There is Another Way

The second big book of Independent Thinking

By: Ian Gilbert


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Size: 200 x 200mm
ISBN : 9781781353097
Format: Paperback
Published: April 2018

Ian Gilbert’s There is Another Way: The second big book of independent thinking shares inspirational ideas from a number of contributors intended to inspire educators to do what they know is right – regardless of the pressures from above.

We are living at a time when loud voices from inside and outside the profession are telling teachers and school leaders ‘this’ is the way education should be done. This is how you should lead a school. This is how you should manage a class. This is how children should learn. This is what you should do to make children behave. These messages are given as if there is only one way to achieve these things – their way.

However, with decades of experience working in all types of school around the globe, the many Associates of Independent Thinking know there is always another way. Ian Gilbert and the Associates combine their collective wisdom and experience to take a fresh look at the present and future of education and invite the reader to think, deeply, on what really matters and to reflect on their practice accordingly. Regardless of the reader’s specialism or background, there is something for everyone in this diverse and insightful anthology.

Edited by Ian Gilbert with chapters by Mark Anderson, Lisa Jane Ashes, Bethan Baëz-Devine, Phil Beadle, Jackie Beere, David Cameron (The Real David Cameron), Paul Clarke, Tait Coles, Mark Creasy, Mark Finnis, Dave Harris, Crista Hazell, Martin Illingworth, Nina Jackson, Rachel Jones, Gill Kelly, Debra Kidd, Jonathan Lear, Trisha Lee, Roy Leighton, Matthew McFall, Sarah Pavey, Simon Pridham, Jim Roberson, Hywel Roberts, Martin Robinson, Dave Whitaker and Phil Wood.

This book is for educators everywhere who know that children deserve something better.

There is also a hardback edition available, ISBN 9781781352366.

All of the royalties from sales of this book will go to the Big i Foundation.

All of the royalties from sales of this book will go to the Big i Foundation.

Picture for author Ian Gilbert

Ian Gilbert

Since establishing Independent Thinking 25 years ago, Ian Gilbert has made a name for himself across the world as a highly original writer, editor, speaker, practitioner and thinker, and is someone who the IB World magazine has referred to as one of the world's leading educational visionaries.

The author of several books, and the editor of many more, Ian is known by thousands of teachers and young people across the world for his award-winning Thunks books. Thunks grew out of Ian's work with Philosophy for Children (P4C), and are beguiling yet deceptively powerful little philosophical questions that he has created to make children's – as well as their teachers' – brains hurt.

Ian's growing collection of bestselling books has a more serious side too, without ever losing sight of his trademark wit and straight-talking style. The Little Book of Bereavement for Schools, born from personal family experience, is finding a home in schools across the world, and The Working Class – a massive collaborative effort he instigated and edited – is making a genuine difference to the lives of young people from some of the poorest backgrounds.

A unique writer and editor, there is no other voice like Ian Gilbert's in education today.

See for yourself.

Ian was winner of The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society's inaugural Educational Writers Award (Nov 2008) for 'The Little Book of Thunks' - Click here for more information on the book.

Re-framing the Education Debate with Independent Thinker, Ian Gilbert.

Click here to read Ian Gilbert’s blog.

Click here to read Ian's article in International Teacher Magazine.


