Improving Classroom Performance

Spoon feed no more, practical applications for effective teaching and learning

By: Steve Garnett , Stephen Chapman , Alan Jervis


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 196mm x 264mm
Pages : 200
ISBN : 9781845906948
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2011

Dragonfly Training was founded in 1999 and has established an excellent reputation internationally for providing inspiring, realistic and practical training courses for teachers. In this, their first book, three of its top trainers provide some of the very best hands-on approaches to teaching.

Follow Dragonfly's six key principles and:

  • Promote effective starters and plenaries
  • Offer constant reinforcement as a means of embedding knowledge and providing ongoing revision
  • Introduce a variety of ideas
  • Do first, teach after – whenever possible
  • Encourage students to create teaching materials themselves
  • Demonstrate and articulate success by modelling the desired outcomes

This book provides practical strategies that can be used by most teachers, in most subjects, most of the time and offers insights and ideas to engage, inspire and motivate including:

  • How you present yourself in the classroom
  • Rules, routines and rituals for establishing effective learning patterns
  • Making your classroom the one every student wants to be in
  • Using ICT to the maximum

Click here to visit Dragonfly Training's website.

Picture for author Steve Garnett

Steve Garnett

Steve Garnett delivers inspirational, practical and highly realistic teaching- and learning-related INSET. He travels extensively around the UK, as well as globally, having delivered training to over 15,000 teachers in over 30 countries, extending to South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and south-east Asia.

Picture for author Stephen Chapman

Stephen Chapman

Stephen Chapman is the Managing Director of Dragonfly Training Ltd and has delivered CPD at hundreds of schools in the UK and internationally. Formerly an innovative history teacher, Stephen has a proven track record of success in schools in London, Nairobi and The Bahamas.

As with so much in life a book is a fantastic start but if you want to take things further then it's probably best to experience it for yourself. Improving Classroom Performance has been delivered as a training day to hundreds of schools.

Each of the three authors can deliver this training day, and you can be sure that it will conform to the Dragonfly promise of being totally practical, and delivered in a hands-on and entertaining manner.

To book this course as an in school training session please contact Stephen Chapman, MD Dragonfly Training at or visit for further references. You may even like to call him on +44 (0) 29 2071 1787.

Picture for author Alan Jervis

Alan Jervis

Alan Jervis taught in seven different high schools over a period of more than 28 years. He has delivered over 600 courses to teachers in Britain on brain based learning, delivering outstanding lessons, thinking skills, emotional intelligence and Assessment for Learning. He has also trained teachers in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.


  1. With the increasing emphasis by Ofsted and Estyn on improving engagement, behaviour, and achievement within schools, colleges and private providers, this book is a must buy resource. It is particularly helpful on key skills to improve engagement and management of individuals and groups, and tools of the trade to stimulate motivate and engagement.
  2. `Improving Classroom Performance` is a veritable treasure trove of practical tips for teachers of all ages. The section on marking is invaluable and the 'forty five teaching ideas' should be eaten, swallowed and digested by all practitioners! A thoroughly useful book with ideas based on sound educational principles particularly useful for those of us still wrestling with differentiation and strategies for students who learn differently. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
  3. With experience as teachers, observers and trainers, Stephen Chapman, Steve Garnett and Alan Jervis of Dragonfly Training have produced a timely treasure chest of a book which will inspire new teachers as well as reinvigorate more experienced ones who are looking for fresh ideas free of jargon. This is a handbook for bringing the best out of teachers and learners alike. With strategies that apply across most subjects, along with insights into educational research that directly impacts on classrooms, the prime beneficiaries from every idea on every page will be the learners.

    Divided into four parts, the book looks first at six key principles of effective teaching, offering practical advice on how to keep lessons consistently successful. There is discussion of effective lesson structures, including Dragonflys famousda Vinci moment. Time-tried methods that work are reinforced, while other less effective strategies are put under the microscope. Inevitable daily difficulties are tackled honestly on acan do premise: with sound principles in place the learning conversation has a much improved chance of success.

    Part 2,At the Chalkface, takes a careful look at the details of daily classroom teaching, including thebasics that a new teacher is working on to become second nature (eyes, voice, body language, behaviour management, etc.), but providing a list for more experienced teachers to check back to key principles. With sections on making your teaching life easier (the teacher doing less so the learner does more), marking, rewards and using ICT to the maximum, there is good up-to-date advice on a mixture of lasting favourites and newer questions: Are there different ways of marking? Am I praising students in the best possible way? How else could I arrange the classroom? Is my room aclassroom for learning?

    The final part,The A to Z of Teaching, contains twenty-six topics to help teachers. Brief discussions are followed by useful web links for further research. From Assessment for Learning to ZZZZZZ (toxic sleep), from Virtual Learning Environments to Discipline, the topics and links are many and varied and will sit comfortably for reference alongside any teachers computer.

