How To Teach

By: Phil Beadle


£16.99

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Ebook


Size: 182mm x 222mm

Pages : 256

ISBN : 9781845903930

Format: Paperback

Published: May 2010


The ultimate (and ultimately irreverent) look at what you should be doing in your classroom if you want to be the best teacher you can possibly be!

How to Teach is the most exciting, most readable, and most useful teaching manual ever written.

It is not the work of a dry theorist. Its author has spent half a lifetime working with inner city kids and has helped them to discover an entirely new view of themselves. This book lets you into the tricks of the trade that will help you to do the same, from the minutiae of how to manage difficult classes through to exactly what you should be looking for when you mark their work.

How to Teach covers everything you need to know in order to be the best teacher you can possibly be.
 




Picture for author Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle knows a bit about bringing creative projects to fruit. His self-described renaissance dilettantism' is best summed up by Mojo magazine's description of him as a burnished voice soul man and left wing educationalist'. He is the author of ten books on a variety of subjects, including the acclaimed Dancing About Architecture, described in Brain Pickings as a strong, pointed conceptual vision for the nature and origin of creativity'. As songwriter Philip Kane, his work has been described in Uncut magazine as having novelistic range and ambition' and in Mojo as having a rare ability to find romance in the dirt' along with bleakly literate lyricism'. He has won national awards for both teaching and broadcasting, was a columnist for the Guardian newspaper for nine years and has written for every broadsheet newspaper in the UK, as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. Phil is also one of the most experienced, gifted and funniest public speakers in the UK.

Click here to listen in on Phil's podcast with Pivotal Education - How to Teach Literacy'.

Listen to the ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler' broadcast.

ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler Broadcast date: Thursday 19 July 2012

Click here to listen to Phil Beadle's interview with TalkSport - Listen in at approximately 29:09.

Click here to read Phil Beadle's article on How do we systematise this?'


Reviews

  1. A refreshingly honest and incredibly useful lens on the wonderful and sometimes weird world of the classroom. This is almost an anti-text, answering the questions you sometimes didn't want to answer and thinking the thoughts you weren't brave enough too. Simply inspiring.
  2. Fourteen years ago (ish) when we were training to teach, the recommended reading list consisted of one book. In fact, come to think of it, there may not have been a reading list at all. Either way, Proctor, Entwistle, Judge and McKenzie-Murdoch's -˜Learning to teach in the Primary Classroom' ended up pretty much unread on the shelf at the end of the year (we're aware that may say more about us than the book!). Looking at it on Amazon now, it apparently had sections on things like classroom organisation, planning, teaching strategies, assessment - not that that registered at the time. We may have dipped into it for an essay quote or two and it was probably a very comprehensive book, but the point is - we never bothered to find out. It seemed dry. Never once in a sticky classroom situation did we think, “I wonder what Proctor, Entwhistle et al have to say about that?”

    -˜Learning to teach in the primary classroom' never moulded the teachers the class of '99 were to become, put fire in our minds or inspired us to inspire. In those pre-Twitter days, we learned to teach mostly by working alongside people who had been there, done that and were happy to share their advice.

    Reading Phil Beadle's -˜How to teach' is like having a cuppa in the company of one of these staffroom sages. It covers the same subjects as you'd expect any other book on teaching to do, but the difference is that Phil Beadle speaks with a passion and liveliness that only comes from experience. And like an informal chat over a cup of tea, it's packed with wit, warmth, a professional irreverance, some controversial opinions and the odd use of choice language. In short, it's valuable advice from someone who knows his onions and in no way could it ever be called dry. This is a book that explains why it's important to sweat the small stuff, outlines the -˜Can You Tell What It Is Yet?' paper-cutting approach to lessons, suggests a completely crazy class discussion technique and takes inspiration from Simon Cowell and Terry Venables on praise (and, if the latter idea intrigues you, you might be interested in this, guv).

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking that -˜How to teach' is for trainee teachers and NQTs. It's not. The ideas, methods and advice Phil Beadle provides will provoke any teacher -” whatever their experience - to consider how they do things and, more importantly, how those things can be done better. In fact, it could be argued that it's more experienced teachers, settled in their ways, that need a Beadle shake-up more than the current open-minded generation of Twittering NQTs who glean ideas wherever they can find them (Ooh - just had an idea for a TV series-¦ The author pops his head out of unsuspecting teachers' cupboards and prods them out of their stubborn worksheet ways into being more creative. -˜Watch Out, Beadle's About', anyone?).

    -˜How to teach' is split into five main sections:
    - Management of Students
    - Knowledge and Understanding
    - Methods and Organisation
    - Lesson Planning
    - Assessment

    Like any book that attempts to condense such broad subjects into 200-odd pages, it won't all be relevant to your situation. Even so, you'll find that this a manual for creative, lively teaching, whatever your subject or key stage.

