The Teacher's Toolkit

Raise classroom achievement with strategies for every learner

By: Paul Ginnis


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 297mm x 210mm
Pages : 376
ISBN : 9781899836765
Format: Paperback
Published: June 2001

Packed with practical classroom strategies, this teacher’s resource will enable you to:

  • meet the needs of different learning styles
  • stimulate your own creativity
  • add spice to your teaching
  • challenge the gifted - and the disruptive!

Whatever subject you teach, this comprehensive volume will help you to develop thinking skills in your students; promote citizenship and an understanding of democracy; fine-tune study skills and help students acquire the attitude and skills for true independence. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology and sociology The Teacher’s Toolkit provides an overview of recent thinking innovations in teaching and presents over fifty learning techniques for all subjects and age groups, with dozens of practical ideas for managing group work, tackling behavioural issues and promoting personal responsibility. It also presents tools for checking your teaching skills - from lesson planning to performance management.

Picture for author Paul Ginnis

Paul Ginnis

Paul was one of the UK's oldest-established independent trainers, having started down that path in 1992. He worked in over 4500 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK and in 70 or so international schools in the Middle East, Far East, North and South America, The Caribbean and Europe. He also supported the introduction of a new Junior Cycle curriculum in Ireland. All his ideas were forged at the chalkface but they were inspired by some of the world's leading educational thinkers.

First and foremost, Paul was a practitioner (having started his teaching career in 1979), not a researcher or academic. He sought to model the way in which current teaching imperatives and modern learning insights could be translated into workable classroom strategies, and to achieve that with a bit of fun along the way.

Even in an aggressive educational world driven by political, inspection and PISA priorities, he believed that it was possible to proceed with integrity, courage and wisdom. To do so, teachers needed a few truths about the learning process to guide their creative planning and a good number of proven strategies to set them on their way. From his books and workshops Paul wanted people to take away teaching ideas that would turn passive pupils into active students and consequently result in deep learning, modern skills, essential dispositions, good progress and great results.

Of his many publications, The Teacher's Toolkit is the most well-known, having been reprinted 15 times and translated into Arabic, Indonesian, Hungarian, Slovenian and Spanish. It is one of the UK's bestselling books for teachers and is required reading on most teacher training courses.

Paul died suddenly on 30th January 2015. He had three grown-up children and was a Stoke City FC season ticket holder and a self-confessed vinyl junkie. He was also a driver and roadie for The Zombies on their 2009 Odessey and Oracle' national tour - making his adolescent rock n' roll dream come true! He lived near Stoke-on Trent with his wife Sharon, two cats, one dog and a jukebox.


  1. Drawing on neuroscience, psychology and sociology The Teacher's Toolkit provides an overview of recent thinking innovations in teaching and presents over fifty learning techniques for all subjects and age groups. It contains dozens of practical ideas for managing group work, tackling behavioural issues and promoting personal responsibility.
  2. The sub title of this large format paperback manual is, "Raise Classroom Achievement with Strategies for Every Learner"; it encapsulates the aim of this A4 350 page book exactly. Split into five key sections it delivers everything you need to know about the essential tools necessary for effective classroom style learning. To be successful at teaching, whatever the subject and to whatever age range, it's important to understand the differences between individuals' learning abilities and styles. This manual is packed with practical classroom strategies to enable the teacher to meet the different learning styles, stimulate creativity, add a little spice to the learning process and cope with both the gifted and the disruptive. The Teacher's Toolkit provides fifty varied learning techniques, practical ideas for managing group work and promoting personal responsibility; six essential ways of operating in the classroom and tools for lesson planning to performance management.
  3. If you are involved with learners of any age, this is a resource that will be relevant and applicable to you.

    If you are just beginning your career or you are an old hand interested in why some kids don't ever seem to get the message while others very quickly get on your wavelength, then there is challenge and help here. If you are grappling with -˜Learning to Learn', -˜Citizenship' and -˜Inclusion' then The Teacher's Toolkit will be a rewarding read.

