In contrast to the idea that school improvement is driven by focusing on developing internal structures, Mark Enser emphasises that the key factor is the role of the teacher in the classroom. Within an easily read text the author discusses at length what he considers each teacher can do to make a difference within their own classroom. He underlines that key factors which have impacted negatively upon teacher confidence and effectiveness is that they have been swamped by a range of conflicting ideas and other advice on “best practice” to please outside observers
The author focuses on key issues to enable teachers to become more efficient by reducing workload, promoting a more balanced work/life balance and reducing burn out. He considers these strategies will improve effectiveness in seeking the opportunities to create “cultures of enthusiasm” within the classroom which have a positive impact on promoting more effective schools. Within this context, I enjoyed the emphasis on flexible lesson approaches to recap, input, application and feedback. This section will be particularly beneficial for teachers new to the classroom or those experiencing difficulties with “engagement” or behaviour for learning. The author discusses strategies to encourage the reader to extend their skills on a wide range of issues, including differentiation modelling, retrieval of learning, questioning, recap throughout, and developing schemes.
As the author emphasises, if leaders expect teachers to promote effective learning strategies of recap, input, etc, it is essential that they adopt and implement support systems and strategies which will promote positive behaviour within classrooms and around the school
Overall this is a very pragmatic and effective text for classroom teachers and support staff based on three key pillars for success, the lesson, the curriculum and the school's support systems. Well worth reading.