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Nick Gibb calls for a teacher-led return to textbooks

(168 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 02-Dec-17 14:29:45

Nick Gibb, Schools Minister said a couple of days ago at a panel discussion led by think tank Policy Exchange that 'The teacher-led move back to textbooks will be integral to ensuring that the national curriculum is as effective as we’d hoped.'

Nick Gibb needs to explain where the money for these textbooks will be coming from, because my department certainly hasn't got any.

Nick Gibb also needs to explain how schools can be certain that any textbooks published won't be a waste of money because they will be obsolete within a year due to another set of curriculum changes.

In addition, Nick Gibb needs to explain how we can purchase quality textbooks when all the textbook currently available are crap because they have been rushed out to the timeline of incredibly rapid curriculum change.

Nick Gibb finally needs to explain why we've been told for years by organisations such as Ofsted that textbooks are lazy teaching, have no place in the classroom and so on.

But sure, it's down to teachers to make textbooks a thing again.

Kazzyhoward Sat 02-Dec-17 14:58:41

How about a return to more general textbooks rather than exam-specific text books which are basically just spoon-feeding that particular syllabus?

When I was at school, our textbooks lasted decades - there were long lists of previous pupils in the front who'd been issued them in previous years. Nowadays, it seems they've become a disposal commodity than are just cast aside after a year or two.

We wouldn't work through the whole book - the teachers would tell us which chapters/sections to do and which we could ignore. We'd often get 2 or 3 text books over the year, where one book was better (in teacher's opinion) than another.

I don't think exam syllabi will ever remain constant more than a few years, so printing/buying specific text books is always going to be inefficient and uneconomical. Need to get back to where a text book can be used for several years and then the school budgets will be able to cope.

karriecreamer Sat 02-Dec-17 15:40:56

If it means the end of "scrappy worksheets" it can only be a good thing.

CarrieBlue Sat 02-Dec-17 15:43:16

Does Nick Gibb have shares in a publishing company by any chance? hmm

physicskate Sat 02-Dec-17 15:46:46

I'd be happy with this, if it meant a return to well-written and fully detailed textbooks. My current gcse textbook is barely more info than the statements from the spec...

It would certainly help the literacy skills of many of my pupils if there was something I could actually use!!

Eolian Sat 02-Dec-17 15:47:15

Teachers are stressed and overworked. What they want to spend their time on is planning and delivering engaging lessons, not trawling through a textbook.

But since governments refuse to reduce the absurd and pointless grind of endless data and hoop-jumping, maybe going back to textbooks is the only change that anyone's actually going to be able to make to reduce workload. Yet another triumph of the target-driven, corporate model of education over the actual skill and importance of real teaching.

Uokbing Sat 02-Dec-17 15:49:00

I think the mention of textbooks is a way of saying he thinks it's gone all namby pamby in schools and things need to get back to the good old days of sitting in rows and working from a textbook all lesson every lesson.

He is always going on about his 'rigorous' own schooling and is the prime example of someone who thinks that because he once went to school, he is able to tell these lazy ass teachers how to get some of that 'rigour' back.

I don't disagree with textbooks actually (!) but yes, where is the money coming from and what happens when the curriculum changes again in a couple of years?

karriecreamer Sat 02-Dec-17 15:58:36

Re cost, my son has been given CGP books for some of his subjects. That's 2 books (revision guide and practice questions) which are his to keep (they're writing in them), so maybe a tenner at retail prices.

"Proper" text books are about £20-£50 from what I can see and will last maybe 5-10 years.

Basic economics says its cheaper to buy text books to keep and use for several years rather than buy single use books that end up in the bin after a year.

noblegiraffe Sat 02-Dec-17 16:04:23

will last maybe 5-10 years

Except they won't. They'll last until the next curriculum change which is usually only an Education Secretary away.

ThunderboltsLightning Sat 02-Dec-17 16:06:06

A good quality textbook is a valuable resource and I think it's a shame that they've been so out of favour.

They allow consolidation of a skill by repetition without the need for the teacher to create endless scruffy worksheets

Parents can look through the textbook (or even purchase their own if they like) to support at home.

Less photocopying and all the time that wastes (paper jams, queuing, out of toner etc)

Encourages effective use of reference texts across the curriculum e.g scanning the text for the answer to the question

ThunderboltsLightning Sat 02-Dec-17 16:07:19

Agree with pp that good quality textbooks can only be written and developed if the curriculum is the same!

noblegiraffe Sat 02-Dec-17 16:17:25

There's the sad tale of the maths textbooks that didn't even get out of the warehouse before they were obsolete. Back in early 2015 we had publishing companies coming to the school, showing us their brand new textbooks for the brand new GCSEs. These textbooks were preparing for exams that had been signed off by Ofqual. They were really difficult.

