School Portrait (1987) McPhee Gribble, Melbourne
Impact: Trove reports copies in 39 libraries
From reviews:"Steve Shann's School Portrait is one of the most interesting and at times moving books on teaching practice that I have read in some time ...[It] is an engrossing narrative as Steve recounts, warts and all, the progress the children made as they battled to overcome their different problems.No magic solutions or sure-fire formulae are offered. The great strength of the book is, for me, its honesty ... The moments in the book I delighted in most were those where Steve stands back from his story to reflect. His theoretical base is evident int eh narrative, but on these reflective occasions he is lucid in stating his teaching beliefs .. As I read Steve's book it occurred to me that he is the sort of teacher Jimmy Britton must have had in mind when he proclaimed the 80s the decade fo the classroom teacher ... the committed and caring practitioner, honestly analysing his own practice ... I wish it were a portrait of more schools"
Barney Devlin, Australian Association of English Teachers, Guide to English Books, 1987.
"What comes through vividly in his writing ... is that Shann, apart from being very comfroratble with children, is deely concerned aout their social as well as intellectual development and about fostering their confidence and independence ... Shann is a gifted story-teller in that he makes his readers really care about the success [of the students]. The book cannot fail to stimuate thinking about children's capacity to play a responsible, creative and, to a large extent, a controlling role in their own learning. As long as such thinking is going on, education is in no danger of becoming a dead issue."
Veronica Sen, The Canberra Times, Saturday May 2nd, 1987
"He does not write in the esoteric language of so many educationists whose words mean so little to so many ordinary parents. He offers some clearly written ideas and examples of how children learn ... He succeeds because ... the excitement, the sensitivity and the courage of his characters and his writing make a good story."
Keith Scott, The Canberra Times, 31 March 1987
"I've never understood why universities and colleges and educators didn't draw on case studies, such as you provide in detail, to help them to a cleaer conclusion on how to help these youngsters to develop ... The compassion and imagination you showed, and the need for the pupils to deal with solvable concrete problems rather than vague generalisations, released unsuspected abilities and energies. I've seen it happen. It was a major educational achievement."
R.F. Mackenzie, author of State School (Penguin), in a letter to the author