Peter now lives in Macau, China, where he is an education consultant and freelance writer. His long career in education began in England in 1959, when he graduated from Trent Park Teachers College (now part of Middlesex University). He taught in primary and secondary schools before entering the field of teacher education in Manchester, where he also obtained his MEd degree.
In 1974 he moved to Australia, where he worked as a lecturer in a number of colleges and universities, and also for a time as the Principal Education Officer (Special Education) in the state of South Australia. From 1998 to 2005 he lectured in special education methodology at the University of Hong Kong, where he introduced the first postgraduate diploma offering a major in special education. Peter has awards for excellence in teaching from the University of Hong Kong and from Flinders University in Adelaide. He also received the Mona Tobias Award for services to special education in Australia.
His writing career began in 1974, when his Remedial teachers’ handbook was published by Oliver and Boyd. At the same time these publishers also produced his series of six books for secondary school students with learning difficulties, under the title Read, Write and Enjoy. He currently has fourteen books in print, all covering aspects of special education, learning difficulties, and teaching methods. His most successful recent material is a set of six books published by the Australian Council for Educational Research under the series title What teachers need to know. Currently he is working on a new book covering the use of effective, research-based methods for teaching children to spell.
Peter Westwood regularly contributes papers to academic journals, including the International Journal of Special Education, The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, International Journal of Development, Disability and Education, Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, and Special Education Perspectives. He also regularly reviews manuscripts that are submitted to some of these journals, and provides academic book reviews.
Peter says that he has oftentimes had to swim against the tide when new trends and excesses have come along in education. His reservations have frequently proved later to be very valid. For example, in the 1980s and 1990s he was a staunch advocate for using phonics and direct teaching in early reading instruction, much against the prevailing philosophy of the then popular ‘whole language’ method. Since 2000 he has taken a much more cautious approach than many of his contemporaries to policies of inclusive education. Suggestions in his new book, Inclusive and adaptive education, reflect this caution, and he describes only classroom practices that are truly effective and feasible.
Meeting the challenge of diversity in the classroom
What does it actually mean to teach an inclusive mixed-ability class?
From the author of the classic teacher text Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs this new book from Peter Westwood fully acknowledges what is feasible and useful to teachers in today’s inclusive classroom.
Published January 10th 2013 by Routledge
Approaches to Teaching and Assessment
By understanding why children struggle with maths, teachers are better equipped to provide effective support and nurture confidence in low-achievers.
Numeracy and Learning Difficulties includes how to tackle common learning difficulties by following different teaching practices and principles,...
Published January 20th 2006 by David Fulton Publishers
All teachers recognize how crucial the acquisition of good reading skills is. This book will help teachers understand how pupils learn and help them to meet those pupils' different needs through appropriate intervention.
The book includes: clear explanations of different learning difficulties;...
Published July 7th 2005 by David Fulton Publishers
Approaches to Teaching and Assessment
This book offers clear guidance on a variety of teaching strategies and explanations of why children have problems with spelling....
Published June 29th 2005 by Routledge
Approaches to teaching and assessment
This book supports inclusive practice by examining learning difficulties within the context of how humans learn and how teaching can create or prevent problems. It includes:
a detailed look at different perspectives on human learning
practical teaching approaches grounded in sound theory...
Published June 24th 2004 by Routledge