    In -˜How to teach', Phil Beadle does something that many books that “teach how to teach” don't do -” he passes on gems of advice that aren't based on dry notions, but the cut and thrust world of classroom reality. For example, in no other how-to-teach manual did we ever read that planning doesn't have to be full-blown for every lesson (admittedly, we've already our displayed our limited knowledge of how-to-teach manuals, but you know what we mean!). It's also seriously funny.

    You may not agree with all of the author's views (coming from a primary background, we'd say that lesson starters are more useful than he suggests - and don't get him started on Interactive Whiteboards!), but that's why -˜How to teach' is useful for more experienced teachers. We can pick the gems we like.

    We're not sure what books are on the reading lists of PGCE and BEd courses - no doubt all sorts of worthy tomes - but if -˜How to teach' isn't on them, it's a shame.

    It's the book we wish we'd read in 1999, but fourteen years on it's no less relevant to us now.

    http://www.sparkyteaching.com/creative/how-to-teach/
  3. Phil Beadle - both credible and subversive - knows what works in classrooms, and how to explain it to others in a supportive and reassuring style. In this book he ranges across the whole spectrum of the teacher's work, dealing first, at length, with the new recruit's number-one priority - management of students. Here, and throughout, there's welcome emphasis on respect for young people and on authority delivered with compassion and understanding. Along the way, Beadle also aims to entertain, and if the humour is a bit relentless, well, maybe that's a generation thing on my part and in any case you don't have to read the whole book in one go.
  4. There are a number of books that purport to get teachers through the first year or, indeed, get your students to 'shut up' enough so that you may perform your function as a teacher. I read a number of them in my first year teaching and not only did they all start to get a bit same-y, they were sadly unhelpful. Sadly, it seems, the first year is something of a trial by fire, whatever way you cut it. I read Beadle's book towards the end of my first year and it was startling for me. Beadle writes in a conversational, humorous way (avoiding boring puns, for the most part and sachrine sentimentality) and offers great insights into the emotional and intellectual trauma of surviving. He addresses the reader as someone who teaches, not someone who spends his time consulting.

    He urges the teacher to keep showing up. He recognises and in a way demands that there will be much failure and that it is the teacher's responsibility to emotionally deal with that. He asks that the teacher feel ok about themselves and thus make them better equipped to see and read the kids for what they are--confused, insecure hormonal people. His advice is prescriptive to the point that it can sometimes read like a script (stand here, make your voice sound like this), stern (as when he admonishes those who do not mark their books), to comical (I liked the teacher as meerkat bit). This is a book written by a teacher, but a teacher who is still a human being--one who remembers what it means to feel broken and sad and full of loathing for self and student. Beadles' prose is hopeful and comforting and filled with crazy tasks that sound outlandish, but are worth a try. I tried, for example, the argument tennis bit out; it was a shambles, but a mental shambles that left students and myself laughing and enjoying ourselves instead of loathing one another. It was a breakthrough.

    I particularly appreciate Beadles' own dissenting views when it comes to educational orthodoxy while still rehearsing the importance of standard things such as the 'starter'. This shows a mind with a great imagination and a generous spirit. Finally, the last pages are a true reaching out to any teacher to keep trying and to keep going. A plea to go the pub, go to the cinema, go out to the park and rediscover the energy that you need to participate in the greatest profession in the world. No, this book will not teach you to teach, but it will help you think larger and funnier and remind yourself constantly that it is going to get better.
  5. There was a certain reluctance in me to read a book called How to Teach over the Christmas holidays. At the end of a long term did I really want to read another book/article/blog about how my teaching could be so much better or even OFSTED approved if I made these adjustments and bought the author's 27 other books?
    In this case, I did. Phil Beadle's book is a delight. His no-nonsense and witty approach to some of the basics of classroom management is very much on the side of the teacher who is dealing with the real world.
    He begins with looking at how to deal with behaviour issues moves onto to the shape of lessons and considers approaches to encouraging classroom discussion (invoking Rolf Harris and one of his own students along the way). He has some interesting things to say about assessment and ends with an afterword that should be photocopied and put in every teacher's pigeonhole as a new year present.
    Mr Beadle is a something of a radical too. He has dissenting views on a number of topics including the starter and the plenary. Whether you agree or not, it's still worth a read. He doesn't have much to say about the drama classroom -” although he speaks of his admiration for the ability of drama teachers to manage a classroom -” but this is a treasure. Buy it; pass it around and put on the reading list of every NQT you know -” whatever their subject!
  6. I have been in education all my life.

    I learned first from my mother and father and, to some extent, from my three elder siblings. Subsequently, I attended schools from the age of three until my eighteenth year, college for three years and then commenced a somewhat chequered career as an educator. You would think that, by this ripe period of my middle three score years, I should know the craft-¦ and I thought I did until I read this publication, the Phil Beadle Bible.

