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Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've got Google?: The Essential Guide to the Big Issues for Every 21st Century Teacher [Paperback]

Ian Gilbert
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 July 2010 0415468337 978-0415468336

‘The future of the world is in your hands’

I know that might seem a bit steep considering you’ve got that Year Ten coursework to sort out and the lesson observation on that nervous looking NQT, but that’s the way it is I’m afraid. You chose to be a teacher, you mould young minds on a daily basis and those minds have got to grow up and save the world.’Extract from Chapter One

Why do I need a teacher when I’ve got Google? is just one of the challenging, controversial and thought-provoking questions Ian Gilbert poses in his long-awaited follow up to the classic Essential Motivation in the Classroom.

Questioning the unquestionable, this book will make you re-consider everything you thought you knew about teaching and learning, such as:

  • Are you simply preparing the next generation of unemployed accountants?
  • What do you do for the ‘sweetcorn kids’ who come out of the education system in pretty much the same state as when they went in?
  • What’s the real point of school?
  • Exams – So whose bright idea was that?
  • Why ‘EQ’ is fast becoming the new ‘IQ’.
  • What will your school policy be on brain-enhancing technologies?
  • Which is the odd one out between a hamster and a caravan?

With his customary combination of hard-hitting truths, practical classroom ideas and irreverent sense of humour, Ian Gilbert takes the reader on a breathless rollercoaster ride through burning issues of the twenty-first century, considering everything from the threats facing the world and the challenge of the BRIC economies to the link between eugenics and the 11+.

As wide-ranging and exhaustively-researched as it is entertaining and accessible, this book is designed to challenge teachers and inform them – as well as encourage them – as they strive to design a twenty-first century learning experience that really does bring the best out of all young people. After all, the future of the world may just depend on it.

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Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've got Google?: The Essential Guide to the Big Issues for Every 21st Century Teacher + The Little Book of Thunks: 260 Questions to Make Your Brain Go Ouch! (Independent Thinking Series)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (14 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415468337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415468336
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Ian Gilbert is one of the UK's leading educational innovators, speakers and writers with twenty years experience working with young people and educationalists around the world. He is the founder of Independent Thinking Ltd, the editor of the Independent Thinking Series of books and the author of a number of titles including Why Do I Need a Teacher When I've Got Google?. His book The Little Book of Thunks won the first education book award from the Society of Authors for 'an outstanding example of traditionally published non-fiction that enhances teaching and learning'.

Product Description


‘This divergent-thinking book is a must read for all who want real, sustainable and effective reform for learning for this century; it should be embedded in the syllabi of colleges of education and education graduate studies worldwide.’Dr Earle Warnica, Professor of Education at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

‘This book is a stunner. Writing in an entertaining, page turning style, Ian Gilbert engages the reader with some powerful ideas about learning and teaching … He inspires us to consider the role of the teacher not as the fount of knowledge but as someone who helps children to learn.’Sara Bubb, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Education, London

‘In his inimitable style, laced with humour and wisdom, Ian Gilbert makes neuroscience reachable, digestible and, above all, applicable to classroom practice … He proposes a new moral purpose for education – to play a central role in the creation of a society in which you would want your own grandchildren to live. It will become compulsory reading. I couldn’t put it down.’Sir John Jones, Presenter, Writer and Educational Consultant

About the Author

Ian Gilbert is an educational innovator, award-winning writer, entrepreneur and inspirational speaker, delivering training to schools and colleges in the UK and Europe for the 'Independent Thinking' organisation, which he founded in 1994.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Gilbert's thunks on teaching 24 Oct 2010
Why do I need a teacher..(When I've got Google?)

Ian Gilbert is well known to most teachers in the UK especially as he is a founder of Independent Thinking which he describes as a `loose collection of practising educational mavericks and reactionaries' which includes the like of former Teachers of the Year such as the erudite and good looking David Miller (@DavidMiller_UK on twitter) and the even more `interesting' and Hugh Grant-ish Phil Beadle (@PhilBeadle). The firm's own twitter is at @itlworldwide - follow them.

