Sunday, 15 February 2015

Go on bore them - A Review

Whether you're a newly qualified teacher starting out on your career, an experienced classroom practitioner, or somewhere in between, you will find something to take away from Terry Freeman's digital publication Go On Bore Them.

The premise of the booklet is how teachers make ICT lessons excruciatingly dull and draws on the author's 30+ years experienced in education as a teacher, inspector, consultant and writer. The book is littered with examples of how teachers have taken a subject, which by its nature is engaging and relevant, and made it boring. More importantly though, each anecdotal error is accompanied by an explanation of why this created a boring lesson, before offering advice on how it could be taught and why such strategies would engage learners.

The advice given is sequenced into the structure of a traditional lesson, working its way from starter through main activities (dealing with under and over-challenge), to the plenary. The evidence Terry uses- selected form his time as an inspector- is presented in a light-hearted way and did, on more than one occasion, caused me to chuckle. The narrative voice that comes through is one of support rather than criticism, as a reader you feel you are benefiting from someone's vast experience. He shows you mistakes that others have made and helps you understand why these choices were to the detriment of learning and offers solutions. Such solutions are based in pedagogy and offer advice that could have a long-term impact on teaching and learning rather than a quick fix for a specific problem. I found it impossible whilst reading this publication, not to reflect on my own practice and on a few occasions my cheeks flushed with colour as I remembered mistakes I had made. 

While this booklet may appear to be about teaching with technology and uses secondary school as it main evidence base, it offers plenty for the non-specialist and primary teacher. Neither is it affected by the changes of Curriculum 2014 whereby ICT has evolved into Computing. This publication is for those who have a growth mindset, who want to reflect on their own practice and who want to create purposeful learning environments. So it should be relevant for any teacher. Put simply this digital booklet focuses on pedagogy, technology is merely the context it uses, and shows that by neglecting how children learn, we really can bore them.

Go On Bore Them, can be downloaded from Terry Freeman's website ICT in Education

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