    Life is a learning journey and I thrive on learning. Google is possibly one of the greatest innovations for the learner that history has seen. I no longer have to go to the library and borrow three or five or seven tomes that are probably already three years or more out of date, in order to research new material for a customised conference or keynote speech. I now boot the P.C. and consult my pal, Google and he fills my mind with new knowledge and understanding.

    In the dawning days of this academic year Google enhanced my learning on language and words. I learned fascinating things about the number of words that different categories of human beings probably know and I learned how to find out how many words I probably know, which would appear to be in the region of 33,850! In addition, I learned that, to some extent, the nature / nurture debate with regard to the genders has been resolved with the determination to different behaviours (given that there is a continuum along which we all fall) from the moment the xx chromosomes divide to form the xy. Yet I still did not know what I did not know.

    This book is hilarious. It is controversial and it is irreverent. It provokes and, at times, it shocks, but above all it teaches. It exudes information, ideas and tips - some of which are tried and tested over the ions of historic and emergent pedagogy and others which are new and amazingly enlightening and empowering. Like most professionals, I may not have used it all, I may have adapted and personalised strategies and techniques, yet the courage and wisdom of so much of `How To Teach ` would undoubtedly have honed my craft in ways that can only be imagined. And it is all in one, personal, publication that I can carry with me. Unlike my Google, it can be annotated and highlighted, pages can be held by post-its, passages can be underlined and items can be asterisked. It will become the teacher`s `best friend`, a source of support and wisdom as the practitioner develops and refines his or her skills and expertise in this great craft of teaching.
    How I wish that I had had the full extent of this knowledge when I was in the classroom!
  7. Some time ago Phil Beadle came to see me with the idea of writing a PhD. As with all such applicants, I asked him if he really didn`t have anything better to do with the next four or five years of his life. Luckily he did and this book is the result. It is much more readable than most PhDs since Phil`s writing is as engaging as his teaching. It is also very funny; there is a chuckle or a hoot-out-loud on every page - and how many books on education can you say that about?! As well as its supreme readability in presenting a cast of characters in situations all too well known to anyone familiar with what Phil calls `the surreal parallel universe of the classroom`, it is also remarkably practical. For the trainee and newly qualified teacher it will, like Everyman, go with them and be their guide. At the same time, like the best of PhDs rewritten for publication, it presents a complete picture of what English state schooling has become in recent years. Not only in secondary but also in primary schools, in further education colleges and even in universities, where in seminars and lectures I find myself using many of the tricks of the trade that Phil imparts to the overwhelmed and overseen pedagogue. In this way How to Teach presents not only an invaluable practical guide but is also a classic source for those seeking to understand the strange version of learning and teaching that our society has inflicted upon its young in its persistent obsession with what it calls `education`. `Why are we doing this?` asks Phil`s `poor, industrially alienated student`, accredited and assessed towards endlessly receding horizons from which any mirage of regular and rewarding employment has long vanished. If, as he admits, Phil is unable to answer this `not unreasonable question`, his book explains how the modernised and monitored, tested and target-driven culture of accumulating accreditation grinds on, `gentling the masses` as it selects a one dimensional minority while rejecting the majority who fall at every fence. But more than that, it shows how - beneath the weight of centralised inspection and audit and beyond the latest snake-oil solutions of `learning styles` or `left and right brain gym` derived from dubious neuro-mythologies - teachers still strive to retain and develop their expertise in helping students to understand themselves and the increasingly mad world we inhabit. Together with our students we can then learn from the past to alter our behaviour in the future. This critical transmission of culture down the generations is after all what institutionalised learning at all levels is supposed to be about. With insightful humour and practical wisdom, this book offers methods applicable in any classroom to regain that purpose and hope for education.
  8. `Beadle is of course a `one-off` charismatic and, so some would say, inimitable teacher. But here he puts together a rich array of delightful insights into the art of teaching in such a way that everybody will be able to take something to shape their own practice. It`s one for the staff library and a must-read for all new teachers.`
  9. It feels appropriate to be writing a quick review of Phil Beadle`s How to Teach on World Teachers` Day. One month into the school year, the new teachers to whom it is directed may already be feeling besieged and panicky, and old lags like this reviewer may have found that that giddy post-summer-holidays-everything-is-going-to-be-different-this-year feeling has dismally trickled away. The very title of Humphrey`s blog suggests that one of the key things that teachers have to combat is stress of different kinds: well, no better way to do this at the start of October than to treat yourself to Beadle`s book.

    First of all, behind the bland dull title (surely not the author`s own), this is a several-laughs-a-page read. It`s also hilariously cynical, brutally honest and helpfully practical about the profession. The chapter headings are also dull - `Management of Students`, `Methods and Organisation` and the like. But then you start reading. If you`re a new teacher, you`re delighted to hear a voice that isn`t ridden with educational jargon or management-speak. If you`ve been in the classroom for some years, you chuckle and nod, knowing that he`s so often simply right. In fact, you`ll nod so much your head might fall off. The book has been written for the British market, and bears the scars of his deep frustration with a system which has messed those teachers around for decades, but Irish teachers shouldn`t be complacent. Our inspection system might still be relatively benign, but things can change, and current economic and public pressures see Irish teachers under increasing externally-imposed pressure.

