Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success

Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success

Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success

Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success

Synopsis

Too often, students who fail a grade or a course receive remediation that ends up widening rather than closing achievement gaps. According to veteran classroom teacher and educational consultant Suzy Pepper Rollins, the true answer to supporting struggling students lies in acceleration. In Learning in the Fast Lane, she lays out a plan of action that teachers can use to immediately move underperforming students in the right direction and differentiate instruction for all learners--even those who excel academically. This essential guide identifies eight high-impact, research-based instructional approaches that will help you

• Make standards and learning goals explicit to students.

• Increase students' vocabulary--a key to their academic success.

• Build students' motivation and self-efficacy so that they become active, optimistic participants in class.

• Provide rich, timely feedback that enables students to improve when it counts.

• Address skill and knowledge gaps within the context of new learning.

Students deserve no less than the most effective strategies available. These hands-on, ready-to-implement practices will enable you to provide all students with compelling, rigorous, and engaging learning experiences.

Excerpt

I recently came into a freshman remedial class to find students busily logging in to the school’s basic-skills software. Those who were deemed the furthest behind, according to a diagnostic pre-test, practiced skills that were the furthest removed from the current curriculum. Students who weren’t as far behind worked on skills from the previous year or two. Any connection between the skills the students practiced and the standards being introduced in their “regular” classes that same day was entirely coincidental. A young woman rolled her eyes at me as she entered her password on the keyboard: “We’ve been doing this program since 4th grade.”

Hours away in a middle school classroom, bored students identified as requiring remedial interventions sat passively with their workbooks, practicing missing skills, while the higher-achieving students next door engaged collaboratively in hands-on, rigorous exploration aimed at a specific learning goal.

The traditional remedial approaches used in these and countless other classrooms focus on drilling isolated skills that bear little resemblance to current curriculum. Year after year, the same students are enrolled in remedial classes, and year after year, the academic gaps don’t narrow. And no wonder: instead of addressing gaps in the context of new learning and helping students succeed in class today, remedial programs largely engage students in activities that connect to standards from years . . .

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