I’m delighted that my book, The Learning Rainforest, which has now sold close to 10,000 copies, is about to be published by Learning Sciences International in the USA, as one of a new series called the Dylan Wiliam Center Collection. The first in the series was Craig Barton’s superb ‘How I Wish I’d Taught Maths‘ and mine is the second. The third will be Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson’s ‘What does it Look Like in the Classroom’.
The book can be found on the LSI website https://www.learningsciences.com/books/the-learning-rainforest where readers can also buy a study guide to go with the book. It is also available on the US Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/194392063X/
I am absolutely delighted that Dylan included the Learning Rainforest in this series and I’m thrilled with his foreword – which is an interesting read in itself. In this extract, Dylan says what he thinks about the book:
To design a bridge, the engineer needs to know about strength of steel and stone in compression and in tension, but this says nothing about what the bridge should look like. In the same way, to create great schools, we need to take account of the research evidence, where it exists, but we need to go beyond that, and embrace the fact that great schools are about people, and this is why Tom Sherrington’s book is such an extraordinary achievement.
When I picked up The Learning Rainforest—which I read in a single day—I was struck by the parallels between Tom Sherrington’s career and my own. We studied high school science from the same textbooks (A. F. Abbott’s Ordinary Level Physics, and D. G. Mackean’s Introduction to Biology), started teaching as a way of financing playing in a band (both bass guitarists by the way) and taught math in high schools two miles apart, using the same math scheme (though he hated it, and I loved it).
But what really stunned me about this book is the way that Tom has taken the research evidence that does exist, and woven it into a powerful vision of how education can transform lives, even in the most challenging settings. I know of many books that do a great job of summarizing the research on reading, on memory, on assessment, on feedback, and so on. I do not know of a single other book that addresses so well all the threads than have to be woven together to create great schools, in such a readable way. The Learning Rainforest addresses head on the complexity of teaching “in real classrooms,” sure-footedly building on the research where it exists.
A particularly powerful feature of the book is that for all of the complexity of the issues discussed, Tom has managed to distill his wisdom into a series of powerful precepts about establishing the conditions for effective teaching and learning, building the knowledge structure that is needed for students to succeed, and the use of this structure as a base for exploring future possibilities.
Thanks to Mark, Dana and Amy at LSI, to Dylan and to Oliver and Alex for making this happen. When I wrote the book it was not something I ever expected so this is a big moment for me!