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We are all caught up in our children's lives. We all remember our own schooldays and, as parents, we watch anxiously as our children go through it. As we look at the world of teaching from the outside we wonder not only what is going on but what we can do to help. Jonathan Smith, a born teacher and writer, takes us on his personal journey from his first days as a pupil through to the challenges of his professional and private life on the other side of the desk. He makes us feels what it is like to be a teacher facing the joys and the battles of a class. How do you influence a child? He describes how you catch and stretch their minds. What difference can a teacher make, or how much damage can he do? Should clever pupils teach themselves? What works in the classroom world and what does not? And while influencing the young, how do you develop yourself, how do you teach yourself to keep another life and find that elusive balance? This is a compelling and combative story, warmly anecdotal in approach, yet as sharp in its views of the current debates as it is sensitive in its psychological understanding. From the first page to the last, and without a hint of jargon, this inspiring book rings true.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349113883
ISBN-10: 0349113882
Format: Paperback
(204mm x 127mm x 17mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 7-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » The Learning Game should perhaps be called 'The Teaching GAme', but novelist, BBC Script writer and teacher Jonathan Smith would say that the two are interconnected enough to be the same thing. 'This is a very personal book - a sort of autobiography with no pretensions to be a state of the art - state of education we're in, kind of book', he tells us. Smith is the son of two teachers; his father, the child of a Rhonda Valley Miner became a headmaster, so for many years they 'lived over the shop' and teaching entered young Jonathan's blood. In this fascinatingly readable and idiosyncratic life story, we learn about school Clays as a primary, secondary and sixth form student and of course as a Junior and Senior Master - never as a headmaster. He was determined not to be involved in too much administration. He lets us into many staff room secrets and paints a vivid picture of the demands and rewards of teaching today. There are passages on the pros and cons of exams - on parent power (much stronger now than in the 60's) and the status of the teacher (much lower now). We can deduce who his gurus are - psychiatrist Anthony Starr, poets Wordsworth and Philip Larkin, the novelist E.M. Forster, School Masters A.C. Bennet and Eric Scarborough and above all Uncle Bert, the sickly but lively-minded uncle whose bad health kept him at home and who was Smith's first and most important mentor. Read this book if you are thinking of becoming a teacher, or even a parent - there are excellent tips on how to catch and stretch a young mind. And if you are still a pupil, it will help you get the hang of teacher's minds, which can be a a pretty useful bit of knowledge. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith is the author of WILFRID AND EILEEN (made into a BBC TV series) and SUMMER IN FEBRUARY (published by Abacus). He also wrote THE HEAD MAN; a series of plays for Radio 4. He is the head of English at Tonbridge School.

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