Book Review: Teacher-Proof

Academic Computing

The simplest way to describe Tom Bennett’s new book, Teacher Proof, is that it is to school education what Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science was to healthcare. The book takes various teaching initiatives and fads — emotional intelligence, learning styles, 21st century skills — and debunks them in turn. I’ve read the book, and this post is my review.

teacher-proof

Debunking

A comparison to “Bad Science” reveals the whole issue with science in education. In “Bad Science”, the pattern goes:

  1. Here’s some crazy idea — homeopathy, acupuncture, etc — and all its barmy beliefs.
  2. Here’s the supposed evidence for the crazy idea, and why it’s all junk.
  3. Here’s how medicine/biology/chemistry actually works.
  4. Tying them together, this is why the crazy idea can’t work.

In “Teacher Proof”, the pattern goes:

  1. Here’s some crazy idea — NLP, learning styles, etc — and all its barmy beliefs.
  2. Here’s the supposed evidence for the crazy…

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I teach
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