17,000 Classroom Visits Can't Be Wrong: Strategies That Engage Students, Promote Active Learning, and Boost Achievement

17,000 Classroom Visits Can't Be Wrong: Strategies That Engage Students, Promote Active Learning, and Boost Achievement

17,000 Classroom Visits Can't Be Wrong: Strategies That Engage Students, Promote Active Learning, and Boost Achievement

17,000 Classroom Visits Can't Be Wrong: Strategies That Engage Students, Promote Active Learning, and Boost Achievement

Synopsis

Most educators are skilled at planning instruction and determining what they will do during the course of a lesson. However, to truly engage students in worthwhile, rigorous cognition, a profound shift is necessary: a shift in emphasis from teaching to learning. Put another way, we know that whoever is doing the work is also doing the learning--and in most classrooms, teachers are working much too hard. Authors John V. Antonetti and James R. Garver are the designers of the Look 2 Learning model of classroom walkthroughs. They've visited more than 17,000 classrooms examining a variety of teaching and learning conditions, talking to students, examining their work, and determining their levels of thinking and engagement. From this vast set of data, they've drawn salient lessons that provide valuable insight into how to smooth the transition from simply planning instruction to designing high-quality student work. The lessons John and Jim have learned from their 17,000 (and counting) classroom visits can't be wrong. They share those lessons in this book, along with stories of successful practice and practical tools ready for immediate classroom application. The authors also provide opportunities for reflection and closure designed to help you consider (or reconsider) your current beliefs and practices. Throughout, you will hear the voices of John and Jim--and the thousands of students they met--as they provide a map for shifting the classroom dynamic from teaching to learning.

Excerpt

These frustrated ramblings in a 7th grader’s journal are all too familiar to most educators. Teachers spend time planning lessons, basing them on standards and guided by curricula and instructional materials, only to be met with resistance and apathy. We try to keep up with developments in instruction—you wouldn’t be reading this book if you didn’t—but the pieces often seem to remain disparate and not come together. Perhaps it’s a matter of changing our focus. Have we considered what our lessons might look like from the other side of the desk?

As the authors of this book, we have looked at instruction in more than 17,000 elementary and secondary classrooms. During this experience, we have come to recognize the power of shifting the focus from teaching to learning. This realization has come both over time and in a few blinding moments of clarity.

A few years ago, we hosted our first annual Engagement Conference in Las Vegas. On the eve of that conference, like expectant parents, we carefully reviewed our plans for the following days, ensuring that every detail was covered. Finally, at about 10:30 p.m., John said, “I think we’re ready, but you don’t seem very happy.”

“What’s the ‘big idea’ for our conference?” Jim asked.

“That kids need to be more engaged … actively involved in learning activities.”

“And how are we starting?”

“With your 90 minute keynote speech …”

And at that point, we both realized that wouldn’t work. So, we set about designing a new conference opening—one in which participants would be . . .

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