    In no particular order, here are some things I noticed, and nodded at:

    -The fact that all pupils have `special needs` (and teachers too).

    -Do not at any point say to a child `And you know I mean it.` If you say this, they will know you don`t.`

    -The difficulty in dealing with `a generation of children who are used to negotiating with their parents and who find this a profitable way of doing business. They will attempt to negotiate with you. Don`t.`

    -At the start of detention, `it is of utter import that you stay, at all points, the consummate Nazi`.

    -`All emotion is viral` - and how this has profound implications for classroom practice (including, apparently, meerkats). `An excited teacher makes for an excited class.`

    -`Praise has got to be judicious. And most of all it`s got to be descriptive.`
    -If you don`t know your stuff, you deserve to get a `summary spanking` from your pupils.

    -His advice to challenge homophobia ferociously : `educate them.`

    -`Kids` desire to subvert rules on presentation is a strange, self-defeating dance.`

    -The vital importance of this: `there really is no excuse for setting expectations other than the highest they can possibly be. Many teachers do not ever get anywhere near understanding the truth of this over the space of a whole career.`

    -Linked to this, the importance of extended writing for almost all subjects : `if you do not give them the opportunity to improve their written communication you will be selling them very short indeed.`

    -On interactive whiteboards: `one of the things the IWB`s ubiquity and tyranny has done is to promote double-boring, front-of-class teaching.`

    -Differentiation is a `duplicitous gimmick` and differentiating by learning style is `an utter crock of methane`.

    -`A kid`s language is very, very important to them ... it is what they are. You must respect it, explicitly.`

    -On marking: `Make no mistake: this is the most important thing you do as a teacher.` (and, unfortunately for English teachers, we have the heaviest burden of all subjects). Read his story in Chapter 5 about Cerise, and the tragedy (yes, really) of her unmarked book.

    -`And finally..`: a page at the end on how to remain human, and deal with the inevitable stress - `If you find you are in a situation where the demands on you are so intense that you feel yourself losing who you are, stop.`
    What drives this book is Phil Beadle`s passion about children and about teaching. He gives short shrift to anything that gets in the way of this. I enjoyed it too much to slow down and take any more notes. Just read it, and make the most of the great privilege we have as we do this great job. Phil Beadle has a wonderful website and is also on Twitter. See `How to Teach` on Amazon.
  10. Wish I had read Phil Beadle`s funny, intelligent little book before I had children. On the other hand, I`m glad I didn`t read it before I spent a year teaching in comprehensive schools because, if I had, I might have lasted as a teacher.

    The style will be familiar to anyone who has read Beadle`s comment pieces in The Guardian. He writes simply and luminously. You can pick up this book, read it in a couple of hours, and come away a better teacher - or a better parent, able to adapt Beadle`s principles to parenting, as well as understanding why good teachers do what they do.

    Those who, knowing Phil Beadle is a liberal leftie, seek to find here a teacher who will reinforce liberal views, do not know their man. Beadle knows that politics and our view of what education is for are one thing; the business of surviving in a school and doing something useful there is something

    else, and the two should never be confused. He is writing about the second, and is, as he points out, he is one of the few people to do so while still being a serving teacher.

    So his prescriptions often sound disconcertingly reactionary. `If you are not in control it`s all to cock, the kids will learn nothing, and what is more, they`ll have a deeply unpleasant experience, as they won`t feel at all safe,` he tells us.

    Some of the lessons to be learned from this premise are distinctly politically incorrect, but Beadle does not care, because they work. He advises sitting boys in groups with girls of slightly lower ability, because that way the boys become nurturing and supportive. And there is a very practical, and achingly funny, four-page disquisition on the correct way to handle gum-chewers in the classroom. It`s repulsive stuff, he tells us. `It gets everywhere - into carpets, onto your best teaching trousers, and often into Hermione, the Pre-Raphaelite kid`s, hair.` Forget exams, selection and standards and all the things politicians worry about: the real issue in schools is chewing gum, and Phil is in no doubt where he stands. He advocates zero tolerance.

    But how do you make that stick? `If Muhammad won`t go to the waste paper bin, then the bin must go to Muhammad.` Pick up the bin and take it to the gum-chewer`s desk. And after the stuff has been spat out, you have to use a highly technical expression: `All of it.` `To the untrained eye,` says this master of his trade, 11 a deposit of chewing gum has gone in the bin,` but the experienced professional knows the stratagems by which miscreants retain some of it in their mouths.

