The Value of Literature in ITT

Tom Hughes I think the thing that has surprised me most about being a maths teacher is the value that scholarship can have when it comes to developing one's practice. I had started to read literature on pedagogy before starting my PGCE, but it wasn't until I actually got into the classroom before I realised how extremely useful it was. I think a lot of trainee teachers put off reading literature so that they can spend more time on other aspects of the job. I would argue, however, that reading and listening to educational podcasts is actually an economical way to spend your time during your training year, since they can offer plenty of suggestions for where your time can be best spent to aid your development.

Another thing that really surprised me about research in teaching was how dynamic the landscape of current theories is; one year the trend might be to implement problem solving early in topics to engage and challenge students, while the next it might be how making students solve problems with new knowledge is actually detrimental to their learning. This evolving picture means there is always a lot of discussion in the profession about the new theories, and how they can be incorporated into practice. 

All this contributes to teaching being a profession that stimulates me intellectually - far more than I expected it to. In terms of literature, I would recommend Craig Barton's book: 'How I wish I taught maths' and his podcast where he talks to leading figures in the world of education. I would also recommend Ed Southall's book: 'Yes, but why?' for lesson planning and Doug Lemov's 'teach like a champion 2.0' for straightforward tips for how to improve your practice. 

By Tom Hughes