Friday, October 25, 2013

Birds in Children's Literature: 35 Great Books to Read (0-12 years)

In Australia it is National Bird Week (19-25 October 2013). The week is sponsored by Birdlife Australia an organisation 'dedicated to creating a bright future for Australia's birds'. As a bird lover I thought this was a great opportunity for parents and teachers to share some children's literature that feature birds. I had fun brainstorming this with daughter, son-in-law and 3 of our grandchildren. Why not celebrate the wonder of birds with some great literature.  Here are some examples that teachers might consider using.

Young Readers (0-7 years)

The following books are varied in age range from first books like 'Boo to a Goose' to more demanding picture books like 'How to heal a Broken Wing'.

1. 'Are You my Mother' by P.D. Eastman

A baby bird is hatched while his mother is away. Fallen from his nest, he sets out to look for her and asks everyone he meets -- including a dog, a cow, and a plane -- "Are you my mother?"

2. 'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus' by Mo Willems

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place - a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus' was a Caldecott Honour Book in 2004. Other books in this delightful series include 'Don't let the Pigeon Stay up Late!' and 'The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog'.

3. 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch' by Rhonda Armitage and illustrated by David Armitage. Other books in the series include 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Rescue' and 'The Lighthouse Keeper's Picnic'.

My children and grandchildren have all loved these books about Mr Grinling's adventures.

4. 'Waddle, Giggle, Gargle!' by Pamela Allen

Sitting in a tree outside Jonathan's house is a black and white magpie. 'Waddle Giggle Gargle!' the magpie shouts. A delightful story about a boisterous, swooping, waddling, giggling, gargling bird!

This book is worth a read for the language alone. A great read aloud book.

5. A bunch of books about ducks & geese. Some of my favourites:

a) 'Alexander's Outing' by Pamela Allen
b) 'Fix it Duck' , 'Duck in the Truck' and others in the same series by Jez Alborough
c) 'I Went walking' by Sue Williams and illustrated by Julie Vivas
d) 'Make Way for Ducklings' by Robert McCloskey (Caldecott Medal winner 1942).
e) 'The Story About Ping' by Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Wiese
f) 'Boo to a Goose' by Mem Fox and illustrated by David Miller
g) 'Stickybeak' by Hazel Edwards and illustrated by Rosemary Wilson
h) 'Duck and Goose' series by Tad Hills
i) 'The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck' by Beatrix Potter

6. 'Edward the Emu' by Sheena Knowles and illustrated by Rod Clement and of course 'Edwina the Emu' and by the same duo.
Edward the emu was sick of the zoo,
There was nowhere to go, there was nothing to do,
And compared to the seals that lived right next door,
Well being an emu was frankly a bore.
Tired of his life as an emu, Edward decides to try being something else for a change. He tries swimming with the seals. He spends a day lounging with the lions. He even does a stint slithering with the snakes. But Edward soon discovers that being an emu may be the best thing after all. And so he returns to his pen, only to find a big surprise awaiting him. . . .

7. 'Feathers for Phoebe' by Rod Clements

Phoebe doesn′t want to be ordinary. She wants to turn heads and be noticed - she wants to be fabulous! But when she seeks the help of the outrageous and beautiful Zelda, her transformation leads to some unexpected results.

8. Three great books about penguins

a) 'Tacky the Penguin' by Helen Lester and illustrated by Kim Munsinger
b) 'That's Not my Penguin' by Usborne Children's Books. A great first book for babies.
c) 'The Truth About Penguins' by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Mark Jackson,

9. 'Slinky Malinki, Open the Door' by Lynley Dodd

"Slinky Malinki and Stickybeak Syd were a troublesome pair; do you know what they did? Alone in the house one mischievous day, they opened a door and they started to play." Room by room, the terrible twosome wreak havoc...until they decide to see what's behind that last door. Slinky Malinki's curiosity finally gets the best of him. Collect all the Slinky Malinki books!
This is a funny book that children love from a great New Zealand author.

10. 'Owl Babies' by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson
The bay owls came out of their house,
and they sat on the tree and waited.
A big branch for Sarah, a small branch for Percy,
and an old piece of ivy for Bill.
A gorgeous book. Wonderful illustrations and delightful text.