    He`s also very funny about what to do if you are forced to carry out the ultimate threat, and ring the parents. `Hallo, Mrs Thug. Dave`s been doing some fantastic work for me recently, but...`

    Ostensibly about classroom control, this book is really about how a teacher can help change lives. That`s why Beadle advises teachers to have the occasional school dinner with the children. `Given that school dinners are generally prepared by people who think cigarettes are a vegetable, a child wolfing it down enthusiastically with snaffling relish will tell you something very important about that child: they are not properly looked after.` As a parent, I realised one thing I`d got wrong as I read about what Beadle calls `praise envy`. If I`d read this book 20 years ago, then on one particular day I wouldn`t have lavishly praised one of my children just because she deserved it, almost forgetting the other one was there.

    Phil Beadle loves the job and the children he teaches, and this love shines through every sentence.
  11. Phil Beadle has a different outlook on teaching - quite simply his `how to` book deals with the things that real teachers need to know and do in order to take control of the classroom. Packed with excellent examples to inspire, engage and educate a new generation of teachers, we learn about what really matters in class, such as how to deal with chewing gum and how to deal with inner civil war in schools.

    If you wanna be a pet teacher, this is the book for you!
  12. This book will take you inside the mind of a teacher who first breaks all the rules of conventional wisdom, while at the same time providing new teachers with a solid and timely scaffold of pedagogy for the post-Ofsted age.

    You won`t find Phil`s rules for promoting good behaviour (and teacher sanity) in any ITT institution or DCSF classroom management manual. Reading Chapter 1 made me laugh out loud on a crowded train full of strangers, travelling - as it happens - from one August training institution to another. Laughter caused by the joy of recognition that here was a teachers` teacher who really understands and likes children, empathises with the pain of growing up, recognises the natural urge to challenge authority if given half a chance, and who intends to stay on top and the adult in charge.
    Although full of wit and humour, this is a deeply serious book written by a seasoned practitioner who has not migrated to academia, civil service or inspection, but remains in the urban classroom. No educational jargon, no tortuous theory - just sheer common sense and humanity. Any new teacher will tell you that it`s not subject knowledge or lesson planning that keeps you awake at night - it`s the sheer terror of being one against thirty or more often one against a few individuals who give you grief.

    Any rooky teacher would do well to internalise some of this wisdom - such as all children have `special needs`, the pointlessness of detentions and how to be assertive without being confrontational. One of Phil`s best tips - along with `don`t be too matey`, `appear relentlessly happy` and pile on the praise - is `We are dealing with a generation of children who are used to negotiating with their parent/s and who find this a profitable way of doing business. Don`t.` There`s an absence of panic about how difficult inner city children are to manage, just some common sense about how to stay one step ahead and the adult in the situation.

    Phil`s book provides novices with a practical toolkit, demystifying lesson planning and differentiation strategies, illustrating a comprehensive range of effective pupil grouping techniques designed to facilitate learning and subvert boredom. Old hands (and mentors to NQTs and BTs) will smirk at the irreverent swipes at current orthodoxy surrounding differentiation, gifted and talented provision and `learning styles`, assessment fads and political correctness, and welcome the emphasis on teaching as a craft, rather than an art or a science, that can be learned - but not without putting in time and hard graft. Phil also re-invents teaching as a performance art, rather an important message for new teachers bent on acquiring psychological presence and gravitas in the classroom - or `acquiring rep` as he would call it.

    The readability, wit and style of this book belie its seriousness as a guide to being the best teacher you can be. There are some great original and workable ideas in chapters on methods and organisation, lesson planning and assessment, the `third hidden objective`, the Harris Method and the many football analogies among them.

    The cast of urban kids cited in examples have almost a cartoon-like familiarity but amongst the humour there are some profound truths about the vulnerability of adolescence rarely addressed in teacher training, the need to feel safe and fear of loss. In many ways this is an old-fashioned book, a refreshing change from years of government strategy documents and wordy university research papers. Simple truths about what children really want and need - permanent teachers permanently present and books regularly marked - and the essential mundane tasks that underpin the nobler aspects of teaching - rigorous attention to the marking, presentation and display of children`s work, are articulated with passion and conviction, along with a welcome return to the primacy of and joy in subject knowledge.
  13. Just finished that book and it is absolutely fabulous, Phil`s take on teaching would make a lot of teachers cringe at his funny anecdotes and examples of practice but as a new teacher I found his humour very poignant and went a long way to explain the psychology behind teaching. Of course the book is written in such a way that teachers of all levels can gain something from it and not the `must do, teach my method` type of thing. I have learned a lot from the book and have also put into practice some of his methods which I found very effective. I would say well done to Phil for such an informative and inspirational piece of work.
  14. Not only does Phil manage to address some of the key issues regarding the philosophies and mechanics of teaching in today`s culture, but he does so in a humorous way which makes you want to continue reading the next chapter. A very enlightening text which every student teacher should read before embarking on their chosen career.
  15. Teaching is one of the most cognitively engaging, emotionally draining, and physically demanding occupations there is. In fact, it is such a complex job that one life-time is not enough to master it, which is what makes it such a wonderful career. No matter whether you are a beginning teacher or a 20-year veteran, one can always get better at it, and this book is a great resource for helping in that journey. Beginning teachers will find lots of useful advice about this incredibly hard job; practical, sure, but also realistic about what is achievable in typical classrooms. And even the grizzled classroom veteran will find something new, or at least a new way of looking at old things, here. And this book is funny. It is laugh-out-loud, embarrass-yourself-in-public funny. Every teacher should read it (in private).
  16. This book is full of practical tips delivered in an infectious, down-to-earth tone. Beadle does a great job of evaluating `good` professional practice in a humorous and practical manner. Having read this I feel much better equipped for my NQT year and I can`t wait to start putting some of Beadle`s knowledge and wisdom into practice. I would definitely recommend it.
  17. The best book about teaching ever written...is How to Teach by Phil Beadle, just out from Crown House Publishing.

