"There's doing what's right and there's doing what you're told. You choose."
The most common response from teachers who have travelled from across the country to see Jonathan Lear at work in his wonderful inner-city primary school where he is a deputy head is a sense of ‘Why aren’t we doing it like this?’.
And they don’t really have an answer. After all, there is nothing stopping them apart from a sense that way we’ve always done it is the only way. But there’s always another other way.
What Jonathan does is to bring the curriculum to life for children of all backgrounds and academic abilities through a combination of exciting and authentic real-life experiences, coupled with teaching children the skills of peer critique, mastery, thinking for themselves and taking a huge amount of care and pride in their work.
It is a no-nonsense approach to bringing the best out of children that hits all the right buttons when it comes to Ofsted and SATs, even though hitting the Ofsted and SATs buttons is the last thing they are trying to do.
What the whole school is driven by is making each day as enjoyable, effective, challenging and productive as possible. It is something that all the many visitors to the school and to Jonathan’s classroom in particular see happening in a hugely inspiring way, one that does lead to the inevitable question – what’s really stopping us all teaching like this?
Apart from being a first-rate teacher, Jonathan is also making a name for himself as an entertaining and challenging speaker who never fails to entertain and enthral an audience. Drawing on his experience both in the classroom and as a deputy head, he is not only able to share with his audiences many practical ideas to improve the quality and nature of teaching and learning in the classroom, but also an understanding from a leadership position of how to make change happen - and what might get in the way.
I came to a talk you did up in North Tyneside and thought it was great what you do at your school. Just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration, it’s made a massive difference to my job
Jonathan Lear was an outstanding speaker. He truly engaged with the audience, captivated us, and introduced us to both new ways of thinking and practical applications of this
Jonathan is absolutely phenomenal, simply the best speaker I have ever heard in my career. Mind blowing!
Amazing. Mr Lear is a true genius in the teaching world
Just had the utter joy of hearing @GuerillaEd speak at an NQT conference. Funny, insightful and inspiring...an utter joy!
He was undoubtedly the best speaker I have ever heard
That morning we had looking at your curriculum and the opportunities the kids are getting really gave me a boost. Just wanted to say thanks for the inspiration, it’s made a massive difference to my job.
From the application of Robert A. Bjork’s concept of ‘desirable difficulty’ and the teaching of self-regulated learning to getting lesson planning down to a fine art and proving how effective concept-based learning can be even in the most challenging inner-city environment, Jonathan’s work shows what can be done.
It's a radical and inspiring approach to the primary curriculum that combines academic rigour and research, creativity, the bravery to trial new approaches and the confidence at leadership level to get rid of the things schools think they have to do to focus on embedding the stuff that really matters.
On top of that, Jonathan has also introduced the idea of Guerrilla Teaching to the world through his first book of the same name, encouraging teachers everywhere to take the fight for a decent curriculum to the hills, regardless of what the latest government edict is. He has followed this up with a brand-new book cunningly entitled The Monkey-Proof Box, detailing the whole-school curriculum development work that schools can employ in order to bring teaching and learning to life in their own classrooms.
So, if you are looking for living proof that there is always another other way if you're brave enough to seize it, then Jonathan Lear is the Associate you have been looking for, no monkeying about.
- Jonathan has been with Independent Thinking since 2012
- You'll find Jonathan in our Leadership and Teaching and Learning topic areas
- You might also want to consider Mark Creasy or Simon Cooper Hind
- Ask us about Jonathan's prices and current availability and for details on how to save money when you book, click here.
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