Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn

Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn

Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn

Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn


With classroom-tested ideas, real-world examples, and easy-to-use activities, Giselle Martin-Kniep and Joanne Picone-Zocchia tap three decades of experience to define and describe critical teaching and learning strategies that engage students and increase achievement. Teachers at any grade level and in any subject area will gain insights into how to

• Create a rigorous, relevant, and authentic curriculum;

• Use organizing centers and make meaningful connections to lend true coherence to subject matter;

• Ask students questions that will help them retain new material and apply their knowledge in settings outside school;

• Teach students how to develop high-order skills such as an ability to affirm values, articulate beliefs, and use multiple resources in varied contexts;

• Use assessment as a system to directly engage students in revising tests and evaluating themselves;

• Incorporate evaluation tools like portfolios, checklists, and rubrics to foster and assess high-quality student work that exceeds expectations; and

• Encourage students to self-monitor progress, self-regulate behavior, appreciate unique learning preferences, and, ultimately, become informed and active 21st century citizens.

Changing the Way You Teach, Improving the Way Students Learn stresses the need to build students' capacity to learn how to learn and be strategic, self-aware participants in an ever-complex and fast-changing society. Embracing what they call our "moral imperative," the authors encourage us to help students "pursue the goals that will make them feel whole as human beings."


Effective teaching looks effortless. Students are actively engaged in thinking, making sense of ideas, applying beginning understandings, and tackling increasingly complex tasks. Teachers are coaching, providing clear and descriptive feedback that supports and extends student learning. They are illustrating, elaborating, explaining, modeling, guiding, and assessing. They are reaping the fruits of well-choreographed lesson plans that were informed by or are sensitive to the specific needs and talents of the class in which they are used.

Effective teaching is inspiring and memorable. It is etched in the insights and memories of students who witness and experience it. I can still remember the teachers whose craft revealed landscapes I had never witnessed and made me discover I could do something of significance, who made me feel smart and confident enough to take previously unimaginable risks, and who showed me how to reap the benefits of false starts and missed steps. Effective teaching is deeply personal because students feel as though they are coconstructing their understanding with each other and with their teacher. Effective teaching is as much about planning lessons and responding to student work as it is about performing. Much of its success lies in what happens before and after the teacher leaves the classroom rather than in the actual lesson implementation itself, although one should not underestimate the power of engaging and enthusiastic performances. Effective teaching is hard work and deep thinking. It incorporates planning, assessing, interpreting data, and responding to the data in ways that support individual students while at the same time attending to the classroom community.

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