Creating Positive Classrooms (book)

8 May , 2012

I am not sure whether this should be called a book, because it is just slightly bigger than my passport! It is written by one of my favorite authors within Mathematics Education, Mike Ollerton. You can see his published books on Amazon here, and also listen to him on YouTube.

This little book, reminds me of a handbook for conducting classroom experiences although he actually HAS a book entitled The Mathematics Teacher Handbook as well. Mostly he writes about what it means to be a teacher, and in particular, a mathematics teacher. (You won’t find much math in this book, but many good activities are presented in the Handbook!)

I find it hard to disagree with Ollerton, but he does cover som rather unexpected topics. There’s a chapter on prizes, one on smoking and one on detention. His view is that prizes and award systems in general are unnecessary, and he argue quite a bit on that.

The reason he covers smoking as a separate chapter seems to be the size of the problem in UK. He claims that a huge fraction of the fifteen year olds smoke, although it is not legal for them to purchase tobacco or cigarettes.

In short, he writes about what he means about topics most teachers sooner or later will face.

In particular, I liked the relatively simple and perhaps rather idealistic view about way he doesn’t reward helpful students with golden stars or the like:

Because that is the way civilized people should behave towards each other.

It’s a short read, but I always find something to ponder in Ollerton’s books.