11. 'Puffling' by Margaret Wild

Puffling is a baby—small, white, and very hungry. Every day he waits in the burrow while his parents, Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather hunt for food. As he grows, Puffling dreams of the day when he will leave his nest and fly away—but he isn’t ready yet, not until he’s tall and brave enough to fend for himself. Every day Puffling asks his parents, but every day they say he must wait until he has grown bigger. Will he ever be ready to head out into the world on his own?

12. 'How to Heal a Broken Wing' by Bob Graham

'How to Heal a Broken Wing' is a delightful story about a little boy who finds a bird with an injured wing. He takes the bird home and with his parents help, and some rest, time and a dash of hope will the bird will fly again? The book has all the usual Bob Graham trademarks, simple and engaging illustrations and an economy of words that are well crafted. It was the winner of the Australian Children's Book Council award in 2009 for best book in the Early Childhood category.

13. 'Cat and Canary' by Michael Foreman

I just love English author illustrator Michael Foreman. This is a favourite around our place.

Cat’s best friend is the canary in his apartment. Once their owner has gone out, Cat lets Canary out of his cage and they go up onto the roof together. Cat wishes he could fly, like all the birds around him, and when he finds a kite tangled in an aerial, it is too much of a temptation. But the kite carries him much too high and much too far, and Canary needs to marshall a crowd of feathered friends to tow the kite home. But Cat isn’t the least bit deterred: “Tomorrow, we can go to the land beyond the river, and still be back for tea!”

14. 'Olga the Brolga' by Rod Clement

Olga is in a terrible mood. She desperately wants to dance, but know one will dance with her. Her parents have other things to do. So, Olga decides to dance by herself, and something wonderful happens.

This great book about the famous Australian Brolga bird is ideal for kids aged 3-7 years.

15. 'There's a Bird on Your Head' by Mo Willems

If your children loved 'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus' they will also love 'There's a Bird on Your Head'. It is one of a series of very funny tales for beginner readers from this award-winning writer and illustrator.

16. 'The Last Egret: The Adventures of Charlie Pierce' by Harvey E. Oyer III

This is the second book in the series 'The Adventures of Charlie Pierce' and was inspired by the teenaged adventures of his great grand-uncle. It is an illustrated novel for grade schoolers

The experiences of his uncle were of the late 19th century Florida Everglades, when the vast South Florida wilderness was twice the size of today. In those days it was alive with snowy egrets green herons,  roseate spoonbills and many wading birds. But the birds were the target of plume hunters, shooting them simply for their feathers to use in ladies’ hats.  A great read for children aged 6-10 years.

17. 'The Bush Concert' by Helga Visser

There has been a terrible drought and the birds put on a gala concert to cheer themselves up. There is singing and dancing and magic tricks, but the final performance is the perfect end to a wonderful bush concert.

Independent readers (8-12)

18. 'Storm Boy' by Colin Thiele

Storm Boy likes to wander alone along the fierce deserted coast among the dunes that face out into the Southern Ocean off the coast of South Australia near the Coorong. A pelican mother is shot and Storm Boy rescues the three chicks, and brings them back to health. He names them Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival. He finally lets them go, but Mr Percival returns. The story follows the struggle to let Mr Percival go and has a memorable ending. A classic story from one of Australia's great writers.

19. 'The Landing: A Night of Birds' by Katherine Scholes and illustrated by David Wong

One stormy night at her grandfather's place on the windswept coast, Annie enters a boathouse occupied by injured sea birds and finds herself able to understand their speech.

This is a wonderful book that isn't known very well by children today. Check it out.

20. 'Mr Popper's Penguins'  by Richard Atwater and illustrated by Florence Atwater (Newberry Medal winner 1939).

A classic of American humour, the adventures of a house painter and his brood of high-stepping penguins have delighted children for generations. "Here is a book to read aloud in groups of all ages. There is not an extra or misplaced word in the whole story."--The Horn Book. Newbery Honour Book.

21. 'Sticky Beak' by Morris Gleitzman.