    Paul Ginnis begins by looking at how an why we learn, by addressing information processing, personality, sensory modalities environment, social interaction, intelligence and cerebral geography. As I read this section I realised that the extent to which you rely on your preferred teaching style can exclude a significant percentage of learners. The author also indicates that the way some schools and classrooms are organised can alienate pupils by failing to build their self-esteem.

    However, Paul Ginnis doesn't cut the wheels from under you without giving you the tools to repair the damage. For each piece of theory about learning he includes a numerical reference to a teaching strategy outlined in Section 2, -˜Tools for teaching and learning'. There are 50 tools -˜designed to do the best for all students irrespective of learning style, background and previous attainment, to support them in becoming socially skilled, independent thinkers with a strong sense of personal and collective responsibility'.

    These tools are meant as examples which you can adapt and develop to turn the principles of learning theory into effective classroom practice. Beware, though, you may have to step out of your preferred teaching style and surrender some of the responsibility for learning to your students.
  4. When nurses move forward in their careers, teaching becomes a vital element and for some a career pathway. Nursing assessors, mentors and practice educator courses offer credits at post graduate level and make the assumption that these students have a basic educational knowledge that will facilitate learning. However this is not always the case, leaving some students with a learning curve that appears insurmountable. In this instance this book will provide support and guidance and will be recommended.
  5. In a world where targets and league tables are all important, teachers often become demoralised and removed from the joy of teaching. Forgetting what it felt like to be so enthused and experimental in their early years in the classroom.

    But help is at hand with The Teacher's Toolkit. This book, with its easy-to-use format and plethora of great ideas will inspire anew and bring back that long lost sense of greater purpose. A real tonic!
  6. The book has already been helpful for my teaching. I like very much the ideas in section one on the needs of learners and learning styles. A comprehensive and clear summary of this is supplied in this section. I teach on teacher training courses and my students are always looking for interesting ways to motivate students and liven up learning so this book will be helpful for that. I like the way the activities are presented - nice and short and clear instructions so that teachers can just lift them off the shelf so to speak. I will be recommending this book to my students as essential reading.
  7. The Teachers Toolkit has excellent references to basic teaching methods and strategies, In my opinion this book is ideal for the 7302, the way the book is presented is beneficial to trainee lecturers as the information is not intense and is a good introduction to teaching.
  8. This is one of those rare and precious books which has that uncanny knack of revealing explicitly to you things about teaching which you knew instinctively all along but had never thought about so clearly.
  9. Paul Ginnis has constructed a toolkit for teachers which is the finished article. Well informed, well researched and well written, this is a book which every teacher in the land should get their hands on.
  10. This is not another tedious tome for teachers. In The Teacher's Toolkit Paul Ginnis inspires with his own excitement in drawing out the potential of that most stunning of creatures, the human animal.
  11. There should be a copy of The Teacher's Toolkit in every curriculum area of the school. The problem will be finding it - because it won't be left on the shelf! It puts learning and teaching where it should be - at the top of the school agenda. There are so many ways to use it. Any teacher wishing to increase her repertoire of teaching strategies will be spoiled for choice! Buy it, explore it and take some risks.
  12. I only use a toolkit if l am setting up new furniture or if something goes wrong. The Teacher's Toolkit is ideal for both situations - it provides excellent advice to new teachers looking to develop a repertoire of classroom strategies. It also provides fresh ideas to use on classes which need invigorating.

    It focuses on how to achieve effective learning and begins with how the brain works and styles of learning. Page upon page of practical techniques follow, with suggestions for application across the curriculum. It is easy to be intimidated by the mass of ideas and I would suggest a pick and mix approach.

