Pocket PAL: Newly Qualified Teachers

Author(s) Henry Liebling
Publisher Network Continuum Education
Published 2007
Pages 96
Price £6.99
ISBN 1855392291
Reviewed by Mr David Critchley
Liverpool Hope University
Review published 10 July 2007

Henry Liebling’s slim, pocket sized reference volume does very much what it says on the tin i.e. – “gives an overview of the issues facing those in their induction year and provides instant support…”

Much of the value of this book to its intended audience will surely come via the reassurances it will provide, that the issues addressed within are common to many teachers at this point in their career rather than being instead, the focus for personal self-doubt.

The traditional concerns of the newly qualified teacher are to be found here, e.g. Time & Behaviour Management, Assessment and Differentiation (amongst others). Refreshingly however, Mr Liebling also finds room to accommodate reference to the bigger questions including “What kind of teacher are you?” and “Making learning memorable.”

Accessibility is assured due to its organisational simplicity. Whilst left-hand pages engage with the strategic duties of the effective practitioner (technique), the welcome discourse on each facing page (application) makes clear and valid reference in operational terms about how these might be achieved day-to-day. This leaves the practitioner to reflect upon which of these practical solutions is most appropriate to their particular situation.

Whilst an aim of the book will surely be to develop classroom practice and enhance the pupil experience, running throughout is also a clear engagement with matters related to ensuring practitioner well-being. Opening pages for example indicate a suggested time scale for the implementation of skills associated with an induction year programme.

And finally, whilst the myriad of roles, and required tasks might prove overwhelming to those newly arrived in the school workplace, experience has shown that some duties must be of the highest priority. It is pleasing then to note, in the opening section, that strategies concerned with getting to know pupils as individuals and as groups are accorded premium status.

I feel sure that this book will be welcomed as a first point of reference by those new to the profession; however it will also undoubtedly have a value as useful aide-memoir and prompt to induction tutors and experienced teachers alike.