Ian has written many books and developed `thunks' which get kids to think about questions such as `Is black a colour'. He gives keynotes and runs INSETs with his merry crew all over the world and within the UK. On his site there is a wealth of good resources on topics such as Multiple Intelligences (8 way thinking as he calls it) and music to learn by. I've just spent a great afternoon adding 109 songs to my class playlists ranging from classical such as Adante and Canon to pop `Nothing's going to stop us now' and I can't wait to try these new songs out on them. Anyhoo....

I spent a fortnight reading and re-reading Ian's latest `Why do I need a teacher when I've got Google?' armed with a number of highlighters and post it notes as I knew there would be some great quotes and thoughts within the book. Two weeks later I've finished and boy was it fun! There are great thinking points made here, some funny stories and above all things that make you go `hmm' as you reflect on exactly what it is we are all trying to achieve within our individual and different classrooms. The book tries to cover a wide range of educational topics that Ian thinks teachers need to reflect upon and maybe think about from a different angle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer 18 Nov 2011
Entertaining and full of humour. Another Ian Gilbert book to make you think. It did not disappoint. Full of facts and ideas that I had not considered about teaching. A great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best 17 Dec 2013
Having reread this book for the second time in five years. It remains provocative, informative, inspiring and probably the best book about education that I have ever read .
It should be compulsory for all would be teachers, and parents and politicians.
I will read it again!
And wish I had over 30 years ago when I started teaching.
Thanks Mr Gilbert!
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31 of 47 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading because it stimulates thought 17 Mar 2011
The length of this book belies Gilbert's paucity of ideas: (1) the core of education should be a skills-based utilitarianism (chapters 1-5); (2) intelligence is not fixed, and all learning and behaviour is reducible to `electro-chemical combustions in the brain' (chapters 6-16); (3) the traditional school system stifles thought (chapters 17-22); and (4) the teacher must merely `preside over the democratisation of learning' (chapters 23-31). Examining these ideas, we find that they are like all modern educational theory: what's new isn't true, and what's true isn't new.

According to Gilbert, the purpose of education is no longer the transmission of truth, because knowledge `exploded' at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The purpose of education is now, he says, the development of children's `skills, attributes, attitudes and commitments': on this view, teachers have to `train' children to `save the world'. Both points are erroneous. Indeed, the first is self-refuting, for postmodernism affirms the truth of the proposition `there is no truth'; it is impossible in principle, like a square circle. Nor is it even true that knowledge is constantly being rewritten: `even physics, at least at the undergraduate level, is a subject on which the dust has settled', says the distinguished physicist the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS. The postmodernist Bright Young Things and trendies are unable to respond to these fatal objections. As for Gilbert's second point, the recent emphasis on `skills' has not only led, ironically, to a severe national skills shortage, but bred nihilistic barbarians lacking the desire to save even themselves, let alone the world. Conspicuously absent from Gilbert's list of twenty-first century problems (globing warming, etc.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You OWE your parents... 5 Mar 2011
Hot off the press - I thumbed my way through Ian Gilbert's new book - a book that all educators and, more importantly, students and their parents, should read. As you may know I have been a supporter of parents' rights for years - the more we know, the better decisions we can help our kids make.

OK - my "big, little girl" would like to see the level of "parentals' democratic rights" reduced dramatically but in her heart of hearts she knows that this is the thin edge of the wedge for all of us.

Back to Ian's wonderful bedtime read. That is if you don't mind getting your fingers all inked up - I do not!

His core question is one that more and more of the "Digital Generation" is asking - and so they should. Thinking is good, questioning is better. And with so many of us "oldies" saying kids are just not the "same" as they were (and meaning kids today are not as "good" as they used to be) - these are the books we should be stuffing in our kids "Christmas stockings" or handing out as "Bayram sekeri"

But, the title of the book is not Gilbert's only question - his pages are full of them.

Actually, it should be titled "questioning the unquestionable"! Gilbert is controversial, he has an irreverent sense of humour (could be my long-lost brother or evil twin - Ian, if you want to do a "soap", I am your man) and he "hits" hard - just what we need in education nowadays.

However, and for you more academic-types - the book is also amazingly well-researched and smartly-written.

For those of us with intellectual disorders, it's also "chunked" into bite-sized pieces (super for reading on the bus or train to work) with a wide range of appetizing "main courses":

The great educational lie (p.
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