    Don't wait for something to go wrong. Use the strategies now, as prevention is better than cure.
  13. A book that does exactly what it says on the cover! It is written in a practical, down-to-earth, teacher friendly way that cannot fail to spark enthusiasm in even the most sceptical, overworked teacher. The book moves seamlessly between current educational theory, practical 'DIY' ideas, educational philosophy and strategies for auditing and enhancing current good practice within the classroom.
  14. This is quite simply an excellent book. The Teacher's Toolkit succeeds where so many books fail, in that it not only provides a comprehensive summary of the latest thinking in how the brain works and how people learn, it also offers a wealth of practical strategies for use in the classroom.

    Indeed, it is the sheer volume of highly effective strategies that sets this book apart from most others in the field. This is a resource that you can dip into during a spare five minutes and discover a good idea for a lesson and busy teachers will no doubt appreciate both the range of ideas and the easy to read format. The range of strategies is such that all teachers, irrespective of their experience and area of subject expertise, cannot help to find a technique that will extend their personal repertoire.

    However, this book is not just a collection of ideas; it is a collection of good ideas, grounded not only in the reality of the classroom but firmly based upon the emerging evidence of the working of the human brain. In section one, Paul provides an overview of learning and the learning process that serves as a rationale for the strategies that follow. It is a comprehensive yet concise summary of the latest thinking in the field, that is both informative and highly readable.

    The section on learning styles is of particular value. Paul discusses the range of learning style classifications available and considers ways in which schools can accommodate different types of learner. His coverage of this topic is realistic and insightful and he manages to bring a clarity and sense of perspective to an issue that is so often oversimplified and misunderstood. It is worth getting the book for this section alone - all teachers and educators would benefit from reading it.

    Paul Ginnis has produced an invaluable resource that is based upon research and the emerging science of learning but also outlines a range of effective and engaging approaches that have clearly been developed and refined within the context of real classrooms. As such it will find instant credibility with teachers. Many books have been written in recent years about learning ” few will make such an impact on practice.
  15. If I was confined to recommending one book, and one book only, to trainee teachers, recently qualified teachers or indeed teachers of many years experience, that would inspire, refresh and be of practical value to them, it would have to be The Teacher's Toolkit by Paul Ginnis. Not only does it provide an excellent section on recent research and thinking about the needs of all learners and the needs of different learners, The Toolkit also provides a great range of -˜templates' to assist hard pressed teachers in devising learning activities which can engage, motivate and challenge all pupils and in all areas of the curriculum. Fantastic value for money!
  16. The Teacher's Toolkit combines theory and practice in teaching and learning: a rare combination in educational texts. The usual books are either a series of tips for teachers without an overriding rationale or a theoretical treatise without any practical example. The beauty of this book is that it brings together a vast array of research evidence and theory from the fields of education, biology, psychology and change management to give a theoretical underpinning for approaches to teaching. This is exemplified by many tried and tested practical examples which teachers can apply immediately in their classrooms. The book also has considerable space devoted to how to use these approaches in the classroom to manage students' learning. Finally there is a section for teachers to guide their own development.

    One of the best things about the book which also sets it apart from others is that it is not formulaic. Good teaching for effective learning is a complex business; Paul helps the reader to understand the process, work with it and to develop their own creative approach with a helpful structure and some ideas to get started. It is clear to the reader that Paul himself is an expert practitioner with a genuine passion for improving learning in schools.

    The book is usable in so many different ways: it provides an interesting and very digestible summary of the important developments in research and theory of the last 20 years; it can give you ideas for your lesson period 5 tomorrow and it can give teachers the tools to reflect on their practice to develop and change in very profound ways. All this used together is a very powerful tool for individuals and a whole school for developing the quality of classroom practice and enriching the learning experiences of students.

    Most teachers I know enter the profession because they enjoy learning, in my view they are happiest at work when they can learn more about applying their professional skills effectively. This book is an absolute must for every teacher who still wants to learn.
  17. ... an inspirational work. The first section is perhaps the best exposition that I have read of what has happened to education in the UK in recent years.

