Product reviews for Big Ideas in Education

Russell Dwyer, Head Teacher, St Thomas Community Primary School
Big Ideas in Education provides a clear and concise analysis of a number of big ideas that are central to education. These ideas are not new; indeed many of them have been there for so long they no longer seem like -˜ideas' as such but rather fundamental components of education. However, this is intentional, as Russell wishes to refresh these ideas in our mindset and encourage us to explore and reflect on them anew. This is something he does expertly throughout the book; he explains their relevance and history, before moving on to illustrate the debate and research surrounding them, then conclude with a summary highlighting why the idea is important and how you can reflect upon it. This clear structure takes you on a journey of enlightenment, engagement and reflection through each chapter.

In sharing his views on a number of big ideas in education, it is apparent that Russell acts as the voice of reason in what are often polarised debates. He rightly suggests that we should adopt a more balanced view of education; not see things as black and white but recognise that different approaches should be used in different situations to ensure children have the best learning experiences. This is a strength of the book and represents the author as an honest and realistic individual who truly understands the real world of education.

A clear theme of the book is reflection. From the very outset, through his imaginary competition to vote for the greatest idea in the history of education, Russell encourages the reader to reflect on their own views and practices and continues to do so until the final page. His clear structure makes Big Ideas in Education an easily accessible book which provides a great starting point for individuals looking to reflect on many core themes in their practice and consider further personal research.

In his conclusion, Russell suggests that if Big Ideas in Education, -˜prompts you to try out some fresh (or even old) ideas, re-examine your thinking and practice, then it will achieve its purpose.' This is exactly what the book does. It explains clearly each big idea in turn, unpicking its history and debate, before summarising and suggesting opportunities for reflection and action. For anyone working in education, looking to dip their toe into educational research and reflection, this is an excellent book to start with.
Guest | 29/04/2016 01:00
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