Reading Summaries and Reviews

SMART is an outward facing organisation that is open to research led improvements.  As such it is vital that we keep up to date with new developments in all aspects of education including learning, leadership, national and local policy.  With so many excellent books and ideas published and such little time to read them all, it is helpful to have short summaries that help us to focus in on which books to read.  Click on any of the items below to read a summary.  Most items are then available to borrow from our staff libraries.

If a book you have read has inspired you to write a short 1 or 2 page summary please upload it here so we can publish it for others to see too. 

Review by Vicki Baxter

Teaching in the Online Classroom: Surviving and Thriving in the New Normal

Doug Lemov and The Teach Like A Champion Team 2020

I was a bit disappointed overall with this book. I was looking for some practical hints and tips to help support some of the struggles I was having with delivering online lessons, whereas this book seems to be written from the viewpoint that you would be reading it at the start of your lockdown learning, rather than in the middle of it. I can see that some NQTs or ITE students may find it useful…

    Review by Emma Childs

    Dual Coding with Teachers

    What a fantastic book: easy to follow and interesting to read.

    This is an excellent introduction to a full range of dual coding strategies to use with students. The way that the book is structured allows teachers to easily pick out key bits and find relevant parts in a hurry…

    Review by Tom Ward

    This Much I Know About Mind Over Matter: Improving Mental Health in our Schools

    Although primarily aimed at senior leadership, as an aspiring middle leader I found this an interesting insight into current debate and research around the mental health of young people, and have taken some useful tools away from my reading (especially considering the imminent return to the school setting in the post-Covid era)…

      Review by Claire Ollerenshaw

      Making Every Maths Lesson Count

      ‘Making every Maths lesson count’ outlines six principles to support great maths teaching. It is a book for anyone involved in maths education and I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion that ‘whether you are just starting out or have been teaching for 30 years, you will find something of value in ‘Making Every Maths Lesson Count’.

      Summary by Kathryn Pipe

      Understanding How We Learn – A Visual Guide

      This book states it sets out to review basic processes – perception, attention and memory… focussed on applied research.

      PART ONE – Evidenced Based Education and the Science of Learning

      Emphasises the need for strategies to be scientifically tested, “after all would you give your child a pill that had never been scientifically tested?”  This part spends much time detailing how the research is carried out – combination of lab work and in the class…

        Review by Sarah Hercod

        Children Learning Outside the Classroom

        ‘Interdisciplinarity… a form of resistance against the bureaucratisation of education’ (Giroux, 2001)

        How is this book organised?

        This collection of essays, edited by Sue Waite, draws heavily on the experiences of academics, outdoor educators and teachers.

        Chapters are written by different contributors, yet follow the same layout:

        Summary by Kathryn Pipe

        Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning

        The book begins by agreeing the following the points with readers:

        • Learning requires memory
        • We need to keep learning and remembering throughout our lives
        • Learning is an acquired skill (the book sets out to persuade that this point is true)

        This book details strategies to support increased learning and longer retention of learning – giving research and details to support…

          Review by Linda Griffin

          Leading on Pastoral Care

          "Behaviour is an unmet need"

          This book is broken down into 3 sections:

          • Defining pastoral leadership
          • Providing effective pastoral leadership,
          • Reviewing your work.

          Very early on I was questioning how well we ‘know’ our young people even though we pride ourselves on knowing them.  Without this deep knowledge we are unable to ensure that they can truly participate in their day.

          Short Summary by Dan Buckley

          Education Exposed – Leading a school in a time of uncertainty by Samuel StricklanD

          This book is more an opinion piece than research, drawing heavily on only a handful of educators. Despite this it provides an excellent, well written 92 page summary of the principles that have guided Sam as Headteacher of a highly successful school that rose to success under his leadership avoiding the ‘fad driven approach to education that has engulfed our profession’…