Tom Miller
The big book of independent thinking (BBIL) has a cover which loudly proclaims "do things no one does or do things everyone does in a way no one does" so at first sight writing a book about teaching and learning seems a little paradoxical. Closer inspection reveals, however, that this is the book to give you the confidence to live their maxim.

The first big plus is that this is not one man's vision crystallised over several lunches and fired in the cauldron of their own utterly personal experience. It is written by eight very different people from eight very different backgrounds and eight very different styles. This is all threaded together by the ever entertaining and insightful Ian Gilbert who could make Grimsby fish docks sound interesting (and indeed has).

The second big plus is that this is the proof needed to do those valid, creditable tweaks to your classroom practice that are just a little too wacky for the status quo. A feel that each and every one of these writers has faced down the inevitable doubters, curmudgeons and doom mongers (just like the ones that live in your staffroom) runs through every chapter with a breath of fresh air.

And every one of these writers has the moral high ground over any query your colleagues might have. They are convincing, and eloquently so, about enhancing the experience for the kids in your school. Some write brilliant technical summaries of neurology that has become a main stay of the very best practice. Others save you the trouble of reading the dreary core business-world texts that offer great concepts if you can stay awake long enough to find them.

But what marks out BBIL are the articles that simply shout the joy of teaching and making a difference. Some will say they shout too loudly but then this book, or any challenge to the we've-always-done-it-this-way crowd, is not for them. They are very, very convincing " I booked one author to speak to my students on the strength of his article. It is the book for people who want to change and who can change. For people who want their classroom to be a place of even better engagement and learning then this Big Book could be the catalyst for the great leap forward.
Guest | 08/11/2006 00:00
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