    I wish I had read Phil Beadle`s funny, intelligent little book before I had children. On the other hand, I`m glad I didn`t read it before I spent a year teaching in comprehensive schools, because if I had, I might have lasted as a teacher.

    The style will be familiar to anyone who has read Phil`s comment pieces in the Guardian. He writes simply and luminously. You can pick up this book, read it in a couple of hours, and come away a better teacher - or a better parent, able to adapt Phil`s principles to parenting, as well as understanding why good teachers do what they do.

    Those who, knowing Phil Beadle is a liberal leftie, seek to find here a teacher who will reinforce liberal views, do not know their man. Beadle knows that politics and our view of what education is for are one thing; the business of surviving in a school and doing something useful there is something else, and the two should never be confused. He is writing about the second, and is, as he points out, one of the few people to do so while still being a serving teacher.

    So his prescriptions often sound disconcertingly reactionary. `If you are not in control it`s all to cock, the kids will learn nothing, and what is more, they`ll have a deeply unpleasant experience, as they won`t feel at all safe` he tells us.

    Some of the lessons to be learned from this premise are distinctly politically incorrect, but Phil does not care, because they work. He advises sitting boys in groups with girls of slightly lower ability, because that way the boys become nurturing and supportive. And there is a very practical, and achingly funny, four page disquisition on the correct way to handle gum-chewers in the classroom. It`s repulsive stuff, he tells us. `It gets everywhere - into carpets, onto your best teaching trousers, and often into Hermione, the Pre-Raphaelite kid`s hair.` Forget exams, selection and standards and all the things politicians worry about, the real issue in schools is chewing gum, and Phil is in no doubt where he stands. He advocates zero tolerance.

    But how do you make that stick? `If Mohammed won`t go to the waste paper bin, then the bin must go to Mohammed.` Pick up the bin and take it to the gum-chewer`s desk. And after the stuff has been spat out, you have to use a highly technical expression: `All of it.` `To the untrained eye` says this master of his trade `a deposit of chewing gum has gone in the bin` but the experienced professional knows the strategems by which miscreants retain some of it in their mouths.

    He`s also very funny about what to do if you are forced to carry out the ultimate threat, and ring the parents. `Hallo, Mrs Thug. Dave`s been doing some fantastic work for me recently, but...`

    Ostensibly about classroom control, this book is really about how a teacher can help change lives. That`s why Phil advises teachers to have the occasional school dinner with the children. `Given that school dinners are generally prepared by people who think cigarettes are a vegetable, a child wolfing it down enthusiastically with snaffling relish will tell you something very important about that child: they are not properly looked after.`As a parent, I realised one thing I`d got wrong as I read about what Phil calls `praise envy.` If I`d read this book twenty years ago, then on one particular day I wouldn`t have lavishly praised one of my children just because she deserved it, almost forgetting the other one was there.

    Phil Beadle loves the job and the children he teaches, and this love shines through every sentence.

    http://www.francisbeckett.co.uk

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  18. Phil Beadle is a legend. His appearance in Channel 4`s The Unteachables was one of the iconic moments of television during the Noughties: his Kung-Fu Punctuation exercises and teaching Macbeth to the cows not only showed the public that difficult subjects could be made fun and easily accessible for the most challenging pupils, but also that great teaching can make a real difference. His new book develops many of the ideas and techniques that he revealed so entertainingly in the TV show. As he says himself, it is not a survival guide but the hard-won wisdom of a practising teacher who confronts the reality of the classroom still. This book is packed full of practical advice from someone who has to deal with pupils chewing gum, eating crisps, not listening, drifting off task, and generally getting up to no good on a daily basis. The solutions he offers are both imaginative, sensible and, above all, WORKABLE. Even though I`ve been teaching for twenty years, I found huge chunks of this book really useful. Even when I disagreed with him - there`s a brilliant but controversial section on ICT in the book - I felt that I had to modify my teaching in the light of what he said. The advice isn`t comforting, it`s more of a wake-up call to the whole profession. To be honest, every teacher should read and act upon this book because there`s a gem on nearly every page.
  19. Here`s the book that tells you everything that traditional teacher training courses don`t - why `pens down` and `bags on the floor` may be the most important words you`ll ever utter, how to build the respect of a class, how to survive those challenging first few days (or years) as a fledgling teacher. Conveyed with astringent honest and directness, Phil Beadle`s classroom wisdom cuts through the jargon and psycho-babble of too many guides for teachers. His book is an intoxicating, often hilarious, and deeply wise reminder of why being a teacher can - if you get the essential ingredients right - be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
  20. The author has spent half a lifetime working with inner-city kids and has helped them discover an entirely new view of themselves. This book covers, in highly irreverent manner, most of the tricks of the trade, from the minutiae of how to manage difficult classes through to what teachers should be looking for when marking work. Phil Beadle is scathing about much of the guidance that comes down from on high and remains cheerfully creative and enthusiastic about teaching.
  21. This book is that rare thing in education. Readable. Hugely readable. And necessary. Hugely necessary. It`s also hip, sharp, sussed, funny and extremely practical - a scintillating, pedagogical romp, written by someone who knows. You want to be a `phenomenal` teacher? Not just `mediocre`? Well, this is indeed your bible.

