The Expert Teacher

Using pedagogical content knowledge to plan superb lessons

By: Darren Mead


£18.99

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Ebook


Size: 222 x 182mm

Pages : 336

ISBN : 9781781353110

Format: Paperback

Published: June 2019


In The Expert Teacher: Using pedagogical content knowledge to plan superb lessons, Darren Mead presents an engaging, research-informed view on which teaching strategies work best to induce long-term learning in students.

‘But what does this look like in the classroom?’

This question generally occurs to educators when they enquire into evidence-based approaches to teaching – and often they will get to the end of a teaching manual only to find that it remains unanswered.

In The Expert Teacher, however, Darren Mead provides many of the answers.

One of the most universally respected teachers in Britain, Darren has devoted his professional life to attaining pedagogical excellence. In this book he examines in depth what expert teachers do to help students progress their learning and strive for academic success.

He lays bare the concept of pedagogical content knowledge and eloquently explains how to utilise it to overcome student misconceptions, create contexts and connections in learning and teach difficult and important content – empowering educators to transform their sub­ject knowledge into multiple means of representing it in teachable ways.

The intention of The Expert Teacher is to help teachers to reflect on what and how they plan, how they teach and how to improvise around these plans, and to pave the way for deep professional thinking about best practice. It is split into two parts – entitled How is Your Subject Learned? and Expert Teaching and Learning – and provides educators with a variety of practical tools, illuminating examples and flexible frameworks geared to help them underpin and reinforce the very ampersand in expert teaching & learning.

A warning though: this book is not for teachers seeking quick fixes or superficial tricks. The Expert Teacher is for educators who are eager to experience the excitement of knowing and teaching their subject masterfully.

Suitable for all teachers in all settings.


Picture for author Darren Mead

Darren Mead

Darren Mead is an experienced science teacher whohas been described as the Jimi Hendrix of teaching' and perhaps the most intellectually engaged of all British teachers'. Based in the north-east of England, he shares his classroom-based interpretations of research through his highly respected blog, Sharing Pedagogical Purposes.


Reviews

  1. The Expert Teacher breaks down the essentials of -˜teacher thinking', while still challenging the way I think about teaching and learning. The book presents practical applications that I'm able to share with student teachers, as well as theoretical discussions I've been able to put to my class on curriculum. Most importantly, The Expert Teacher focuses on the act of teaching as the art of facilitating learning. It's also written in such a way that it uses the pedagogical content knowledge it advocates, which is pushing all of us - and I love it!
  2. In my work as a consultant adviser I frequently meet with teachers in schools and colleges who are experiencing difficulties with engagement, lesson planning, building a knowledge framework and self direction by learners.  Well I will now encourage them to buy Darren Mead's new book which offers practical in depth ideas and support.

    The author analyses in depth what “expert teachers” do to help, raise aspirations, motivate, develop determination, tenacity and resilience as learners progress and grow to attain success.  I particularly gained from the sections on planning useful and productive learning and the learning journey which provides
    connections and continuity for learning and a framework of progress for students.  He emphasises the need to support learners as they learn correct conception within a protective environment where humiliation and emotional bullying are replaced by a culture
    of accepting “incorrect answers” as part of the learning journey.

    The author uses his vast experience, and research by others which he has found inspirational, to extend the focus and knowledge base of readers.  Within this context I gained greatly from the sections on constructive alignment, developing skilled knowledge, spacing out practice, the role of metacognition and reflection and exemplar use within areas of learning of the pedagogical learning tool.    Many readers will find the sections on planning what to say and how to say it, engaging learners and maintaining interest, guiding learners to generate the knowledge themselves, and how to create a classroom climate of fairness and equality which encourages positive habits and behaviour very beneficial. The author  underlines how great teachers explain things well, show real enthusiasm, promote interest  by making new information relevant and structure explanations to avoid vagueness



    Throughout the book I was amazed by the author's in depth knowledge of outstanding  practice to extend the confidence, learning skills and tenacity of learners to improve and extend performance levels.  It is a text which, in some sections, requires patient reading and on occasions re-reading to ensure understanding of some strategies. However, as a resource,  it is a truly inspirational book which will be of immense benefit to teachers and learners to promote more effective learning and to address the new Ofsted framework    
  3. Synopsis: Darren Mead is an experienced science teacher who has been described as the Jimi Hendrix of teaching and perhaps the most intellectually engaged of all British teachers . Based in the north-east of England, he shares his classroom-based interpretations of research through his highly respected blog, Sharing Pedagogical Purposes.

