The Creative Teaching and Learning Resource Book (Creativity for Learning)

Author(s) Brin Best, Will Thomas
Publisher Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Published 2008
Pages 238
Price £24.99
ISBN 9780826483768
Reviewed by Mrs Margaret Simms
Review published 1 October 2009

A bright red toolbox brimming over with teaching resources appropriately illustrates the cover of Best and Thomas’ The Creative Teaching and Learning Resource Book. I would not recommend the toolbox for use by inexperienced enthusiasts. Rather for use by teachers who already manifest effective teaching and learning strategies, and who are keen to try out new practical strategies designed to enhance teaching and learning experiences. 

The authors introduce their work with a detailed explanation of perceived challenges to teaching and strategies to overcome them. There are six chapters: Chapter 1 – Vision; Chapter 2 - Climate for Learning; Chapter 3 - Teaching and Learning Strategies; Chapter 4 – Reflection; Chapter 5 - Teacher’s Professional and Personal Domain; and Chapter 6 - Sustaining Creative Practice.  

Teachers will find that strategies aligned to each chapter are practical and resourceful, that intended outcomes are clear, and timings of application useful for embedding one or more strategies within overall lesson plans.  Ingenuity of positioning each strategy within the National Curriculum thinking skills is a further supportive feature of this book.

A summary of the tools contained in each of the chapters encourages readers to rummage for appropriate tools. For example, the section on ‘Vision’ in Chapter One, offers tools for understanding and resolving conflict between people and organisations, building vision in and beyond the classroom, and progressing out of a position of creative stagnation. 

One highly recommended tool is ‘Storymaker’. This learning resource takes the form of a board game. It is useful for teachers and learners within and without the classroom. The aim is for individual players or teams to weave together ideas, events, characters, experiences and prompt cards, working their way along a story path at the throw of a dice. Ultimately ‘players’ reflect on what has been learned, how to go forward and what advice to offer others in similar situations.

There is so much practical and creative information oozing from this book that it is worth the reader spending a while browsing through the chapters, this will facilitate familiarity of content and enable the teacher to make the best possible use of the resources for their specific purposes. 

I recommend this book for teachers of primary and secondary school pupils. Teachers of older students may also find this creative approach to teaching invaluable.

A further, and potentially even more creative, use of The Creative Teaching and Learning Resource Book is to offer the resource to pupils. Though experimental, the experience of choosing tools to enhance their own learning may itself create new teaching strategies. One tool which may suit this purpose is ‘100 creative activities for keeping variety alive in the classroom’ in Chapter 3.