Review by Emma Cate Stokes

Key stage one phase lead, East Sussex

30 Jun 2024, 5:00

Book

Teaching One Pagers: Evidence-informed summaries for busy educational professionals

By Jamie Clark

Publisher

John Catt

ISBN 10

1398388653

Published

24 May 2024

As a long-time fan of Clark’s widely shared online educational resources, I approached Teaching one-pagers with high expectations, especially given the impressive testimonials from notable figures like Mary Myatt, Kate Jones, John Hattie and Tom Sherrington. Suffice it to say, the book essentially delivers on these expectations and proves to be a valuable addition to any contemporary pedagogical library.

From the outset, Clark sets a clear and accessible tone. He acknowledges that the “one pagers” within the book are not exhaustive explanations but rather succinct overviews aimed at introducing busy educators to various educational theories, tools and practices. This approach is both the book’s greatest strength and, occasionally, a minor limitation.

The book is a perfect fit for the busy teacher seeking to stay current with best practices, but lacking the time to delve deeply into multiple theories. It’s structured into three main sections: learning and memory, expert teaching principles and classroom culture. Each populated with these concise, visually appealing summaries.

One of the book’s standout features is its design. Clark not only authored but also designed the book, and he has a remarkable talent for visualising abstract concepts in a clear, accessible manner. The visuals throughout Teaching one-pagers are genuinely spectacular, transforming potentially dense material into engaging and easily digestible content.

This is particularly beneficial for educators at all stages of their careers, from novice teachers to seasoned professionals. The visual representation of concepts aids understanding and retention, embodying the very principles of effective teaching that the book advocates.

Another strong point is the book’s organisation into one-pagers with accompanying recommended readings. Each summary serves as a gateway to deeper exploration, should the reader wish to pursue it.

This flexibility makes the book an excellent resource for continuous professional development libraries and instructional coaching sessions. Teachers can quickly grasp key ideas and, if desired, follow up with more in-depth reading at their convenience.

It combines clarity, practicality and aesthetic appeal, making it an invaluable tool

In terms of content, the one-pagers are rich with practical examples. Clark excels at illustrating each idea in practice, bridging the gap between abstract theory and classroom application.

This practical focus is crucial, as it helps educators visualise and implement new strategies effectively. However, while the examples Clark provides are diverse, the book does lean more towards secondary and further or higher education contexts. Primary and early years educators can still benefit greatly from the content, but they may need to adapt the examples to better fit their specific contexts.

Another minor critique is the inherent limitation of the one-pager format: depth. By design, these summaries are not comprehensive. While this makes them accessible and easy to read, those looking for more detailed explorations of certain topics may find the one pagers somewhat brief.

However, this is mitigated by the suggested further readings, which provide ample opportunities for deeper dives into each subject.

It’s also a book that clearly taps into the zeitgeist. It is very much in the mould of Tom Sherrington and Oliver Caviglioli’s Teaching walk-thrus, for example. But there’s plenty of room on CPD bookshelves to give teachers choice over style and content, and this book’s practical utility cannot be overstated.

It is ideal for quick-yet-effective learning sessions, alone or to provide structure for mentoring or coaching. Whatever the context, its strategies are easily implementable in everyday teaching practice.

In conclusion, Teaching One Pagers is a superb resource for educators. It combines clarity, practicality and aesthetic appeal, making it an invaluable tool for professional development.

Jamie Clark has successfully created a book that is both informative and visually engaging, reflecting his skill in making complex educational concepts accessible. While it may require some adaptation for primary educators, its broad applicability and practical focus make it a worthy addition to any teacher’s toolkit.

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