    It`s a happy mix of the idealistic and the tough. There are no short cuts to success. It`s very hard graft. But get the basics right and the rest will follow. Get them wrong and you`re toast. Teaching, for Beadle, is `a performance art`. Dullness is not an option and his judgements are severe. Bore the kids and `it becomes their moral responsibility to misbehave`.

    Oo -er! How to prevent this? With fierce subject knowledge, much passion and Beadle`s Top Teaching Tips. These are many, detailed, inventive and practical.

    `Sweat the small stuff and the big stuff don`t happen`.
    Small stuff like `Turn up. Take the punches. Smile back.` There`s hardcore wisdom about seating plans and hands up and shutting up (you not them) and the horrors of detentions (yours not theirs) and the need to get tough on gum and crisps and pens and not to be scared to cultivate your inner sadist. The section on the gradational levels of confrontation is a belter. You need to develop an extensive repertoire - from the Pinter pause, the mono brow, the micro nod, the eye narrow raise, to the `extremely useful` borderline psychosis. Ho hum. He is Stalinist with marking and after reading about Cerise you will be too.
    He dismantles the Victorian classroom.
    `Desks are the enemies of learning`

    He dismantles the teacher lead discussion. Children turn off after about seven minutes. It took me years to get this. They learn in groups - and in permutations of groups. They learn by DOING things. He`s right! This section is again full of detailed, brilliantly classroom tactics. Apply these and `the classroom`s your playground.`You`re now ready to be yourself. Passionate, larky, creative, risky - and to see off Ofsted and their often dreary criteria.

    These exhausting rigours are all in the service of the greater good - to teach children. `Remember, it is for them you want to be a good teacher.` Beadle emphasises their fragility, their continuously threatened self-esteem, their daily humiliations. So many have had so much of this. They don`t want more in the classroom. Especially working class children - especially white working class boys. Beadle `gets` these often naughty boys and knows that education is their only weapon, their only break. The book respects children throughout without any tacky sentiment. `All children`, we are reminded, `lie`. And `all children are special needs.`

    Teaching, for Beadle is not a vocation for the idle, the craven, pansy liberals or, I`m afraid, north London social workers - or even Accrington Stanley fans. The rest of you should get it. This is the Knowledge. It`s necessary. It`s often hilarious. It works. For the new teacher it is indeed the Bible. And for old lags- I taught for 35 years and if I`d read this book I would have been so much better.
  22. You have to take your hat off to anyone who has spent half a lifetime firing the enthusiasm of inner city children - and survived to tell the tale.

    However, this kind of book brings out the teacher in you - and you find yourself scribbling crosses and exclamation marks as well as ticks.

    Top marks for common sense go to Phil Beadle`s observation: `A teacher without a seating plan is a dunce and is asking for it.` But his follow-up observation -`Having your desks set out in groups is the right way to organise your classroom` - is likely to make you scrawl an upper case `NO!`

    It brings back memories of misguided heads of department trying to impose this road to ruin on their colleagues as well as all those mind-numbing INSET days when you were told to get into groups and try to think of something to say. Some of the advice is spot on: `Look to find the person behind the behaviour - the person that you like, who made you laugh yesterday and who, you suspect, is having a tough time at the moment and speak to them.`

    An A star should also be awarded for the line, `The teacher you are going to be is a version of yourself if you were, to quote Lou Reed, `Someone else, someone good`.`

    And the sanctioning of laughter in the classroom for children who do not get too much at home, together with the attack on the `ubiquity and tyranny` of the interactive whiteboard, merits universal praise.

    A question mark, nevertheless, hangs over the author`s compulsion to address fellow professionals in kidspeak. We all know that adolescents revel in the reproductive and delight in the defecatory, favouring expressions like `I wouldn`t give a toss`, `dumb-arsed` and `I had lucked into a completely shit job` - and we are also familiar with their sloppy English, such as `off of`, `it`s` for `its` and `affects` for `effects`, but why affect this if your subject is supposed to be English?

