17 February, 2009

Effective Teaching in Schools - Theory and Practice (Second Edition) - By Chris Kyriacou

Reviewed by C. Radhakrishnan
About the Author: Dr. Chris Kyriacou is reader in Educational Psychology and currently the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of York. He is particularly interested in researching aspects of effective teaching, the experience of being a teacher, pupil learning and pupil motivation. His other major books include Essential Teaching Skills, Helping Troubled Pupils, and Stress-busting for Teachers.

Summary: Kyriacou’s ‘Effective Teaching in Schools’ presents new paradigms in effective teaching. The book has been written in three parts.

Part one covers the nature, concepts and process of effective teaching and aspects of students’ learning process. Writer has succeeded in his attempt to prove that for effective teaching there is a need to take into account the context and the nature of the learning outcomes desired. Second important take away from this part is the framework developed here on the notion of ‘attentiveness’, ‘receptiveness’ and ‘appropriateness’ act as the focus for thinking about student learning.

Part two comprises of five major divisions (4 to 8) and can be considered the heart of the book. The first topic in this section considers the different types of learning tasks, activities and experiences which teachers can usefully setup to facilitate student learning. In the next topic a number of differences between students have been explored: ability, motivation, social class, gender, race and special educational needs. According to the author ‘Knowing the child in detail’ is the key to effective teaching. In topic six we will come across key classroom teaching qualities and tasks that in effect serve as a set of basic skills involved in effective teaching process. Chapter seven convinces the need for redefining teacher-student relationship. Here the author explains how the teacher’s authority is established, the basis for developing mutual respect and rapport and the role of the teacher in the ‘pastoral care’ of the child. The last chapter in part two encompasses various strategies in dealing with students’ misbehaviour. The key task facing effective teachers is to minimise its occurrence in the first place rather than thinking about reprimands, punishments and counselling.

Part three addresses the three most pressing professional concerns challenging teachers. The first is to develop the school curriculum so that it meets as fully as possible the educational aspirations held for it. The second is to develop systems of teacher appraisal which will foster more effective in-service professional development. The third is to develop ways in which the levels of stress experienced by teachers can be reduced.

Chris Kyriacou concludes that all this to happen it requires time for teachers to engage in the necessary planning and preparation. This means that schools need to create an organisational infrastructure to enable such time to be made available. From the part of the teacher commitment to being effective and professional pride in the quality of their work are also very essential.

Conclusion: ‘Effective Teaching in Schools’ would make a great introduction for anyone considering taking up a career in teaching, or interested in acquiring skills that would help them in their Teacher Training course. This book will be of great use for teacher trainers, educational leaders and also for people aspiring for educational leadership. Recognising the shift of teacher training towards more classroom practice, the book combines depth and authoritative coverage in its treatment of the teaching experience. Each chapter has its own Objectives and Summary to help guide independent learning. Highlighted checklists summarise the key issues. Chapters conclude with discussion questions to help students reflect on key teaching issues and detailed guidance on further reading to help them research key topics effectively. In short it’s an amazing book on effective teaching that takes us from an idealistic world of imagination to a real world of practicability. The hard work and research time spent by the author should be appreciated from the bottom of our hearts. It’s the duty of each and every teacher to read and execute the wonderful ideas presented by the author to make teaching-learning process in our Indian classrooms really enjoyable and fun oriented for our children.

Wish you a happy reading!

Book Courtesy: The High Range School Library, TTL, Mattupatti