November 24, 2014

Learning about Learning

The Written Word

Charlotte Danielson. Mike Schmoker. Robert Marzano. Doug Reeves. Richard Elmore. Larry Ainsworth. Larry Lezotte. Richard Dufour. Et. Al.

So many educational researchers and writers have influenced who I have become as an educator.

I believe in planning, classroom management and environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities (Danielson), but I realize that more goes into the planning (Dufour, Ainsworth) then just looking at curriculum documents (Marzano, Schmoker) or following the textbook (No one ever!). When I first encountered Danielson's work, I was like, "Now that makes total sense." It of course is common sense but written down and delineated in an effective, understandable way.

I've had the great fortune to actually meet Schmoker, Marzano, Reeves, and Lezotte.

Lezotte was one of the original "effective school" people. Then, when you're a young educator and discover he's from Michigan, it's like, "That's cool." I was able to meet him when he spoke to a group of educators at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District a few years back. His information about effective schools is —— again, is there a trend? —— common sense.

The Seven Correlates (according to Lezotte's research)

  1. Instructional leadership
  2. Clear and focused mission 
  3. Safe and orderly environment 
  4. Climate of high expectations
  5. Frequent monitoring of student progress
  6. Positive home–school relations
  7. Opportunity to learn and time on task

Mike Schmoker

Schmoker's work on "results" makes sense and is replicable. I read Results Now prior to reading any of his other work. It changed the way I thought about what could happen in a school. No, it didn't change the way I thought about what could happen … it changed my belief that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN when a dedicated group of people decide to make something great happen for kids. Some simple tweaks and focus on learning can make a huge impact. I have been fortunate enough to bring Schmoker into a school district twice, intermediate districts twice, and to a major conference, as well. Some of what he says rubs people the wrong way, but research supports that he is probably correct. If you haven't read a great education book in the past six months, do yourself a favor and order a copy of Results Now.


Marzano's work on effective instruction is incredible. His work on effective schools and effective districts is even better. Marzano has been researching and studying what works in schools for several years. He has a grasp on what it means to take things to the next level. You could choose to read anything by Marzano, but could start with this free white paper "Teaching for Rigor."

I could write for hours about the value of well–run education. But I have to go to school this morning ...

No comments: