Top critical review
43 people found this helpful
Five stars? Really?
on 7 January 2013
I am sorry to be the one to break rank and post the only non-five star review, but I couldn't stand it any longer. I do not doubt Phil Beadle's skills as a teacher, his passion, or his dedication to young people. I regularly use his Teachers' TV commas video to convey the finer points of adverbial starts. However, there appears to be an 'Emperor's New Clothes' effect here, whereby anything that sounds a little bit trendy, and comes from a teacher who has a column in the Guardian, is accepted without question, and lovingly fawned over by people who haven't scrutinised what they are reading.
'Having your desks set out in groups is the right way to organise your classroom. Period. No discussion. No arguing,' he says. No, Mr Beadle, it isn't. No, 22 five-star reviewers, it isn't. It might be, sometimes, but it isn't always. In fact, in my experience, it almost always isn't. My favourite classroom organisation is rows facing the front. If we had individual desks, I'd use them instead. You know why? Because that's what I like, and that's what I feel most comfortable with. That's the advice you need - do what you feel is best - not progressive dogma.
'Having the tables in groups allows you to set them the grouped speaking and listening activities that are the way in which they learn the most effectively.' Where's that research from, Phil? Sorry, but the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'. I tend to find that students learn how to write essays well comes less from speaking and listening activities - more from writing essays, and me telling them how to improve them.
Too much of this stuff is left unquestioned - too often we do not ask 'how do you know that?' or 'where's your research?' It is all very well if, for example, you are Phil Beadle. He wouldn't have written a book if he thought it wasn't working for him. But most teachers do not want to be Phil Beadle, they want to be themselves. Instead of 'How To Teach' this book would be more appropriately titled: 'How To Be Like Me'.
Again, I have no beef with the man himself - he comes across as a likeable and passionate man, and he has used the word 'nincompoopery', which has to be lauded. But please, everyone, stop fawning.