Rowena Batts has enough problems in her life without adopting a crazy cockatoo. She's just splattered two hundred grown-ups with jelly and custard, and her dad's getting married to her teacher. But Sticky the cockatoo turns out to be just the friend she needs . . .

22. 'A Kestrel for a Knave' by Barry Hines

Barry Hines's acclaimed novel continues to reach new generations of teenagers and adults with its powerful story of survival in a tough, joyless world. Billy Casper is a troubled teenager growing up in a Yorkshire mining town. Treated as a failure at school and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can. Ken Loach's well-known film adaptation, Kes, has achieved cult status and in his new afterword Barry Hines discusses working on the screen version (he adapted the novel) and reappraises a book that has become a popular classic.

This is a classic book for older readers.

23. 'Coot Club' by Arthur Ransome

It all started with a coot's nest. Dorothy and Dick meet Tom Dodgeon, Port and Starboard, and three pirate salvagers all members of the Coot Club Bird Protection Society. When one of the coot's nests is disturbed by a shipful of Hullabaloos-rude holiday boaters - trouble begins. Frantic chases, calamitous boat collisions, and near drownings fill the pages of this exciting fifth addition to Ransome's classic children's series.

You don't have to like birds to enjoy this wonderful book from one of England's most famous and awarded children's authors.

24. 'Wheel on the School' by Meindert DeJong

This 1955 Newbery Medal winner is one of my favourite books. Suitable for childrens aged 10-12. A story about how the children at a small Dutch school set out to get storks back to their village.

"Six school children bring the storks (harbingers of good luck) back to their little Dutch village. (A story) written with dramatic power and a deep insight into the minds and hearts of children".--Booklist. Newbery Medal; ALA Notable Children's Book.

25. 'The Phoenix and the Carpet' by E. Nesbitt

This wonderful novel for older readers deals with the Phoenix bird from Greek mythology that has the ability to come back to life after death. It does this by rising from the ashes after the burning of the egg from its predecessor.

The Phoenix and the Carpet is E. Nesbit's second fantasy novel and is the sequel to Five Children and It. From Robert, Anthea, Jane and Cyril's new nursery carpet there falls a mysterious egg which is hatched in the fire to reveal a benevolent, resourceful and ingenious Phoenix who explains that the carpet is possessed of magic qualities. And so begins a series of fantastic and bizarre adventures as the carpet transports the children and the Phoenix to places as diverse as a chilling French castle, a desert island and even the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company's offices, which the Phoenix believes to be a shrine for his followers.

Summing up

I would love to hear from you about some of your favourite 'bird' books. Send me a comment with your ideas.

If you're interested in some non-fiction books on birds for children check out this great post from the 'Delightful Children's Books' blog (here).

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Books that should make young readers (6-12) laugh

I receive lots of serious novels for readers of all ages and some which are rather dark. In this post I review fourteen books (including multiple titles in some series) that readers aged 6-12 years should find amusing. All are published by Allen & Unwin. I don't usually review lots of books from one publisher but they've published some great titles of this kind in 2013. Each is funny and all use illustrations in great ways to support the text.

1. The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) Books 1-3 by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Terry Denton

Ursula Dubosarsky, one of Australia's most talented writers for children, and comic legend Terry Denton have teamed up to write a series of delightful detective stories for 6 to 8 year olds.  Famous Argentinian Chief of Police Coco Carlomagno is faced by many difficult cases. He calls on his cousin Alberta to help solve each perplexing problem. Like the challenge of the floating pineapple and a terrible noise. Each occurs at the same time each day. What could be causing this? Can they solve the mystery of 'The Perplexing Pineapple'?

His next challenge in Book 2 is 'The Looming Lamplight'. Coco can see it from his office high in the Obelisco, Buenos Aires' tallest building. Why does it turn off and on? Could it be a message? How can he decode it? Once again his clever cousin Alberta will help. Book 3, 'The Missing Mongoose' deals with a missing rare and extremely valuable creature. The Buenos Aires zoo is in chaos. Can Alberta and Coco follow the clues and deduce the whereabouts of the missing mongoose? 

