Teaching That Works
Old, or should I say seasoned teachers, of whom I am now one, are fond of saying that there is nothing new in educational trends. I think that probably goes for most educational literature, as well.
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With gratitude I would like to thank all of the people who have influenced my understanding of what it means to be a good teacher. I have been lucky to have worked with many dedicated and thoughtful people who have guided, supported, and encouraged my own work as an educator. Most especially I would like to thank Gabrielle Long, without whose encouragement I would never have attempted to write....
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Teaching That Works
This book is intended to fill a rather large gap in the educational literature available to teachers. It is not a scholarly book of research. It is not a magic program that will instantly create a high-performing school. Instead, this is a practical book for teachers who are hard at work every day trying to improve.
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Teaching That Works
Much of the literature on education, and certainly on educational improvement, is written by researchers. This is as it should be. Researchers spend years studying and testing various methodologies. Therein often lies the very reason that this methodology has not been widely integrated into classrooms: It takes years of specific study.
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If the goal is to watch teachers groan and roll their eyes at a professional development event, start with the word curriculum. It’s not that teachers don’t care about what they teach; on the contrary, most teachers are very passionate about what they teach. Secondary teachers often get into teaching for that very reason, and they consider themselves experts in their content...
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Once the curriculum guide, the state and district standards, and/or the national association guidelines are put into a personal outline, an effective road map has been developed for teaching the specific course. Now it is time to go in and deliver the content to the students. This is the public part of teaching, AND it is almost always one of the components educators are most judged on. When...
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Illustrations in this section
Teaching That Works
Grading is so intricately tied to instruction that this could easily be a part of the last chapter. While instruction is one of the most important aspects of teaching, the one that is most likely to arouse passions is grading. Grading and grading practices are the areas that seem to cause the most grief to teachers and students alike. The majority of teachers would share that they have had little...
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Now on to the other major function of grading: giving parents and others outside the school setting information about a student’s progress. When looking at the grade for a specific student in any given class, can anyone be confident that the grade is indeed an accurate description of that student’s ability? What about comparing grades between different classes? Do grades really give...
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The last two chapters dealt with grading, so now it is time to talk about assessment, or testing. This is where the pieces really start to come together, and it is one of the main ideas behind the writing of this book in the first place.
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Exploring the whole spectrum of the teaching process from curriculum to assessment is a lot to digest. While none of what appears here is particularly new, hopefully it has provided some new ways to think about old ideas. This next topic is not necessarily new, either, but it may seem so to some because it is usually the least familiar to classroom teachers. That topic is data.
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Up to this point, the focus has been on what happens in the classroom when the teacher shuts the door. It should be clear by this point that it is not enough to be attentive to one aspect of teaching, say curriculum, while ignoring another, like grading. All of the moving parts have to work together if schools are to break out and be genuinely effective.
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With all of the educational literature available, anyone who has been engaged in the field of education for long has seen many trends come and go. Sit in any professional development activity with veteran teachers, and they will scoff and say that this new latest, greatest strategy is the same old, same old with a different name. As it happens, nothing in this book is particularly new or improved,...
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Ann Chase has been engaged in public education for twenty-seven years as a classroom teacher, a high school assistant principal, and back again in the classroom as a middle-school history teacher. She has taken the lessons of the classroom into administration and the lessons of administration back into the classroom, where she has successfully integrated the best practices from her book...
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