  1. I love There Is Another Way - a great collection of authors and thoughts all in one place. I just couldn't put it down, and keep returning to it time and again!
  2. Ian Gilbert, in his own inimitable style, has collated a wide range of articles by experienced practitioners which stimulate ideas and reflection on strategies to promote delivery of learning, engagement, motivation and the ethos for learning. The overall focuses of the articles are contained in an initial list of aspirations, “There is Another Way”, which is an excellent, thought provoking introduction. Teachers, lecturers and managers of learning will find the range of tips, strategies and anecdotes an indispensable resource to influence their thinking and practice. I particularly gained from re-reading the sections on “Live your life”, “Knowing your students”, “Planting seeds of aspirations”, and “There isn't an App for that”. The key message within the book is how the agents of learning can positively impact more successfully upon students' learning aspirations and future life pathways. This is an inspirational book which should be available as a resource within all centres of learning to support the promotion of personal, social and learning outcomes.
  3. Following on from the resounding success of Ian Gilbert's Independent Thinking book, the educationalist is back with his Second Big Book, challenging that we, “Insist that your children look -˜beneath the surface' and are given space, encouragement and skills to think for themselves”, and intact, that we challenge everything - superiors, job titles, systems, everything that you feel is getting in the way of all children achieving what they are truly capable of. Inspiring stuff? Well, isn't that what we all dream of - but always seems just out of reach.

    Along with a plethora of contributors, this book aims to give hope, liberation and respect back into teaching and learning, challenging the very core of the Western Educational Systems who are moving away from progressive, skills-based, child-centred, discovery-driven approaches. Noam Chomsky gets mentioned who said that education for the hoi polloi has always been about -˜passivity and obedience', whereas education for the elite is all about creativity and independence.

    Why should creativity be exclusive to the elite few? Gilbert advocates that, through critical pedagogy, we should challenge students to dig beneath the surface, and have the courage to justifiably ask -˜why'.

    What then follows is a collection of short essays, by a group of teacher contributors, that allows the reader to start thinking and developing their classroom practice to make a difference and create the best conditions for powerful learning: Mark Creasy talks about his REVOLT acronym, helping us develop the most effective learning environment for every child; Dave Harris challenges that School Improvement is not a numbers game - recognising the individuality of each school; Dr Phil Wood talks of the eternal search of Educational Research, a framework to help question, explore and gain insights into educational problems; Hywel Roberts writes about turning attention to obsession, when pupils ask (for the right reasons) to stay in a break time, so they can continue with their learning, or when students bring in work from home related to the subject that you're teaching, of which you didn't ask them to complete; Jonathan Lear talks about unexpected monkey sex. We shall say no more.

    These bite sized (29) chapters are perfect for quick tips, quick reads, and quick conversation starters, which can easily be recognised in all schools, and although we have mentioned only a few of the chapters, there is certainly something for everyone.

    read the review in full here.
  4. It's nearly ten years since the first Big Book of Independent Thinking was published - and much has changed in the world of education since then. What remains the same, however, is the determination of Ian Gilbert and his fellow Independent Thinkers to keep children at the centre of everything they do and to speak loudly about the values they hold important, and never to be forced along a path that they feel is taking them in the wrong direction. Many of the names contributing to this, the second Big Book of Independent Thinking will be familiar to Teach Secondary readers; you may not agree with every opinion expressed in this book, but picking it up and reading a few pages will almost certainly leave you refreshed, energised, and ready to ask some important questions.
  5. In these depressing days when reading the Educational Headlines brings daily proof that government initiatives lack insight and understanding, three cheers for the independent thinkers. A hearty thank you for this compilation of bite-size wisdoms to invigorate those of us who have chosen to follow -˜another way' with our children. Teachers will thrive on the fresh and varied insights from fellow professionals. This book should be in every staff room.
  6. I got a huge amount out of this wide-ranging book. I think others will too. It's full of wisdom and great insight. There is Another Way is a compilation of the thoughts of some of our top thinkers on pedagogy, politics, research, curriculum, coaching, mental health, restorative practice, behaviour and values. It starts with a terrific list of aspirations for all of us in education.

    There are some absolute gems: -˜ 'You'll need this for the test' does little to develop genuine engagement with, and for, learning. It might get children sitting quietly and getting on with their work but then so does colouring in.'

    On the importance of libraries: -˜A librarian is rather like an informational AA man - they can help you and, if they can't, they'll know a man who can. Or a woman. Or a book. Or a website. Or a database. Or a blog. Or an app ...'

