Teachers Undefeated

How global education reform has failed to crush the spirit of educators

Paperback / softback, 108 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
25 Mar 2016
Trentham Books

Price: £12.99

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Teachers Undefeated is about how teachers continue to do the best for their students. They do so despite clumsy interventions from governments who have no idea how difficult they have made school life. They do so despite the fact that they are pressurized into producing dubious outcomes and are over-scrutinized in every aspect of their professional lives. The book is filled with testimony from teachers who still bring energy, creativity and commitment to everything they do.

Jon Berry explains how the political and economic circumstances of the past forty years play out in our classrooms on a daily basis. He discusses possibilities for collective resistance to policies that reduce the enjoyment of learning to a succession of test rehearsals and exam preparation. This is a book for serving teachers, those about to enter the profession, parents and anyone interested in preserving a rounded education for our children.

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  • Jon Berry

    Dr Jon Berry is the programme director for the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the University of Hertfordshire.

CONTENTS: Foreword, by Christine Blower; Introduction – From the World Bank to a classroom near you: What this book sets out to do; 1. The GERM: What it is and where it comes from; 2. The state we’re in and how we got here: How the GERM took hold; 3. Speaking truth to power? Whose voices are here?; 4. The horror, the horror: Tested to destruction.; 5. You lookin’ at me? Or qui custodiet ipsos custodes?; 6. Ten teaching tales to brighten the gloom: Hosepipes, the Enigma code and the execution of Anne Boleyn; 7. Can school leaders let the caged bird sing?; 8. Doing it for themselves: How teachers can take greater control of the curriculum; 9. Undefeated: But how do we become GERM free?; References; Index

'No other publication that I know of has presented the problems so well from the teachers' perspective.'

Professor Richard Pring, Honorary Research Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford

'Jon Berry shows how governments have tried to regulate and suppress the energies that teachers can bring to classrooms - and how teachers continue, amid constant pressure, to work by different rules. Combining realism and optimism, accuracy and humour, his book will persuade many readers that alternatives exist, here and now, to the grim visions of education that dominate policy.'

Ken Jones, Senior Policy Officer, Curriculum and Assessment, National Union of Teachers

'This is an important and timely book. It confirms that despite all the testing, setting, sorting and ranking that are the hallmark of the English school system teachers remain fundamentally unaltered by the panoply of market-driven "reforms". Rather, teachers continue to be driven by a much more optimistic and hopeful vision of education. This book reminds us that everyday there are teachers in classrooms working hard to challenge the dead weight of standardization and targets. More importantly, it serves to remind us that when individual teachers organize collectively they not only have the power to challenge the neoliberal restructuring of schools, but also to create something much more exciting - an education that doesn't just reproduce, but transforms.'

Professor Howard Stevenson, Director of Research, School of Education, University of Nottingham

'Books like this bring hope in troubled times. Here you will read the stories of teachers who are determined to educate and free young minds. This book will help get teachers' voices heard above the managerial din. Jon Berry's clear thinking cuts through the thicket of accountability and control.'

Terry Wrigley, Visiting Professor, Education and Lifelong Learning, Northumbria University

'This is a well-argued and much-needed defence of teacher professionalism, at a time when a bureaucratic, punitive and often damaging accountability system seems to be undermining it at every turn. Jon Berry’s is ultimately an optimistic account of how teachers can and are resisting such pressures, focusing instead on the core aspect of their job: teaching children well.'

Warwick Mansell, education journalist, former curriculum and testing correspondent, Times Educational Supplement