The Working Class is more than a book: it is a treasury. This is one of the best books I have come across regarding current issues in education. It made me stop and think, and gave me the historical background knowledge to question current policy and practice, and to transform my teaching. It challenged my own teaching philosophy and, as a result of reading it, I have gone back into the classroom with a renewed and more informed outlook. It has impacted everything; from my approach to curriculum, to inclusion, to pedagogy, to ethos, and to vision.
The words of Dave Whitaker remind me on a daily basis to be flexibly consistent with children, making sure -˜the spanner fits the nut' and not the other way round. Dr McFall inspired me to create a nature table in my setting and now I have my own -˜enchanted classroom' full of -˜co-wonderers' admiring the beauty of nature, excitedly entering the school with pockets full of leaves. Paul Dix inspired me to provide our children with more rich, first-hand experiences and to build stronger, more enriching partnerships with parents. Hywel Roberts constantly inspires me to take risks and make learning truly relevant and child led.
The book shines a light on past and present misconceptions regarding education and class in the UK, challenging readers to transform the future. This unique collection of over 40 contributors, from the campaigner to the educator to the researcher, offers a new challenge within every unfolding chapter.
Most importantly, it has impacted my own classroom practice by firstly altering my own teaching philosophy, which in turn has refreshed my practice and the decisions I make on a daily basis. I have gained inspiration to bring life, sound and real-life experiences to the curriculum, and to develop stronger, more positive relationships with children, considering seemingly -˜hidden' barriers to learning. I have developed creative spaces of wonder in my classroom and I am bolder in questioning current policy and practice. And my pupils? They enter our learning space as co-wonderers knowing that they are truly cared for and trusted, that we are not afraid to take risks together, and that their voice will not only be heard, but listened to. The recalibration of my pedagogy offers them more exciting and skilled futures, equipping them with the creative skills they need in order to thrive.
If you wish to transform the positive outcomes for our children, are an aspirational practitioner or feel that change is required in the UK, then this treasury of hope is for you. And it needs to be sitting within each school and university setting so that we can continue to spread this hope for the future.
A true masterpiece.