Review – How to Teach by Phil Beadle

6932878How to Teach
Phil Beadle

Paperback | 239 pages

   Phil Beadle is one amazing man. He is well known for his books on teaching, and his documentaries in which he transforms the lives of pupils through his teaching skills.  I absolutely loved watching ‘The Unteachables” where he really tried to connect to the pupils and show them that they could learn, despite being seen as too unruly in their own schools.

Watch Phil tame the unruly 'unteachable' pupils in this documentary from Channel 4

Watch Phil tame the unruly ‘unteachable’ pupils in this documentary from Channel 4

I started this book when I first began my teacher training – I stopped reading when the workload got too much – I left the profession after 3 months, feeling overwhelmed. I have just picked up and completed this book and I feel if I had read it all sooner, I may have been able to keep going. By sooner, I mean that if I had read the entirety of this book prior to entering my classroom in September, I would have been so much more prepared than I was.
What irks me is that the 2 chapters of most relevance to me and the areas I struggled in where at the end of the book!

The book is 5 chapters long, with help in classroom management, teaching methods, lesson planning, assessment, differentiation and some fantastic examples from Beadle’s own experience. Top Teacher Tips are set throughout the book added extra ideas, such as how it is best to use the commute to work properly if you are on a train or bus and using home time to relax. Each chapter has many subsections with their own titles. A quick flick through the book tells you so much, and it is an easy book to dip in and out of for inspiration.

“If you are handy out scissors or compasses to children, it is always a good idea to tell them, (the students not the scissors; that would be stupid), that they, (the scissors, not the students; though it might be accurate), are dangerous implemets which can cause serious damage. With the exception of the two nutcases in the class who will take your warning as a cue to test out the theory’s practical application, this will have no impact on their behaviour whatsoever. However stating this emphatic warning leaves you covered {…}”
– Health and Safety, pg 76

Beadle has a distinctive honest and humorous style which highlights the pitfalls as well as the highs of teaching and the obvious mistakes that every new teacher makes. He picks out the idealism many enter the profession with, and while not extinguishing it, advises how and why certain things are not to be – at least not in your first year.

“Think of them as the varnish that seals the learning: without it it’ll wash away within seconds of them leaving the classroom.”
Phil Beadle on pleneries (pg 164)

He gives great advice on lesson planning, seating arrangements, marking tips, classroom rules and more. It is essentially the main things you need to know to be able to teach properly.

It is a great read – a must for trainee teachers.
It has inspired me to work on my teaching skills and prepare to go back to the profession when I feel comfortable and confident again.
He also passes on his obvious love and passion for teaching.
Inspiring indeed.

Phil Beadle has other books out which are definitely on my ‘to read list’ which include:

Why are you shouting at us?: The dos and don’ts of behaviour management
Dancing about Architecture: A Little Book of Creativity (Independent Thinking Series)
Could Do Better!: Help Your Kid Shine At School
Bad Education: The Guardian Columns
And his upcoming book (which I really, really think will be incredibly useful to so many trainee teachers!)
Here Endeth the Lesson… The Book of Plenary

For those interested, here is the book reviewed today. It is a MUST for trainee teachers!

Mr Beadle is a great person to have on your twitter as well – he’s as amusing and honest online as he is on tv and in his books. Follow him @PhilBeadle


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