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Hywel Roberts

Botheredness - Creative pedagogies - Storytelling

There are many reasons why Hywel is one of the most in-demand educational speakers around and why he is so much more than the self-styled ‘man in the Matalan suit’.

For one, he is an incredibly witty and entertaining speaker, as much at home in front of a group of ten-year-olds in a special school as he is a large audience of teachers.

He has that rare talent of being able to tell stories that both make you laugh and make you cry, often at the same time, combining his wide experience in all sorts of classrooms with all sorts of children with an academic insight into engagement, motivation, teaching and learning.

He also knows his way around even the most challenging of classrooms.

Originally a drama teacher cutting his teeth in some of the North of England’s most demanding school environments – including special schools and PRUs - Hywel shows how to bring the learning to life for even the most disaffected children and young people. In particular, he has drawn on and adapted the work of Dorothy Heathcote, with whom he studied, and her powerful Mantle of the Expert approach to learner engagement.

Recent titles include:

  • Botheredness, Curriculum and Investment
  • Making Learning Matter - The Warm v Cold Curriculum
  • Bringing Learning to Life - Stories, Stance and Pedagogy

Tapping into children’s innate curiosity and willingness to suspend disbelief in the company of an engaging adult, Hywel shows teachers how to breathe life into the curriculum in a way that has children learning and eager for more, despite their best intentions. It is this ability to ‘trick’ children and young people into learning that led to the naming of his hugely popular first book Oops! Helping children learn accidentally. He's also added another book to his list, named eponymously after the trait he believes all teachers should display in spades - Botheredness.

At a time when people are challenging the whole idea that children need to be engaged and invested in their own learning, believing that discipline and ‘no excuses’ are what is needed to keep a difficult class on task, Hywel shows that creativity, humour, imagination and what he calls ‘botheredness’ might be a far better set of professional skills to bring to any classroom.

On top of being a first-rate practitioner who spends a great deal of his time as a ‘travelling teacher’ working with young people and their teachers in their classrooms across the UK and abroad, Hywel has recently completed his MA in Education at Leeds Beckett University where he was awarded a ‘Distinction’ for the originality and insightfulness of his academic study. He also leads the PGCE programme in Drama at Huddersfield University, supports the Masters programme in Drama and Creative Writing at Leeds Beckett University and contributes to university education programmes in Sheffield, Liverpool, Durham and Wolverhampton.  

Apart from his huge popularity as a speaker, Hywel also writes a regular column for the TES and, his second book written with friend and fellow Independent Thinking Associate Dr Debra Kidd and entitled Uncharted Territorieshas been very well received, full of practical inspiration to bring learning to life for all.

If you are looking for ideas to add creativity, imagination and magic to your lessons in a way that has children and young people engaged and working independently, regardless of academic ability or prior behavioural issues, and a hugely entertaining speaker for a conference keynote, an INSET event or to come in and model his work with children and students in your classroom, then Hywel is definitely who you are looking for.

We guarantee that after time spent with Hywel you will be, in his own words, ‘proper buzzing’.

Staff were buzzing with enthusiasm and full of ideas to incorporate into their practice – he was inspiring – thank you so much

Would just like to say Hywel was BRILLIANT yesterday. He’d really listened to our needs as a school and crafted something bespoke around these. He was warm, open, engaging and the staff really took on board great ideas

Your enthusiasm and zest is contagious and is spreading across the school, which ultimately benefits those that really matter- the learners!

Hywel's talk was fantastic - just what we needed. It was uplifting, inspirational and of course, with his humour and 'light-touch' was very entertaining whilst delivering some important and powerful messages

Hywel Roberts gave a resonating and inspirational presentation to us all.

Great ideas, fantastically funny delivery, would love to hear more

Reminded me of how teaching and the curriculum should be

Really funny and great ideas to inspire that investment in learning

Please pass our sincere thank you on to Hywel for an amazing talk

As expected, Hywel did not disappoint. His exuberant character and innovative ideas of how we engage children was the perfect combination to meet the brief I set out

Well prepared, full of energy, poignant messages and inspirational ways to motivate and move our school forward

To say there has been a buzz around school since Monday would be an understatement

Thank you so much for your brilliantly original and so relevant session yesterday at our Conference. The feedback has been terrific. It is a real pleasure working with you

Thank you SO much for talking to us all yesterday. You were a much needed boost for us all and gave us a lot to think about...so many people have said that they wanted to listen to you for longer

Hywel was amazing yesterday, as I knew he would be

Staff are saying things like 'Best speaker I have listened to' and 'So real'. They are currently busy reflecting and putting into planning his ideas and it will be amazing to see the difference in opportunity for our school

Thought you might like an update on how we are getting on with our Pirates topic after the wonderful discovery learning session you did with my Year 2s class a few weeks ago. The children are absolutely loving it and it has truly worked as a hook!

This is just a short note to say how impressed we were with the training Hywel delivered today. It was well aligned to the direction in which we wish to travel and fit perfectly with our school aims and values

Hywel engaged all staff from start to finish with his manner and humour, but, more importantly, his message was clear, sharp, thoughtful, and rooted in the importance of having high expectations of all children

It is obvious that Hywel has a huge heart for children, teachers, education with creativity at its heart, and a passion for ensuring that every child feels valued and can thrive during their time at school

Thank you for the inspirational talk delivered to our staff this afternoon. The content was pitched perfectly, and it prompted a reflective discussion about our own teaching experiences and pedagogical practices

May I just say what an absolute pleasure and delight it was to have Hywel in my school for the past 2 days. Teachers have been left fully enthused after observing his inspirational teaching and listening to his intent, and as for the children....they truly experienced the WOW of teaching

Hywel on Friday was fabulous, a very engaging speaker

I've just come out of the hall where 45 six year olds travelled by longship and have found a piece of flat land surrounded by trees a river and mountains. They all have a Viking name and have already named their settlement, collected wood to build longhouses, collected food, and water and built fires. I can't tell you how excited and happy the teachers are and how involved the children are in problem solving and vocabulary is being thrown about left, right and centre

Hywel's session was collaborative and powerful. The way he infused fun and happiness through a roller coaster journey of emotional, real-life exploration, of a range of scenarios was incredible

This training will empower the voice of our children through storytelling and drama, within a rich multi-disciplined methodology. A huge thank you Hywel

Thank you Hywel and Debra for our INSET. Their experiences and skills came through in a fantastic way and encouraged great discussion in the afternoon.
Ps - I don't think I've heard such a laughter in an INSET before!

Thank you for your speech - it was perfect. It was just what the parents needed to hear, what some of the staff needed to hear and the message that the governors wanted putting out there. And it was delivered in your trademark fun and anecdotal style that is so enjoyable to listen to

It is clear that our delegates found your speech hugely uplifting and inspirational

We purposely took the decision to place you at the end of the programme as we knew your speech would be funny, serious, and entertaining. We also hoped that it would send our delegates away feeling upbeat and positive about what they do. This was achieved and we are grateful to you for this.

Your session was so funny but at the same time it inspired everyone in the room

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

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