It was very ironic that I was assigned this topic for my blog because over the summer teachers at my school and the principal had a book club where we read and discussed this book through a blog. Many of you may be surprised to know that you are probably using some of the principles in this book without even knowing it. That being said, I would like to give you a brief summary of the content in this book.
Classroom Instruction That Works by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane E. Pollock is a book describing just that, instructional strategies that work and why they work. According to Marzano, there are 9 research based strategies that are proven to enhance student achievement. These strategies are:
1. Identifying Similarities and Differences
· Use Venn diagrams or charts to compare and classify items.
· Engage students in comparing, classifying, and creating metaphors and analogies.
2. Summarizing and Note Taking
· Provide a set of rules for creating a summary.
· When summarizing, ask students to question what is unclear, clarify those questions, and then predict what will happen next in the text.
· Use teacher-prepared notes.
· Stick to a consistent format for notes, although students can refine the notes as necessary.
3. Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
· Share stories about people who succeeded by not giving up.
· Have students keep a log of their weekly efforts and achievements, reflect on it periodically, and even mathematically analyze the data.
· Find ways to personalize recognition. Give awards for individual accomplishments.
· "Pause, Prompt, Praise." If a student is struggling, pause to discuss the problem, then prompt with specific suggestions to help her improve. If the student's performance improves as a result, offer praise.
4. Homework and Practice
· Establish a homework policy with advice-such as keeping a consistent schedule, setting, and time limit-that parents and students may not have considered.
· Tell students if homework is for practice or preparation for upcoming units.
· Maximize the effectiveness of feedback by varying the way it is delivered.
· Assign timed quizzes for homework and have students report on their speed and accuracy.
· Focus practice on difficult concepts and set aside time to accommodate practice periods.
5. Nonlinguistic Representations
· Incorporate words and images using symbols to represent relationships.
· Use physical models and physical movement to represent information.
6. Cooperative Learning
· When grouping students, consider a variety of criteria, such as common experiences or interests.
· Vary group sizes and objectives.
· Design group work around the core components of cooperative learning-positive interdependence, group processing, appropriate use of social skills, face-to-face interaction, and individual and group accountability.
7. Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
· Set a core goal for a unit, and then encourage students to personalize that goal by identifying areas of interest to them. Questions like "I want to know" and "I want to know more about . . ." get students thinking about their interests and actively involved in the goal-setting process.
· Use contracts to outline the specific goals that students must attain and the grade they will receive if they meet those goals.
· Make sure feedback is corrective in nature; tell students how they did in relation to specific levels of knowledge. Rubrics are a great way to do this.
· Keep feedback timely and specific.
· Encourage students to lead feedback sessions.
1. Generating and Testing Hypotheses
· Ask students to predict what would happen if an aspect of a familiar system, such as the government or transportation, were changed.
· Ask students to build something using limited resources. This task generates questions and hypotheses about what may or may not work.
2. Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers
· Pause briefly after asking a question. Doing so will increase the depth of your students' answers.
· Vary the style of advance organizer used: Tell a story, skim a text, or create a graphic image. There are many ways to expose students to information before they "learn" it.
Since Marzano’s book is completely based on years and years of research I think it is the best resource educators have in regards to instruction. The book is full of ideas & strategies for maximizing the potential of the students in your classroom. I don’t think there are any negatives to this work! This book is a must for all educators!