Teaching Backwards

teaching backwards orange‘Teaching Backwards’ by Andy Griffith and Mark Burns.  The follow-up to the best-selling Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners.

In an era when schools and teachers often seem to operate at one hundred miles an hour,  Teaching Backwards  offers a more reflective and measured approach to teaching and learning.   Where many teachers focus on delivering content  in a linear fashion, those who teach backwards start with the end in mind.   This means that they know in advance what levels of knowledge, attitude, skills and habits they expect their learners to achieve, , they define and de-mystify ambitious goals, and they establish their students’ starting points before they start to plan and teach. Teaching Backwards ensures that learners consistently make great progress over time,  and offers a practical, hands-on manual for teachers to  further develop their attitudes, skills and habits of excellence   both  for themselves and for their learners.

This book is the follow-up to the best-selling Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners. It  is based on the analysis of thousands of hours of primary and secondary lessons,  part of Osiris Education’s Outstanding Teaching Intervention programme over the last seven years.   It is packed with innovative, practical ideas to help   readers   improve the quality of their teaching, and the satisfaction and pleasure that comes with it.

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“Teaching backwards” is another superb demystification of exactly what outstanding teaching looks like.

Mark and Andy have the clearest vision of how to describe outstanding teaching that I have yet come across and the book is littered with practical tools to use in the classroom the next day.

To suggest to a teacher that they “start with the end in mind” is the easy bit. The book goes on to give a step by step approach to how to do it.

I particularly like the use of humour and metaphor and I will be looking for more hob nob teachers and more black belt assessors

Enjoyed it and still learned things. Always a great sign.

James Kerfoot, Principal, Childwall Sports and Science Academy 

“Vintage Griffith & Burns: an impressive melding of anecdote and outstanding classroom practice, which provides countless strategies for ensuring that busy teachers see learning through their pupils’ eyes.  Simultaneously compellingly readable and rigorously research-informed, this book is the unlikely but deeply attractive love-child of Wilbur Smith and Hilary Mantel.”

Barry J Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education, University of Cumbria in Lancaster

Griffith and Burns have provided classroom teachers with a thought-provoking insight into “teaching backwards”. They have achieved a highly accessible balance of philosophy and practical approaches, which are totally credible since they are based on years of fieldwork with outstanding and improving practitioners. This variety of fieldwork  in a variety of settings means their thesis is clear, coherent and credible and will make sense to all teachers looking to improve their pedagogy. Their practical suggestions range from quick fix templates and techniques to deeper approaches, but all are explained in a down to earth, real-life fashion, which makes them all the more appealing to a time poor practitioner. Their prose is good humoured and has the learner at the centre. Teachers are encouraged to see learning from the perspective of the learner, and, by developing the techniques outlined in the book, provide them with the clearest support possible in how to succeed. The graphics and layout help make the ideas accessible and of practical use, especially through the summaries at the end of each section. References to works and ideas by other writers offer the opportunity for the reader to explore concepts in greater depth.

The accessible, real-life nature of “Teaching Backwards”  will undoubtedly encourage many practitioners to experiment with its techniques and produce better crafted and more stimulating lessons.

Graham Aldridge, Head Teacher, Range High School, Formby

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