In each of these books the reader is invited to share the challenge of solving these unlikely mysteries through an amusing storyline and with cryptic clues, puzzles and word games. Denton's illustrations and Dubosarsky's funny texts will appeal to any young reader who likes the zany and somewhat silly scenarios. The texts are not difficult, but the stories will appeal to brighter youngsters who enjoy the challenge of word play and puzzles. A quirky new series that children will love.

2. The Sword Girl Series by Frances Watts

I have reviewed the Sword Girl series in a previous post last year and interviewed the author Ali Lavau (A.K.A. Frances Watts) HERE. Since then she has published two more 'The Terrible Trickster' and 'Pigeon Problems'. The books are illustrated by Gregory Rogers.

The central character in each book is Tommy (short for Thomasina) who is a feisty kitchen hand who longs to be a knight. When Tommy, through a series of unusual events, is finally promoted to Keeper of the Blades, her life changes. As Frances Watts shares in her interview responses in my previous post, Tommy is "a girl who wasn’t a princess or a fairy, who could be kind and thoughtful and empathetic yet still be active and adventurous and ambitious". This is the perfect book series for girls who love adventure, action and want an alternative to stereotypical books for girls.

In 'The Terrible Trickster' someone is turning Flamant Castle into a state of turmoil. Who has put sneezing powder in the knights' soup and itching powder in Sir Walter's sheets? Then, there is the changing of the salt for sugar in Mrs Moon's kitchen. All these tricks seem funny at first, but Sir Benedict is not amused. Tommy is accused of these deeds and threatens to send her away from the castle. Can she find who the real trickster is before she is banished?

In 'Pigeon Problems' Sir Walter is planning a celebration at Flamant Castle for Lady Beatrix's birthday. Games and competitions are planned as well as a surprise party. All seem excited at the castle except the pigeon. But the pigeon is needed for a very special job and he is suddenly missing. Can Tommy find her friend and save the day?

3. 'Cartboy and the Time Capsule' by L.A. Campbell

This is the first book by this American author. In her first junior novel she tells the tale of the 'horrific historic, and hilarious' year of school for sixth grader Hal Rifkind, who has the unfortunate nickname of 'Cartboy'. Hal's hilarious journal will hold the attention of most 10-12 year old readers and amuse them along the way.

Hal hates history class - it literally bores him to tears. But his father is a big history buff, and unless Hal gets a good grade this year, he'll never get his own room. Sixth grade gets off to a horrible start when history teacher Mr Tupkin gives the class an assignment to write journals that will be buried in a time capsule at the end of the year. Things get even worse when his dad makes him take his neighbour's old shopping cart to school, earning him the nickname 'Cartboy'. What else could possibly go wrong?

Hal has some disadvantages in life, like having to share a bedroom with twin baby sisters Bea and Perrie - with his bed between their cots. And then, there was his Dad's solution to the great weight of books that he had to take to school. A new Ziptuk E300S scooter that every boy would love? No! Instead he gives his son a shopping trolley to drag his books to school. The woes of Hal make compelling and amusing reading. This is a great first children's book from Lori Campbell.

4. 'Shot, Boom, Score!' by Justin Brown

Popular New Zealand author Justin Brown has written a very funny novel for 10-12 year olds about a boy named Toby who is promised a Gamebox V3 by his dad if he scores 20 wickets in cricket and 10 tries in rugby. But his every effort is foiled by the class bully. McGarvy is the biggest kid in the school and wears a shark tooth around his neck. Toby has other problems as well, including his teacher's regular detentions and the challenges of his sister (and her terrible palindromes). Toby feels at times as if only his grandmother understands him. Will he get the illusive Gamebox?

5. 'My Life as an Alphabet' by Barry Jonsberg

Barry Jonsberg has written a number of very successful books for adolescents and in this case tween readers. This very funny book is no exception. This first person narrative is in a journal/diary form with a twist (the alphabet) and will engage readers 10-13 years. Twelve-year-old Candice Phee manages to amuse those around her despite the bizarre mix-ups and the confusion she creates. In the words of Candice:

This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.

