Teacher Proof Why research in education doesn’t always mean what it claims, and what you can do about it
‘Tom Bennett is the voice of the modern teacher.’ - Stephen Drew, Senior Vice-Principal, Passmores Academy, UK, featured on Channel 4’s Educating Essex
Do the findings from educational science ever really improve the day-to-day practice of classroom teachers?
Education is awash with theories about how pupils best learn and teachers best teach, most often propped up with the inevitable research that ‘proves’ the case in point. But what can teachers do to find the proof within the pudding, and how can this actually help them on wet Wednesday afternoon?.
Drawing from a wide range of recent and popular education theories and strategies, Tom Bennett highlights how much of what we think we know in schools hasn’t been ‘proven’ in any meaningful sense at all. He inspires teachers to decide for themselves what good and bad education really is, empowering them as professionals and raising their confidence in the classroom and the staffroom alike. Readers are encouraged to question and reflect on issues such as:
- the most common ideas in modern education and where these ideas were born
- the crisis in research right now
- how research is commissioned and used by the people who make policy in the UK and beyond
- the provenance of education research: who instigates it, who writes it, and how to spot when a claim is based on evidence and when it isn’t
- the different way that data can be analysed
- what happens to the research conclusions once they escape the laboratory.
Controversial, erudite and yet unremittingly entertaining, Tom includes practical suggestions for the classroom throughout. This book will be an ally to every teacher who’s been handed an instruction on a platter and been told, ‘the research proves it.’
Acknowledgements About the Author Contents Introduction Part One: How do we know anything? 1. Quid est veritas? 2. What is science? How we understand the physical world 3. What a piece of work is man: The rise of the Social Sciences 4. Educational science and pseudo science Part Two: Voodoo teaching 5. Multiple Intelligences: if everyone’s smart, no one is 6. My NLP and Brain Gym Hell 7. Group Work: failing better, together 8. I’m with stupid: Emotional Intelligence 9. Buck Rogers and the 21st Century Curriculum 10. Techno, techno, techno, TECHNO: Digital Natives in Flipped Classrooms 11. The Holy Trinity of the three-part lesson 12. There are no such things as Learning Styles 13. Game Over: the Gamification of Education 14. Learning to Learn to Learn to Learn... 15. The Hard Smell: Smell/ dance/ box/ sing yourself smarter/ happier/ healthier 16. Thinking Hats On! 17. School Uniform Armageddon Part 3: What do we do now? 18. What everyone in education should do next Further Reading
"'Teacher Proof' (2013) by Tom Bennett is a lively and lucid counterblast to fads, pseudo-science, the misuse of research and condescension towards teachers. ‘Everyone still wants a magic bullet’, he writes. ‘Everyone still wants to hear the guy with the big idea, wrapped up in modernity and novelty. No one wants to hear the possibility that what works in classrooms is often very simple, very cheap, very boring and quite time-consuming.’ As well as debunking the likes of ‘learning styles, thinking skills, multiple intelligences and brain gym’, Bennett tackles the broader question of the relationship between practice and research and envisages a more vibrant and positive compact between schools and the academic community." -Matt Lloyd-Rose, social researcher, NGO leader and writer.