    This is a very welcome addition to modern books on teaching techniques. An Aladdins Cave of practical ideas that work, it will be of interest to anyone who is dedicated to successful classrooms where learners are inspired to learn more and teachers are supported to reflect on and develop their skills. Open Sesame!
  4. This book is full of hands-on and immediately practical ideas that can really help improve learning” suitable for a teacher straight out of college or the experienced old hand. The best thing is that you can see these ideas working in almost any classroom and for different age groups. Teachers will love it because they can use these the very next day. If I was still a head at a school I would make sure all my teachers had a copy in their classroom!
  5. I really like books that offer practical strategies and that is exactly what this book does. I also like books that you can dip in and out of, and this is also achieved. I have been fortunate to attend courses run by Stephen Chapman and Alan Jervis and I think this book captures the essence of their training” fun, engaging activities, supported with no-frills educational thinking and lots and lots of try now tasks.

    I really liked the approach ofdo first, teach after to get the learners going on something, then to unpick the thinking later. I also very much liked the idea that the learners were producing the resources for the teacher and that the activities are easy to set up. You read about it before the lesson and can have it prepared quickly. The activities work” Ive already tried many of them” and the feedback from classes is positive.

    As well as the practical activities, the other parts of the book are very useful. Part 2,At the Chalkface is great for staff training” Ive used it with NQTs and for training teachers. Part 1 on key principles is educationally sound without being overblown. It condenses current thinking into something manageable for the busy teacher. The best handbook for busy classroom practitioners since The Teachers Toolkit by Paul Ginnis.

    This book is fun” you cant say that about much educational material. I hope some politicians and policy makers look at it and, instead of a curriculum forced on learners because it vaguely recalls their dewy-eyed memories of a public school education, they shape a curriculum which is about engagement.
  6. How to avoidbruised knee syndrome, harness the latest technologies and appeal to teachers in all stages of their career” its all here. The authors are practising teachers and can claim to have led training for over 10,000 teachers, ours included. In Part 1 they lead the reader through six key principles of effective teaching and learning. Part 2,At the Chalkface, alone would transform the classroom climate of any teacher in their early years in the profession.

    The largest part of the book is the comprehensibleTools of the Trade. Forty-five practical strategies are offered to chunk learning into twenty minutes of challenge and engagement. These applications are differentiated, demonstrate progress and would doubtless satisfy an Ofsted inspector. Other suggested approaches would stimulate interest and enthusiasm for students for longer periods of learning, such as double lessons on wet and windy afternoons.

    The structure of the book is user-friendly for beginning teachers as well as more experienced professionals who want to take a fresh look at their practice. The creative and imaginative tips are accompanied by clear illustrations and practical examples from different areas of the curriculum. In addition it is an ideal resource for staff professional learning sessions.

    Improving Classroom Performance: Practical Applications for Effective Teaching and Learning does what it says on the tin. All school departments should have a copy.
  7. I really enjoyed reading this and am pleased to see it in type” having been on several Dragonfly courses my notes have never done justice to all the ideas. This book either reminds me of some Id forgotten or clarifies how to do them. Ive used several activities for a couple of years now, especiallySeven Monkeys to great effect.
  8. I found the book really refreshing. It would be a good resource for any classroom teacher. The book is easy reading but at the same time tackles real classroom situations and gives helpful practitioner advice.
  9. Three heads are usually better than one, and when they belong to three expert trainers in the art of teaching, the resulting compendium is likely to be very good indeed. This book does not disappoint. Written by teachers, for teachers, it eschews theory and rigid rules for lesson planning in favour of sure-fire ways of engaging interest, fostering active involvement by students and reinforcing learning. The potential of new technologies is acknowledged, but some of the ideas are delightfully low-tech, and the insistence on a variety of approaches rings true. Whatever the subject and age group you teach, however experienced or inexperienced you are, and whatever your pupils are like, there are suggestions in this book which could invigorate your teaching.

    Ideally read cover to cover, but the time-pressed teacher can also dip into the Tools of the Trade section for adaptable ideas. Equally welcome are the sixteen marking strategies, all of them educationally valid, but time-saving too.

    I will certainly be ordering multiple copies of this book for use in staff development, and wholly recommend it. It is a timely reminder of how teaching and learning can be both productive and fun.
  10. Forget the spoon-feeding and bring back the creativity into teaching and learning. This is the message that runs through this excellent book for teachers, alongside practical ideas that will strike a welcome chord with new and experienced teachers alike.

    In an easy-to-read layout, the authors explain the key principles that underpin successful and stimulating teaching, such as the benefits of a starter and plenary to catch pupils interest when their attention span is at its peak.At the Chalkface offers clear and simple ways to improve your teaching, including how to make your teaching voice really work for you in the classroom, using IWBs and VLEs to good effect and how to make your classroom the place every student wants to be in. The forty-fiveTools of the Trade are what every teacher needs to know” ideas that will bring the joy back into teaching and allow teachers to inspire and stimulate their students.

    The authors bring their collective wealth of classroom experience to this excellent collection of practical and sure-fire strategies for improving the teaching and learning experience. If you have only one teaching manual on your desk, this is the one.

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