    In The Expert Teacher: Using Pedagogical Content Knowledge to Plan Superb Lessons he lays bare the concept of pedagogical content knowledge and eloquently explains how to utilise it to overcome student misconceptions, create contexts and connections in learning and teach difficult and important content empowering educators to transform their sub-ject knowledge into multiple means of representing it in teachable ways.

    The intention of The Expert Teacher is to help classroom teachers to reflect on what and how they plan, how they teach and how to improvise around these plans, and to pave the way for deep professional thinking about best practice. It is split into two parts entitled How is Your Subject Learned? and Expert Teaching and Learning and provides educators with a variety of practical tools, illuminating examples and flexible frameworks geared to help them underpin and reinforce the very ampersand in expert teaching & learning.

    The Expert Teacher is not for teachers seeking quick fixes or superficial tricks, rather it is designed for educators who are eager to experience the excitement of knowing and teaching their subject masterfully.



    Critique: Thoughtful and thought-provoking, exceptionally insightful and -˜real world practical', thoroughly -˜user friendly' in organization and presentation, The Expert Teacher: Using Pedagogical Content Knowledge to Plan Superb Lessons is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and community library Teacher Education & Classroom Management instructional resource collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of student teachers, classroom educators, school administrators, academia, and non- specialist general readers.

    Click here to read the review on the Midwest Book Review website.
  4. Darren Mead brings his lifelong professional obsession with pedagogical perfection to life in an accessible and intelligent book which, much like the man himself, is unassuming and not beholden to fashionable ideas.
  5. Reading this book is like sitting in the theatre of the mind of one of the most nuanced, thoughtful and eclectic educators in the world. Darren manages to take everything you took for granted about planning lessons and help you realise that not only is it the most important part of the job, but it can always be done better.

    Unlike some other texts which espouse solely academic theory, The Expert Teacher is a true handbook that should be read, revisited, sticky-noted and kept on every teacher's person at all times. And while serious in intent, the book is peppered with anecdotes, metaphors and even the occasional simile which will have you laughing out loud.



    A truly wonderful companion for all those who believe that every child deserves a teacher who designs wonderful, purposeful and responsive learning experiences.
  6. The Expert Teacher is a book that was six years in the making. What was Darren Mead up to in that time you ask? What Darren has done is teach. Teach hundreds of students, work with numerous colleagues and hone his craft and his understanding to the point where he, like very few others, can genuinely claim the title of expert teacher.

    Rather than riding the wave of an ideology, or flip-flopping between standpoints depending on whether or not it secured a spot at the popular conferences of the day, Darren incorporates into this book a wide range of ideas, strategies and teaching approaches which make it abundantly clear that a search for -˜the' way to teach or the ultimate solution that can be neatly packaged will always be a futile one.

    It is evident that Darren is a thinker as well as a teacher, and this thinking and exploration of ideas leads to a considered and rational approach to all of the approaches discussed in the book. And crucially it is in the classroom that these ideas have proven their worth. As well as his own classroom, Darren has supported the development of teaching in a number of contexts - meaning that the approaches shared and explained here have a genuine track record of application and success with real students, in real classrooms, in real schools and over a long period of time. In education of late we seem to have become stuck in a cycle of build 'em up and knock 'em down, with ideas such as growth mindset championed by large numbers of people only for them to be ridiculed shortly after. And often by the very same voices. In this book, however, are ideas that have been used over time and reviewed and renewed as and when it was clear that to do so would have a clear and genuine impact on students' learning.

    Another real strength of The Expert Teacher is its accessibility. Developing educators can often find the language of educational writing a barrier to the ideas being expressed and be turned off; here, however, we have a book written by someone who has no desire to show us how clever they are or to stray into academia at the expense of classroom practice. Darren Mead is able to encapsulate a number of ideas that cross dichotomies and manages to bring them together in a straightforward, insightful and, ultimately, readable way.

    I've not experienced what Darren refers to as his -˜terrible' guitar playing, but if this book is even a slight indication of the way that he approaches his work in the classroom then I have no doubts that he is very much an expert teacher.
  7. The Expert Teacher is a wide-ranging and erudite volume on what it means not just to know the content of our subject, but to understand how to teach our subject. It successfully combines links to academic research with a distillation of both Darren's and others' years of practice and collaboration, and ultimately provides a framework for improvement for all teachers.

    Through the lens of pedagogical content knowledge, we are taken through our students' learning journey and their misconceptions to the destination where the important knowledge and skills have been embedded and become part of their constitution. The distinction of the expert teacher from the novice teacher is humanely explored too, making it clear that - just as our students have a hard path to follow - all teachers must accept the hard graft required to gain expertise in our chosen profession.



