Monday, July 26, 2010

Teach Like a Champion Reflections

Summer reading for a teacher is always interesting.  Assigned summer reading, well another story completely.  That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my copy of Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.   His premise is that great teaching is an art and just like great artists there are great teachers.  Behind every artist there is an artisan.  The book, Teach Like a Champion, provides teachers with 49 tried and true techniques that are used consistently in Teach for America schools across the nation.  These tools aim to equip the classroom teachers so they too, can become great teachers.  Notes for chapter one follow.

Chapter 1 – High Academic Expectations           

High expectations are the most reliable driver of high student achievement, even in students who do not have a history of successful achievement. This chapter looks at five techniques that raise expectations and differentiate great classrooms from the merely good ones.

1.     No Opt Out – sequence that ends with a student answering a question as often as possible (Pg 34)
·      Cues vs. hints – cue guides a student into discovery, hint suggests student is incapable on own
·      The place where answer can be found – teacher asks where in book answer can be found
·      The step in the process that’s required – teacher asks this of class or student so student in question can be guided
·      Another name for the term that is the problem – if student hears another word for the term, he/she may arrive at the answer.
·      This is an old Denny McLaughlin trick I’ve been using for years but never to the extent I read here.  I like, and will work at incorporating, the ideas that extend further than just asking another student for the answer and then returning back to the original student.  The goal is to provide students as many opportunities for success in the classroom as possible.

2.     Right is Right – Set and defend a high standard of correctness in your classroom (Pg 37)
·      Hold out for all the way – do not accept partial answers
·      Students should answer the question, not a question they want to answer
·      Accept only the right answer at the right time.  Nothing more.
·      Use technical vocabulary at all times.
·      Need to seriously work on the this technique as I often find myself answering – that’s close.  Close is not good enough.

3.     Stretch It – Sequence of learning does not end with the right answer.  Reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge and test for reliability.  Good for differentiation. (Pg 42)
·      Ask How or Why
·      Ask for another way to answer
·      Ask for a better word
·      Ask for evidence
·      Ask students to integrate a related skill.
·      Ask students to apply the same skill in a new setting
·      I have to say that time constraints often keep me from stretching it.  I need to remember that learning is a passion and that passion can only grow from constant stretching.

4.     Format Matters – “The Complete sentence is the battering ram that knocks down the door to college.”  It’s not what students say that matters but how they say it. (Pg 47)
·      Identify the error
·      Begin the correction
·      I do use proper format in the classroom and expect my students to do so as well.  I often begin corrections they must complete.  I think this is essential if they are going to communicate in a future setting, as I have no idea what that future setting will be.  I prepare for the most important and formal setting.  Students can always practice informal speech and response on their own.

5.     Without Apology – There is no such thing as boring content.  (pg 51)
Alternatives to Apology
·      This material is great because it’s really challenging.
·      Lots of people don’t understand this until they go to college but you know it now
·      This can help you succeed
·      This gets more and more exciting the better you understand it
·      Excellent example provided by the author at the beginning of the technique.  He enrolls in a poetry class and almost doesn’t take the class because he thinks the content boring.  The teacher never apologizes for teaching Yeats and the author finds himself riveted by class.  I have heard myself apologize for content when teaching certain aspects of Physics or Earth Science, or most recently when reviewing the school’s Acceptable Use Policy.  Will work on this!

No comments:

Post a Comment