    On the thoughtless use of pre-prepared PowerPoints: -˜Think of them as some sort of USB-Hoover with which your humanity, charisma, humour and all the other hard won attributes that make you a great teacher are sucked out of you, and you are left standing in front of a class, reading someone else's PowerPoint and wondering where it all went wrong.'

    It's well worth getting a copy. It will refresh your thinking.
  7. It is easy to find books encouraging you to change your way of teaching (without showing you any clues). It is more difficult to discover one, written by real teachers, not only saying that another way is possible, but also indicating where that way is. A pleasure to read this inspirational and practical book which moves the reader into a future that he knows he can make real: the future of an education with the children as its only concern.
  8. This is an important collection of essays that explore alternative ways forward for education. The contributions are thoughtful, committed, passionate, idealistic and, ultimately, radical. They offer moral, pragmatic and practical alternative perspectives and share a deep and abiding concern for the learning and development of children as the core focus of any education system. The range of topics covered provides a powerful resource for a fundamental critique of existing policies and taken together they offer a holistic view of an alternative future. Collectively the chapters -˜speak truth to power' and will stimulate thinking, debate and reflection about the future course of education.
  9. At one point in There is Another Way, Nina Jackson -discussing mental health issues - writes, -˜Reassure the person that with help and support they can get through the emotional trauma they are experiencing.' That line could be the strapline for this book, a book which reassures those of us who have, even for a second, begun to think that what we have been doing in our teaching careers for years was wrong. I, for one, have felt huge emotional trauma when things I thought were important in a learning community - relationships, humanity and love - have been trumped by political diktat, distrust and textbooks.

    There is a host of great educators writing here. The Real David Cameron stands up for experience over research. Bethan Stracy-Burbridge articulates beautifully the benefits of art therapy and how every interaction we have with a child matters. Professor Paul Clarke poses a question which gets to the nub of why we are here and how can we remain part of planet earth. Rachel Jones reminds us that there is no -˜what works' rulebook. And if you were thinking of doing away with books in this digital age, you'd better read Sarah Pavey's essay on why libraries are more important than ever! This is no backward-looking tome, however: Mark Anderson and Simon Pridham give us sparkling insights into how new technologies can shape learning in the future.
    In his signature essay Ian Gilbert, the driving force behind There is Another Way, urges us all, especially our students, to ask the eternal question of anything and anyone - why? It is the question which we should be asking of education policymakers of all political hues. If this book does just one thing it will help those in education whose beliefs have been eroded by over-confident politicians over the last decade to reassert an educational values-system which puts humanity back into the centre of the ring. With There is Another Way none of us need to be emotionally traumatised any longer.
  10. My belief that -˜there is another way' is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. The fact that so many others have captured all the feelings I have in my heart about education gives me the courage to be brave and clearer in my own mind about providing the right balance between knowledge, skills, values and behaviours. When I finished the book, I realised this was the start of the process, not the end. I want to do something, no matter how small, to make a commitment to change, to make a difference.
  11. The years of experience the writers combine to produce this book mean that there is something for every reader. The authors bring professional wisdom, insight, knowledge and sense to address the confusion and clamour of the present climate. At the heart of the book is a shared concern for the best in schools and the greatest impact on children's futures. The book is a joy to read, a real treasure trove of thinking and practice; there is a jewel for everyone.
  12. I love this book. Sequels aren't always a good idea, but the Second Big Book of Independent Thinking is a really good idea. It exudes optimism at a time when there isn't always enough optimism, laughter or fun in our schools. Yet it isn't afraid to challenge us, to be gritty, to urge us to be bolder in what we value and how we teach. At a time when there's too much dashing after quick-fixes in schools, the authors of There is Another Way take us back to first principles about learning, the nature of schools and why many of us decided to become teachers in the first place. It's a terrific and feisty read, an indispensable inoculation against the educational gloom that can too easily infect us.

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