How to be a Successful Teacher - Strategies for Personal and Professional Development

Author(s) Paul Castle and Scott Buckler
Publisher SAGE
Published 2009
Pages 232
Price £18.99
ISBN 9781849200172
Reviewed by Dr Liane Purnell
Newman University College
Review published 22 January 2010

I picked the book up thinking that I’d better have a look at it as the deadline for submission of my review is looming and… I found myself hooked! Ten minutes later I was still reading for pleasure. I even found myself laughing! This is in direct contradiction to the rather off putting back cover which refers to psychology three times in three bullet points! It claims to be ‘readily accessible’ and certainly it is: the foreword gripped me as I am interested in emotional intelligence and it was an excellent hook to draw you in. it centres on the fact that ‘work has got to be fun hasn’t it? Otherwise y’know, it’s just that: work!’ (page x).

The ‘how to use this book’ is engaging from the start and does not say that you have to read all of the book for it to be useful: a good start! Each chapter has:

•  An introduction
•  Objectives
•  A one minute summary
•  Short term strategies
•  Mentoring issues
•  Further reading

And the majority of chapters contain:

•  Reflection
•  Activities
•  Summary boxes
•  Key statements
•  Case studies
•  Links to the website.

It does claim to be academic, claiming to adopt an informal style, with ‘just enough’ theory. The pages appear to be text dense but significant points in bold do break them up. Good use is made of sub headings. It is very effective if you dip in as the mood takes or situations demand.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on assertiveness. It defines assertiveness clearly, sets interesting activities and a useful tool for reflection as well as provides a really interesting narrative example of it in action. In fact I tried some of it out and it worked! In fact I was surprised how well it worked and how unstressful it was: no, I wasn’t going to take on someone else’s twenty five sessions at three days notice because……. and the other person was happy!

The further reading is up to date and relevant, and the brief commentaries concerning each are useful.

I can’t say much more than this other than…… read it!