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Martin Illingworth

"Above all else, develop your students’ presence of mind and offer them an education of hope."

‘You really need to have this man working under your umbrella’ is how Martin Illingworth was first brought to our attention.

He had been speaking at a literacy conference and had made such an impression that one of the delegates felt moved to email us there and then.

And we were very pleased she did.

At that time, Martin was still a practising teacher with a depth of experience and wisdom in the teaching of English and literacy, a keen eye for the absurdities of government policies, a professional anger at the resulting waste of human potential and a trenchant Northern wit that made him such an engaging and inspiring speaker.

Now, as a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University’s School of Education, as well as a consultant for The National Association for the Teaching of English and a regular speaker for Independent thinking, Martin is able to share his common-sense approaches to education generally and literacy and English specifically, with a wider audience but still with an acute sense of what is wrong with education and schools and, importantly, what we can all do about it.  

It is a call to action best summed up in the title of his first book for the Independent Thinking Press, Think Before You Teach.

Great external speaker – motivating and inspiring but most importantly engaging. A very thought provoking talk!

Martin Illingworth was very motivational…pinning knowledge to emotions or feelings…laugh – cry – remember

It’s hard to concentrate when you are laughing so much. On the other hand, Martin Illingworth is passionate about teaching kids and the poignant moments make you think about what you are doing

Martin Illingworth’s philosophy is inspiring

Most inspiring talk I've ever listened to. I felt very emotional at times and it has really made me think about my role as a teacher. Every school needs to have you and Mikey Markham visit them!

Apart from his work at Sheffield Hallam with responsibility for the training of English teachers through PGCE and School Direct routes, Martin is also a writer and a researcher.

His first major work study was the result of a Canadian secondment where he examined teacher training, collating his findings into a short book Education in the Age of the Information Super Highway for the Canadian Journal for Education.

Currently he is working on a new book for the Independent Thinking Press entitled Forget School, drawing on his research with young people for whom school held very little purpose or relevance, something that has not prevented them from being successful in their chosen path.

This passion for ensuring schools and schooling is relevant for all children is something he touched on in his contribution for our most recent collaborative book The Working Class with a chapter entitled The Only Fresh Air Is Outside in the Yard. It is a powerful piece that he has also turned into a short video.

Linked to this is the life-changing work that Martin is doing in schools in partnership with performance poet and Independent Thinking Associate Mikey Markham (AKA Rhythmical Mike). This unique collaboration sees them working together both to help teachers in their approaches to some of our most hard-to-reach young people as well as working directly with children and students on poetry, performance and the power of education.

A humorous, engaging, experienced and honest speaker, Martin challenges us to make sure that we put as much thinking into our lessons as we do teaching. In this way, everyone benefits.

  • Martin has been with Independent Thinking since January 2014
  • You'll find him in our Teaching and Learning topic area
  • You might also want to consider Mikey Markham or Phil Beadle
  • Ask us about Martin's prices and current availability and for details on how to save money when you book, click here.

Make a booking, ask a question or just say hello.

Give us a call on +44 (0)1267 211432, drop us a line at learn@independentthinking.co.uk or hit the button.

Our office in lovely West Wales will then get in touch before you can say 'meddylwyr annibynnol'.