Big Ideas in Education

What every teacher should know

By: Russell Grigg


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Products specifications
Attribute nameAttribute value
Size234 x 156mm
PublishedJune 2016

Big Ideas in Education: What Every Teacher Should Know by Dr Russell Grigg provides an accessible and easily understood introductory guide to the big ideas that really matter in education.

The teaching profession is saturated with ideas. Unfortunately, some of these are half-baked or fundamentally flawed. Dr Russell Grigg moves beyond the unhelpful supposed dichotomies that pervade current educational thinking – child-centred versus teacher-centred, traditional versus progressive. Throughout the book, readers are invited to question assumptions and popular rhetoric and reflect on their own experiences. Big Ideas in Education aims to equip teachers with a good understanding of current thinking in a diverse, fluid and dynamic field. Each of the big ideas is discussed within the framework of four questions: what is the big idea, who is behind it, why is it important and what can you do?

Big ideas are important, distinctive, empowering, adaptable and simple to understand. Dr Russell Grigg provides readers with a concise and reliable introduction to twelve such ideas, which are at the core of educational practice. The ideas chosen are general rather than subject-specific in nature. In turn, they invite the reader to look at teaching in wider society, address elements of learning which teachers actively promote, raise questions about why, how and what to teach and, finally, look at ways of improving the quality of education.

The twelve big ideas under discussion are:

1. Education – education goes beyond the school gates and is a lifelong experience

2. Childhood – children need time and space to explore, enjoy learning and develop as children rather than miniature adults

3. Knowledge – knowledge is the foundation for learning

4. Skills – learners need to develop a broad range of skills in real-life, relevant contexts

5. Dispositions – effective learning depends upon cultivating positive dispositions

6. Ethics – teachers' conduct should be guided by a moral purpose

7. Instruction – direct instruction is a tried-and-tested means of effective teaching

8. Curriculum – the curriculum is all the learning and assessment activities in school, both planned and unintentional, that contribute to agreed educational goals

9. Feedback – providing personalised, accurate, specific and timely feedback is one of the keys to improving learning

10. Reflective practice – good teachers critically analyse their practice with a view to improving what they do

11. Research – research has a central role to play in the professional development of teachers

12. Professional leadership – effective school leadership operates at all levels and is about shared vision, support and securing improvement

An ideal book for busy teachers who need to be kept up to speed with the latest thinking in education, this comprehensive guide provides the essential knowledge to keep you fully informed, whether leading staff discussions, submitting assignments or preparing for interviews. Suitable for teachers in any setting, from trainees and NQTs to more experienced practitioners looking to reflect on their practice, the book will also appeal to school leaders and teacher training providers.

Picture for author Russell Grigg

Russell Grigg

Dr Russell Grigg was previously an associate professor at the Wales Centre for Equity in Education, and has extensive experience in teacher training and has written many books and articles on the subject of primary education. Since 2018, Russell has been working as an education inspector for the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates.

Click here to take a look at Russell's Padlet page, where he asks for your contributions to the question, What's the best idea in education ever?'.

Check out the new Teaching on a Shoestring website.


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