    This book will prove to be thought-provoking and challenging, and is worth careful contemplation and regular revisiting.
  8. Darren Mead has always used a vast evidence base to craft learning experiences for his students. In The Expert Teacher he distils and explains what the educational community has learned to date, and effectively translates it into simple-to-implement actions.

    Sometimes irreverent, always sage, he exposes and explores the true complexity of quality teaching, while also showing how to tweak existing practice (without increasing workload!). He provides a plethora of tools to aid this process, and helps us to decide when and how to use them at different stages of the learning process.

    Darren reveals why expert teaching is an intellectually, emotionally and logistically demanding endeavour, and why becoming an expert in this profession requires extraordinary social sensitivity, real-time assessment-led responsiveness and subject pedagogical expertise. It invigorates the intellectual task of
    creating balance between planning for the learner and the learning, and offers a one-stop repository for stimulating professional dialogue around the challenges of expert teaching and learning. Misguided, non-evidence-based, received wisdom gets short shrift and is eruditely debunked.



    The Expert Teacher raises the bar of expectation for teachers, and brings clarity of insight to the canon of educational research as well as to the fields of sociology and psychology. It is perfect for those who wish to continue to hone their craft and move themselves and others to the highest levels of professionalism.
  9. The Expert Teacher is a unique book which offers both a synthesis of educational research and a practical insight into what works in the classroom. More importantly it is borne out of years of hard-won experience and trial and error.

    I have been lucky enough to work alongside Darren Mead for many years - and during my rounds of classrooms I would frequently stop, fascinated, to watch Darren in action. His ability to break down and reflect on the learning process and how best to teach his students is extraordinary. It is these insights, along with the wisdom attained over a career spent reading and researching about teaching and learning, that have been captured in The Expert Teacher. His emphasis on pedagogical content knowledge and the obstacles that get in the way of students' learning is fundamental. And in an era in which subject leaders have become mired in data analysis and performance tables, this represents a refreshing reminder of excellent practice.



    Essential reading for those teachers, subject leaders and senior leaders in education who want to go beyond the quick fix and tips and tricks and take their first steps to truly understanding what mastery looks like in practice.
  10. Darren Mead's tour de force, The Expert Teacher, illuminates the complex business of teaching and learning with absolute clarity - and is a must-read for teachers aiming to develop a real professionalism in the classroom.

    Painstakingly researched, the book equips the reader with a whole armoury of structuring tools and frameworks, all made accessible by Darren's well-chosen and illuminating applications and anecdotes. The book's content and message is also well-balanced, with its nourishing imperative to think deeply and rigorously about the journey of knowledge acquisition wisely countered by its permissive advocacy of tinkering with -˜the exquisite lesson plan' mid flow if and when it simply isn't working. A further energy within this wonderful book is a vein of scurrilous and irreverent humour, which provides welcome - and nearly always well-judged - colour.

    The moment has definitely arrived for this book to make a significant contribution to the evolution of the teaching profession.
  11. To observe an expert teacher can be a confounding experience for some: -˜The students just got it', -˜He really has their behaviour under control', -˜I could never teach like her!' In The Expert Teacher, Darren Mead reminds us that these outcomes and expert teacher behaviours - and the planning of superb lessons - can be learned, but require careful consideration of the content to be studied: how it is best sequenced, taught and learned, and its relative conceptual importance. This is the tacit knowledge of the expert, a maestro. To possess this knowledge is remarkable enough; to be able to communicate it is a gift - though not to the possessor, but to those who they teach.



    Rimsky-Korsakov gave us this gift in his teachings and writings on the orchestra. In The Expert Teacher, Darren Mead gives teachers that same gift.
  12. I am not sure I have ever read a sharper book on instruction than The Expert Teacher, written by a master classroom educator with remarkable depth of knowledge in educational research.

    The book offers a powerful fusion of hands-on experience and underpinning research, and I love the fierce attention to detail in Darren's analysis of exactly what makes a lesson succeed in terms of student understanding. Darren achieves this not just by suggesting practices such as analogies, examples,
    diagrams and confronting misconceptions, but also by teasing apart exactly what makes those practices effective or not.



    I have spent over 40 years in education considering what makes a beautiful lesson, and I still found myself surprised and enlightened by what I encountered on almost every page. It's hard to imagine any teacher reading this book without becoming profoundly more intentional in building and leading effective lessons.

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