    Teachers stuck for ideas about what to do in their PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) will find a rich source of ideas here. The final section gives suggestions for finding out pupils' learning styles and also highlights the importance of using positive talk in the classroom, with examples. Each section of this excellent, pragmatic and insightful book could make a book in itself.
  18. On first glance the book is fairly intimidating because of its size and number of pages ” thus putting it into the category of “academic'. However on opening the pages one discovers the layout to be carefully thought out and simple to follow. I believe that this book would be highly beneficial as a book that one refers to constantly when required, rather than reading through in one sitting. I have found that photo-reading the book was great fun and thereafter I looked up the tool kits that caught my attention through their inventive headings.

    The cartoon pictures add light relief and the actual glossary section and resource section are excellent guides to the amazing amount of change that is occurring around the world in “education'. As a trainer ” as opposed to teacher ” I found some of the suggestions useful and getting me to think deeper about my own presentation and delivery. I can see this book being a hit with teachers who are wanting guidance on how to “achieve effective learning' without attending many courses. Well written and worth having as a reference book on one's shelf.
  19. Paul Ginnis is the author of the best single classroom and teaching resource I have ever come across. His 2002 book The Teacher's Toolkit: Raise Classroom Achievement With Strategies for Every Learner fully lives up to the claims of its title. Back in the 1990s when we teachers were being urged from many quarters to get back to chalk-and-talk and teaching from the front, Ginnis's work might have been rubbished as “feely-touchy'. Now that we are starting to become aware of the huge range of pupils' intelligences, talents and learning styles - and the real implications of what we mean by “differentiation' which involves learning styles as well as differing abilities - we teachers are crying out for help of the kind that he gives us in this book.

    I find myself wishing simply that Paul Ginnis had published this book years ago! It distils into a very convenient and accessible form so many of the things towards which we have been fumbling our way in my school without a lot of help from reasoned, researched or tested material ” until now.
  20. What does it claim to do?

    The aim of this book is to help raise achievement by providing a variety of strategies for every learner and hopefully stimulating teachers' creativity in the process. However, there is a vision that extends beyond this: the approach to education that is suggested should help people to become skilled, self aware, independent learners and should also help them to become skilled, socially aware, inclusive and democratic citizens.

    Does it live up to its claim?

    Absolutely! This book is packed with so many practical ideas that you'll be truly inspired to try something new and inject some life into your lessons.

    It covers everything. There is a clear overview of recent thinking about learning, which is accessible and interesting. There are 50 different tools for teaching and learning, which are clearly explained and applicable in a variety of subject areas. There are a range of strategies to help with the management of group work and the behaviour issues that may arise. There are different ideas about how you can actually put the techniques into practice in the classroom and suggested strategies to help you check your practice.

    This book has a great vision but the strategies to help you achieve the vision are firmly rooted in practical reality. If one person embraced the principles and put the ideas into practice, the results would be good. If the whole school embraced the principles and put them into practice, I am certain that the results would be fantastic. The vision would have a good chance of becoming a reality.

    Likelihood of use

    This is a resource that every teacher would find practical, useful and user friendly.

    • Performance: 10/10
    • Value for money: 10/10
    • Overall verdict: Buy it!
  21. As a young teacher, I was impressed by a statement I read which went something like: -˜if he cannot learn the way you teach, find a way to teach the way he learns.' This book is all about that sentiment and its title sums up exactly what it means. Paul Ginnis has written a book which provides the necessary tools for teachers young and old, experienced and inexperienced. It gives background knowledge to justify why we should keep up-to-date with new research into the learning process - and without going into too much detail! More importantly, it provides many examples of practical techniques and lesson-plans which teachers can try out -˜off the peg'. In reality, this will always prompt the interested teacher to adapt and customise - exactly the outcome envisaged by the author!

    Paul is totally engaged in his subject; he uses imagination and plenty of sound knowledge to back up his writing; he speaks to teachers in down-to-earth teachers' language. This book is immensely readable and totally accessible as well as being a useful handbook for quick reference.
    Last year I bought a copy for every member of staff as part of our staff development programme. One teacher of many years' standing told me -˜This is the best thing the school has done for me.'

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