York teacher’s new book aims to help make confident teachers

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A LEADING teacher from Yorkshire is the author of a new book aimed at promoting the confidence of those who work in the classroom in the face of major political reforms of the education system.

Alex Quigley said the scale of simultaneous reforms happening around the curriculum, academisation, GCSEs and key stage three had created uncertainty for the teaching profession.

Alex Quigley. Huntington School'S director of learning and research and author of the new book.

Alex Quigley. Huntington School'S director of learning and research and author of the new book.

But he told The Yorkshire Post he wanted to make teachers realise how much power and influence their work has.

He said the advice and strategies contained in his new book, The Confident Teacher, was drawn from both personal experience and from education research.

The English teacher and director of learning and research at Huntington School, York, said: “We must focus on the positive powers teachers possess to undertake self-improvement and become more confident, regardless of the political debates that stir outside of the classroom.

“There has not been a positive narrative about being a teacher for sometime and its something that needs to change.

“But one thing I say to teachers is we have more autonomy to teach than we realise. Once we close that classroom door there isn’t a politician or a school leader telling us what to do.”

He added: “One truth I have realised in my time as a school leader is that the most important decisions that influence school improvement are near invisible. They are undertaken by teachers, and students, every day within our classrooms. This book is about helping teachers to make those decisions that little bit more successfully.”

The book has been praised by the education expert who led the London Challenge, a project credited with helping to transform school standards in the capital.

Sir Tim Brighouse, the former commissioner for London Schools said: “You can almost smell this book’s authenticity.

“It speaks so directly to teachers in the classroom and with such a genuine empathy which arises from being there himself on a daily basis.”

Mr Quigley’s book says that even the best teachers are beset by doubts, when faced with a large workload and political upheaval.

But it says: “Through better organisation, using body language effectively, combatting stress and developing confident students, teachers can develop the habits, characteristics and pedagogy that will enable them to do the best job possible, whatever policy makers throw at them.”

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