspiring and enlightening read, which reminds you that although it may take time, effort, commitment and the ability to be honest about your performance, the skills of an outstanding teacher are, in essence, learnable. Read it as soon as you can if you are on a quest to become an amazing teacher. It will not disappoint. The verdict 9/10.

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