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Happy Easter to everyone reading this post. It’s been a long bank holiday weekend filled with sunshine and chocolate, perfect! Amongst all the family oriented activities I’ve taken part in I’ve also found time for my own favourite activity, reading books. My book of choice was written by Anoara Mughal and is the one named in the title of this post. Anoara is a very experienced teacher, AHT, CPD Leader, author and researcher. I was interested in reading this book because I have to confess to knowing very little about the subject matter and therefore from an educational perspective as well as a personal perspective I felt as though my knowledge was lacking.

As I made my way through the book I felt compelled to tweet a few examples from what I was reading. I tweeted little snippets I found to be interesting and those parts I discovered to be true but I had previously not thought of myself.

So what did I make of the book?

I’ll start with the way the book looks, is it attractive to the reader? Does it draw you in and make you want to discover what is written on the pages? The simple answer is yes! The book is well laid out with easy to read sections. It is broken into manageable chunks that break up the page. It’s a personal choice but I don’t like to be faced with pages and pages of tiny font with no graphs, bullet points or other sections to break it up. Page layout of this book is therefore a plus for me. Also, the chapters are not too lengthy. By that I mean if you need some information quickly you can find the relevant chapter and spend some time reading it but it isn’t too onerous a task. There are 14 chapters in total and you can read them in any order or you can dip in and dip out. Each chapter is as interesting as the next.

This book is bang up to the minute with all the latest ideas and includes tables showing the Teachers’ Standards and the Early Career Framework. The tables show how chapter coverage links to the two sets of standards. I also like the fact that these standards are included as they are a quick reference and I never have them to hand when I want them.

There is an initial chapter on research in the classroom as this is an area that attracts much discussion. Anoara discusses the problems with using research directly in the classroom. She talks about confirmation bias and why contradictory evidence is required. There is also some teachers’ views on the the use of research in the classroom. I particularly enjoyed this chapter as it made me question my own thoughts on the use of research in the classroom. Anoara cites many publications and research articles to back up her opinions which have given me ideas for further reading.

The next chapter is devoted to explaining the terms metacognition and self regulated learning. For the novice such as myself this chapter is particularly useful. I had previously encountered metacognition in my initial teacher training and a refresher alongside all the new learning in this book is definitely called for. Anoara discusses the theories of several eminent education writers from the last century to back up her views. She goes on to include case studies taken from several schools to make her point. Throughout the book Anoara is careful to use current teachers and schools and keep her theories and information relevant to today’s teachers and education.

One of the best chapters in my opinion is the one regarding metacognition and mindsets. The growth mindset has been very popular and still is with some teachers and some schools. At one time, every teacher in the land knew about growth mindset and how people’s beliefs can affect their performance and their well-being. In this chapter Anoara explains in more detail about growth mindset and discusses fixed mindset. She talks about retrieval practice and perseverance and discusses how some people may have misunderstood the growth mindset. This whole area is fascinating as teachers have some strong views on mindsets. The chapter then moves on to discussing how social and emotional well-being link to the growth mindset and metacognition. Anoara argues that certain aspects of the growth mindset, mindfulness, well-being and metacognition seem to be closely related. She says that we need to have our own belief that we are able to change and that this is a challenge for most of us as we become comfortable and don’t seek challenges. This is something I think many of us can relate to.

The book also has chapters on metacognitive strategies in English and maths. In the chapter on English strategies Anoara discusses reading and comprehension and how these can be improved with metacognitive reading strategies. Anoara goes to great pains to explain that these strategies should be used in conjunction with other crucial reading comprehension methods. More case studies are included to demonstrate how useful some metacognitive strategies are.

I think I’ve given enough spoilers about Anoara’s book to whet your appetite. I can honestly say that it’s been a privilege to be able to write a short piece about it and all the information contained therein. In my opinion this book will make a valuable contribution to education. It’s an important book and I have enjoyed reading it. Thank you to Anoara for increasing my knowledge on this vital subject.

Thank you for reading.