Effective Teaching: Evidence and Practice

Author(s) Muijs, Daniel & Reynolds David
Publisher London Paul Chapman Publishing
Published 2001
ISBN 0761968814
Reviewed by Keith S. Taber
University of Cambridge Faculty of Education
Review published 1 December 2004

This is a very useful book for anyone requiring a concise summary of research into teaching effectiveness. The book provides a very readable review of research, broken down into a series of relatively short chapters. The authors begin by discussing general issues in teaching, starting with the case for direct instruction (whole class teaching) as an important component of lessons, and considering themes such as managing the classroom and pupil behaviour. The book also has sections relating to inclusion, looking at special needs including gifted pupils, and discusses some specific areas of teaching such as teaching reading.

This book will be thought-provoking and informative for anyone in the business of teaching classes, at whatever level. However much of the book is concerned with teaching in school settings, and parts are mainly of interest in a primary school context. This is a shame as teachers working at more advanced levels may well judge from the contents that this book is not for them. Yet most of the chapters can be read independently, and so the reader can chose to dip into the most relevant parts.

Inevitably in a book of this kind the reader can feel that some of the treatments of interesting topics are quite brief. However, many students may well appreciate this pithiness, and a substantial bibliography is included for those who wish to follow up topics.

The publisher's blurb claims that the book provides an accessible, non-technical and comprehensive overview of the international body of research into effective teaching. The authors should be congratulated on having done just this. Effective Teaching: Evidence and Practice will make an excellent addition to library shelves, and should prove invaluable to education students who will find a ready portal to an important and diverse literature. The book will also be valuable for all those who are concerned with the education and professional development of teachers: whether those working in education faculties for whom this area of research is not the main focus of their work, or whether school-based as Head Teachers, Heads of Department, PGCE mentors etc., as well as those working with local authorities in advisory roles. It should also be required reading for anyone involved in the inspection or evaluation ofteachers, schools or other educational institutions.

This book deserves to sell well, and - hopefully - will run into further editions. This will allow the authors to keep the contents up-to-date in the light of further research findings. If the authors do intend to prepare a second addition, then I would like to suggest that a specific section relating to the distinct nature of teaching in further, higher and adult education would make a valuable addition.