Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals

Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals

Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals

Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals


Many teachers are trained to approach their work with a set of teaching strategies and lessons that changes little over time. Because they are focused on how they teach, rather than on how their students learn, they use the same techniques day after day, making no adjustments for students different learning needs. In Learning-Driven Schools: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Principals, Barry Beers shows how teachers can plan, teach, and assess for student learning and how principals can support teachers in their efforts. The book includes
• An overview of the research on knowledge retention;
• Real-life samples of lesson plans that address state and local standards;
• Strategies on accurately assessing student learning;
• Advice for teachers on addressing the needs of struggling, intermediate, and advanced students at the same time; and
• Advice for administrators on conducting effective classroom observations. A rallying cry and how-to guide rolled into one, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone passionate about learning. Having served as a veteran teacher and principal himself, Barry Beers brings his own experience and understanding to bear on the essential task of ensuring that student learning remains the clear focus of our schools.


For the past 20 years, I have observed more than a thousand classrooms. From these observations, I have reached some conclusions regarding the typical behaviors of teachers and administrators.


Prior to instruction, teachers plan activities that they hope will engage their students and cover a certain amount of content, and then they list which local, state, or national curriculum standards will be covered. Some of the activities involve listening to teacher lectures, some are hands-on; sometimes students work alone, other times they work in pairs or in groups of three or four. Content usually is dictated by the textbook that the school district selected. Objectives typically describe what the students will do during a class period, not what knowledge and skills they will hopefully have by the end of the period.

During lecture, teachers periodically call on students who raise their hands, to ensure that students are paying attention and understand the material. Often, the students who answer the questions correctly knew the answers before class started. Questions posed to individual students during the class period are designed to validate that the teachers taught the material, not determine whether . . .

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