Candice takes her through the alphabetical A-Z experiences of her life:
A is for assignment - A recount on her life, how could that go wrong?
B is for birth - "I wasn't there at my birth", well not "as a reliable witness", so what was it like?
C is for chaos - "Classrooms are battlegrounds."
And so on. Each chapter is a recount by Candice of some part of her life, and each is very funny. Barry Jonsberg does a wonderful job communicating an authentic voice for this slightly crazy (well at least quirky) twelve-year-old girl. Ten to twelve year old Girls (and boys) will love this book

6. 'Don' Look Now' series by Paul Jennings and illustrated by Andrew Weldon

Paul Jennings needs no introduction, he is one of Australia's most popular writers of children's books. With over 100 titles to his name he has an international following. This latest series of 'small' books for 7-11 year old readers will be well received. The books are a collaboration between author and illustrator, as many of his books are. Andrew Weldon has a done a great job to support Jenning's text with his amusing line drawings, maps, diagrams, lists and so on. The books centre on 'Ricky an ordinary boy...' who always seems to be having unusual and exciting adventures.

Each title has two separate stories. In 'Don't Look Now: Book 1 - Falling for It and The Kangapoo Key Ring', Ricky can fly, well sometimes. You knew there would be a hitch. Ricky has a very active imagination. When most kids look at the clouds they see basic stuff, a dog, a car, a bear... But not Ricky, he sees a "stallion wild and free", it stands 22 hands high and is surrounded by a herd of other horses. In 'Book 2 - A Magician Never Tells and Elephant Bones' we have two stories about Ricky the boy who can fly (sometimes). In the first he discovers another thing about himself. He can do magic. In the second he discovers buried treasure in his yard, an elephant! In 'Book Three - Hair Cut and Just a Nibble' Ricky is desperate to impress Samantha. He wants to be famous! He can't let her see him fly, but he's willing to try almost anything else. In 'Book 4: Hobby Farm and Seeing Red' the relationship with Samantha grows, but still his desire to be famous is strong. Can he realise this dream even though he can't let anyone know he can fly?

Each of the books is a very easy read. Children aged 6-11 will enjoy the books, and given the amount of illustrations, it will be a quick read in spite of the 200 pages plus length of each book. The books are physically small (13 by 16 cm). I'm sure they will be very popular.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Shape of Text to Come: How Image & Text Work

Unfortunate placement can change everything! (Image T.Cairney)

Australian colleague Jon Callow has published an excellent book for teachers and teacher education students that considers the role that image plays in meaning making. He writes:

'Visual images are hard to ignore. They pervade our waking hours and sometimes our sleep. Even when we are focusing on a particular task, our eyes are taking in all sorts of visual cues, interpreting them, choosing to notice or ignore them. Even before the advent of paper, books and computer screens, the world for most people was a visual text.'

The book practices what it teaches by beautifully combining image and word to communicate its message. It opens with consideration of the way image and word work together, in fact, the way that the visual presentation of the word itself can change meaning. It then follows with an excellent chapter that offers a framework based on linguistic register (field, tenor & mode) for teachers to explore the multimodality of texts: What's happening? How do we interact and relate? How do design and layout build meaning?

A photo I took in Athens in 2000. There is intent in the photo & interplay of image & words

A photo I took in the UK
Chapter three considers how the visual is used to express actions, ideas, present characters and participants and show the circumstances. Chapter four considers how images can show feelings, attitudes, credibility and power. How does gaze to viewer change things in an image? How is authenticity and credibility communicated? Chapter five explores the use of visual resources and devices like design and layout for organising logical and cohesive texts. Finally, chapter six considers some practical principles for selecting texts and activities in the classroom.

Jon Callow and the publishers the Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) have done a wonderful job with this book. Its message is timely, the design is beautiful supporting and contributing to the message, and it combines good theory and practice in a way that teachers will find accessible, challenging and practical. It's available from PETAA.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Six Marks of a Great Teacher

Memories of great teachers

Photo courtesy Wiki Commons
Have you ever wondered what makes a great teacher? Have you or your children had some great teachers? I can think of two or three teachers who made a difference to my life. My memories of them are rich but the methods they used to engage me were very simple (and in some cases unconventional). All had a deep commitment to their teaching and empathy for their students. They wanted me to learn and saw potential within me that other teachers weren't able to see. For example, my 4th grade teacher Mr Campbell when confronted with a new aquarium in his classroom turned to me (a difficult and disinterested student) one day and said, "I'd like you to find out all that you can about tropical fish". He gave me a book and sent me off to find out about them and how to care for them. Several weeks later he asked me to present a mini-lesson to the class on tropical fish.  I was now the school expert on tropical fish! This was a critical turning point for me in this classroom.

