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Secondary Education Reflective Reader

Book review of ‘Secondary Education Reflective Reader

Jonathan Savage & Martin Fautley. Learning Matters, 2010 (ISBN 9781844454730, 208 pages, paperback published at £20.00)


The “Secondary Education Reflective Reader” by Martin Fautley and Jonathan Savage is pitched at those new to teaching, especially during their period of Initial Teacher Education. The authors state their intention as being to help new teachers to interact, both critically and reflectively, with the ideas of key thinkers and policy-makers in education. To this end, each chapter contains three readings from a variety of sources together with a commentary from the authors and structured questions to help the reader to critically assess the material and reflect upon how these ideas could challenge and develop their current practice.

Within the book each chapter can be read as a stand-alone introduction to its topic. The chapters cover: the teacher’s identity, what constitutes learning, developing classroom pedagogy, formative and summative assessment for learning, using technology, personalised learning, creativity, cross-curricular approaches, and early-stage career development. Given that the target audience for this book is the new secondary teacher who is unlikely to have studied education as part of their undergraduate degree, I think there is value in having key texts gathered within a single book. I appreciated being able to read extended excerpts on each of these topics.

For students on ITE or MEd courses, I think this reflective reader would be a useful resource for preparing two types of assignment. For literature reviews this reader provides a model of how different types of literature can be approached critically and how themes from different texts can be drawn together. For classroom-based research projects, each chapter of the book provides a starting point on an area of active research interest that can readily be applied to classroom practice.  By using the selected texts, commentary, accompanying references and further reading as a starting point, I am sure that many original, and valuable, research projects could be designed and conducted.

This book has been published as part of a series called ‘Achieving QTS’ and the introduction to each chapter includes a list of the Q standards that most closely link to the topic of the chapter. I found this aspect of the book did not sit easily with the rest of the text. This is not a book that aims to help people to ‘tick the boxes’ of the professional standards and I would not recommend it to people trying to provide evidence in order to meet particular standards in their professional file. However, I do not regard this as a criticism of the book since I do not think it was the authors’ intention that it should. Fautley and Savage have produced a resource for those who desire to go beyond the minimum standards for classroom competence. This is a book for those who wish to grapple with the big ideas of their chosen profession and to apply these ideas creatively to the specific contexts found in their own classrooms. It is a book for those who, from the outset of their career, aim to bridge the gap between academic research and the demands of day-to-day teaching. I hope it will prove to be successful in fulfilling these laudable aims.

Judith Philip