Then there was a massive row between exam boards, an Ofqual investigation and the exams were deemed too difficult. They were ripped up and the exam boards had to re-write from scratch. These were published June 2015 and were much easier. Except now the textbooks didn't match the demand of the exams, so no one bought them. They're probably going mouldy somewhere.

karriecreamer Sat 02-Dec-17 16:50:29

There's the sad tale of the maths textbooks....

That sounds like a good reason to walk away from syllabus specific spoon feeding text books and back to general text books that cover a much broader range, so the teachers can pick and choose what is relevant to their class.

noblegiraffe Sat 02-Dec-17 17:07:49

How can you have a general history book, or geography book that has enough of the actual required content to justify the cost given that you will also have to supplement it with worksheets (probably extensively)?

Piggywaspushed Sat 02-Dec-17 17:12:10

They use textbooks in Finland, I was surprised to read.

Finland is , by all accounts, amazing.

But.... the textbooks are government approved, and written by teachers.

There are no exam boards , because there are no - wait for it- public exams!!

Piggywaspushed Sat 02-Dec-17 17:13:05

Also no observations, no performance management and no Ofsted to tell them the textbooks are a bad ides/great idea/ whatever the current government suggest.

Piggywaspushed Sat 02-Dec-17 17:14:42

I had to buy DS his textbooks for A level ( he didn't have any at GCSE and I will admit I wish he did) . The total cost of his textbooks was about £150. And that's without set texts for Spanish and study guides.

Badbadbunny Sat 02-Dec-17 17:19:39

How can you have a general history book, or geography book

You probably can't for some subjects with very broad reach like, as you rightly say, humanities in general. But you could certainly have specific text books for specific topics like the industrial revolution, french revolution, Henry VIII, QE1, as the basic facts don't change.

As for sciences, again, I'd say the vast majority of any syllabus doesn't really change much. A cell structure is the same, Kinetic energy is still 1/2mvsquared, K is still Potassium, pressure is still proportional to temperature (or is it inversely proportional?).

Even in Maths, lots won't change from decade to decade. Has trig really changed since calculators? Presumably pythagoras is still used? Simultaneous equations and the quadratic formula havn't changed have they?

Yes, there'll always be new bits added, some bits removed, some topics getting more/less emphasis, for all subjects, but it seems crazy that publishers (and teachers) reinvent the wheel for all the stuff that's the same, just to provide for the small bits that are different. Wouldn't it be better to have core textbooks with the basics and then for teachers to do worksheets etc for the peripherals that aren't covered?

littleducks Sat 02-Dec-17 17:29:30

A school I looked at for year 7 open evening was still using the same textbook I had in year 7 about 20 years ago.

We used to have textbooks for all subjects....made our backpacks much heavier.

errorofjudgement Sat 02-Dec-17 17:31:42

DD was sharing a biology text book 1 between 4 for GCSE. I asked if there were extra copies, (answer - no, but at the front of the class the “lively” students had 1 each), or alternatively if I could buy her a text book (answer - no, the book being used was a previous version so DD would struggle to find the page if she had her own newer version)!
I’m all for anything which makes the teaching and learning easier, but the books would need to be available for several years so replacements can be bought when needed.

irvineoneohone Sat 02-Dec-17 17:46:13

I love the idea of text books. I grew up with it, my native country still uses it for all the subjects. I really don't like no text book teaching in England.

Why they change curriculum so much in Englad is a mystery to me. But as PP says, somethings never really change, do they? Like the maths I learned is same as my ds is learning now, etc.

Pengggwn Sat 02-Dec-17 18:02:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

allegretto Sat 02-Dec-17 18:09:53

I didn't know they were out of favour in tge uk. Still going strong in Italy and we have to buy them - about 300 euros a year at senior school!

CarrieBlue Sat 02-Dec-17 18:47:19

There were general textbooks. They’ve been thrown out by younger HoDs who couldn’t see that they were useful. We used to have two science textbooks per gcse student, plus ks3 ones. Mind you, getting them handed back in at the end of the year was always a challenge

noblegiraffe Sat 02-Dec-17 18:49:47

I think the thing that annoys me most about this is the suggestion from Nick Gibb that teachers have any power at all about what goes on in the classroom.

If he wants a textbook revolution, all he needs is for Ofsted to write approvingly of textbook use.

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