Particularly for those teachers of a certain age, this book takes a nostalgic look back to teaching as it was before the National Curriculum, the wealth of health and safety regulations applicable to taking students out of school and before the Internet. If you remember the Banda and Gestetner machines, Simon Green’s recollections will take you back to the days when producing a worksheet was much more tiresome than today’s pressing a computer button to print.
Was teaching better then? Has it changed? Well, today’s teachers will recognise Jimmy and Caitlin, Malcolm and Garth along with the trials and tribulations of teaching Year 8. Some issues have changed very little. I found Simon Green’s book very entertaining. Having followed a similar path as an FLA in Germany (Simon was an FLA in France), trained in the 1970s and started my career with as little experience as the author I could emphasise with his experiences – although luckily not with his experience of running his first exchange to France. But what of the younger members of the profession is there a message in there for them? Yes, I believe there is.
All teachers will find this book an entertaining read and newer members of the profession might recognise some of their own experiences in the classroom. The book also has a serious message. When looking at questioning and target language use how often do we ask “impossible” questions which students cannot comprehend as they are not on the same wavelength as the teacher? When using the target language exclusively in the classroom how many of our students hear “mumblrgrrmumble splurge kraft glurp glurr” and then turn to look out of the window? Simon may not offer the answers and this may not be on the PGCE reading list, but Only Correct will resonate with many in the profession and is definitely an enjoyable read.
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