One of my Year 11 teachers, Mr Hubbard, simply showed me that geography could be exciting by sharing his love of the subject and something of his life with a small group of senior students who he seemed to care for. He made it interesting by setting tasks that made us explore, solve problems and work collaboratively with others. And all the while he showed genuine interest in our lives.

Photo courtesy Wiki Commons

None of my best teachers used startling methods, but all showed an ability to see some potential in me and to try to reach and engage me. They also tried to understand me relationally, treating me with respect, believing in me and somehow, helping me to believe in myself. That's the art of good teaching.

Research on Great Teachers

There have been many attempts to describe what makes an excellent teacher, but many end up being descriptions that are set against the question what makes a bad teacher. I don't find this is helpful. I was part of a research team in 2003-2005 that considered the question 'what are the characteristics of an effective teacher'? But we tried to do this in a positive way. That is, we spent a lot of time doing research in schools in order to understand what successful teachers (based on student results) did that made them effective. The final report for the project was called 'In Teachers’ Hands: Effective: Literacy Teaching Practices in the Early Years of Schooling' (You can download the full report from my website HERE).

Our study used existing national Australian data on school and class performance to identify classrooms where students made significantly greater progress than could be expected. That is, we considered performance based on the school's previous performance and considered socio-demographic factors that traditionally affect student performance (e.g. parent education, poverty etc). In simple terms, we chose classrooms that out performed other like schools and classrooms. We didn't compare results across varied contexts; instead we chose classrooms that stood out compared to like classrooms demographically.

We then visited the schools across Australia and spent time talking with the teacher and students and observing classroom practice. We also videotaped the teachers’ literacy teaching practices and analysed them to try to identify common factors that seemed to be key factors for the teachers. I was involved in classroom observations as was every member of the research team. The teachers we observed were varied in personality, age and style. But as we carefully analysed our data, including numerous hours of videotapes, we found that there were six key dimensions to the behaviour and practices we observed in all effective teachers. That is, they displayed specific characteristics in their pedagogy in relation to ‘participation’, ‘knowledge’, ‘orchestration’, ‘support’, ‘differentiation’ and ‘respect’.

1. Participation - Effective teachers managed to organise their classrooms well (resources, planning etc) and motivated students to take part in lessons. They got their attention, engaged them, stimulated interest, enabled them to gain pleasure from learning; and they did this often.

2. Knowledge - The teachers had strong knowledge of literacy and were able to teach significant skills and concepts, using the class environment (including resources) to explain, create a sense of purpose, model, and often offer language to make sense of new knowledge.

3. Orchestration - The best teachers orchestrated their classrooms like a good conductor. They kept things moving, showed great awareness of what was going on ('eyes in the back of the head'), built in some structure and yet could be flexible. They also managed the pace of the lesson and were excellent at lesson transitions.

4. Support - Effective teachers also offered great support for learners and offered scaffolding. They offered good feedback, were responsive to needs and problems and were explicit in their explanations and instructions. They were also persistent in moving learning forward. There was pace to instruction.

5. Differentiation - Another key quality was their ability to offer differentiated opportunities for all learners that offered challenge, individual opportunities for learning and growth, variation in learning and connection to their lives and their needs. The classrooms were inclusive of all learners not just some.

6. Respect - Great teachers also showed great respect for their students, which seemed to flow on to students showing respect for one another. In their classrooms we saw much warmth and rapport. Students also demonstrated good skills as class citizens and had a degree of independence as learners as they worked together.

What this research project demonstrated for me is that often conversations about what makes a good or bad teacher focus on the wrong things. We need to spend less time analysing the curriculum methods that our teacher use and more time making sure that they demonstrate the six key dimensions discussed above.

If you'd like to see what some of this teacher behaviour looks like you can view some videos of the teachers in action on the 'In Teachers' Hands' website HERE