    One of the exclamation marks was next to this classic recipe for ending a lesson, which is described as the `wandering plenary`: `Get the kids to walk aimlessly around the room. Every time they bump into a person they tell each other what they learnt.`

    We have all had moments like this, but they are not generally occasions which have been planned.
  23. An excellent reflective and comprehensive text I would strongly recommend to those entering the profession.
  24. This is overall an excellent resource for all teachers and workers within children`s services and tutors in colleges. Beadle brings the classroom and the role of working with children and young people alive. On occasions, as someone with extensive experience in inner city schools and specialist centres for the `difficult to teach`, I find some sections such as on `Corridors and Fights` p44, and `Knives` p46, a little too flippant regarding advice on developing problem areas. However, in the main, the ideas and advice are very good tips from an experienced and inspirational practitioner who has successfully used humour, excellent organisation and personal skills to stimulate learning. I would recommend this book to all prospective teachers, current staff needing fresh ideas and those who have become worn down by problems-¦buy this book and gain ideas and confidence to really enjoy teaching.
  25. Witty, sometimes shocking but always heartwarming, author Phil Beadle has managed to provide useful advice in a particularly addictive read. In describing some of the stressful and intimidating experiences he, and many other teachers go through, he makes impossible teaching situations less frightening and gives clever tips on how to engage pupils while understanding where they are coming from. This would be a useful read not only for new teachers but for all in education. Best of all, this is a book that will make you laugh.
  26. How to Teach-¦is quite simply the most fantastic and thoroughly realistic book for anyone embarking on a career in teaching. In fact, I would highly recommend it to anyone in the profession, however experienced they are! The book incorporates just about everything you need to know about current thinking, behaviour management, how to engage today`s pupils and most importantly gives a true picture of the reality of classroom practice. It is a thoroughly readable and insightful book written with great humour and crucially shows a total empathy with pupils and how to help them reach their full potential.
  27. Phil Beadle is always good value for money and this book is no exception. His approach is practical, funny and perceptive. A great read and manages to effortlessly impart wisdom.
  28. `Shocking stories, fruity language, stand-up humour, gruesome anecdotes, and politically-incorrect hints - Phil Beadle takes the `horrible histories` approach to the how-to-teach manual. The result is a funny, informative, practical and realistic book overflowing with memorable, cut-out-and-keep, easy-to-follow tips.
    Reading this book will be a whole lot more fun than your first teaching practice - and more valuable too. Beadle is the wise, but mischievous, old lag in the corner of the staffroom - pull up a chair and wonder at his stories of survival. They could save your teaching career.`
  29. Marks out of 10 - Upping the awe factor

    If the Government is serious about raising the standard of teaching it could do worse than give every teacher a copy of this book. Ostensibly for NQTs, How to Teach should be compulsory reading for all teachers. Then there should be a national exam to check its message has been understood before all teachers take an oath, written in blood and sworn on their payslip, that they will implement at least some of Beadle`s ideas.

    But the Government will not do this, of course, because it and its agencies are part of the problem and they rightly come in for some stick: `just plain stupid`, `a complete pile of cobblers`, `what they want is a series of drab identikit automatons delivering lessons in the same manner and naming this stupefying blandness `professionalism``, are just a few of Beadle`s spicier observations.

    And he is correct in his view that:
    - if you want to be a great teacher you have to find your own way and not slavishly follow someone else`s;
    - the four-part lesson is simplistic and formulaic;
    - no one has time to prepare a good starter to every lesson;
    - posting up learning objectives takes away any element of surprise or discovery;
    - interactive whiteboards are over-used and used badly;
    - presentation of work is central to kids` attitude to themselves and the subject;
    - literacy is the concern of the geography teacher just as much as the English teacher.

    And he is right to say most grade descriptors are deeply unhelpful but getting to grips with them is essential. However, the thing he is most right about is that `awe` and `wonder` need to find their way into every classroom.

    If all this sounds too sycophantic, there are also things I think he is wrong about.
    It is perverse to:
    - wage a war on gum and then say that you `couldn`t give a toss` if kids eat crisps in class;
    - say grades are pointless and patronising;
    - claim you should always put a comma before `but`;
    - say people who mark in green ink are just trying to be clever;
    - argue that differentiation by outcome is `a definition of low expectations`;
    - think for a millisecond that it could be a `brilliant idea` to scribble down homework in planners for the entire term ahead.

    But the loveliness of this very funny, irreverent and iconoclastic book is not that Beadle is always right. It is that it offers a clear-sighted and devastating critique of established orthodoxy and combines it with a host of excellent teaching ideas based on sound and rigorous practice. Beadle puts kids back at the heart of everything and challenges everyone who reads it to be better in the classroom.

    That is why every teacher should be given - or, failing that, should buy - a copy.

    The verdict 10/10.

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