Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12)
April 2010, Jossey-Bass
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Imagine a classroom where the same students who, moments before, were unruly and undisciplined suddenly take their seats, pull out their notebooks and as if by magic, think and work like scholars. In a time of massive education budget cuts and layoffs, this scenario seems unlikely. Yet in classrooms around the U.S. there stands one teacher– an artisan whose techniques and execution differentiates her from her peers. What is this teacher’s secret? Does she possess an innate talent for the trade, or can her craft be learned?
Featured as the cover and full length feature story in the March 7th issue of the New York Times Magazine, Teach Like A Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students On The Path To College (Jossey-Bass; 978-0-470-55047-2; April 2010; $27.95) by Doug Lemov offers effective teaching techniques to help any teacher become a champion in the classroom. The New York Times article, “Building a Better Teacher” solicited over 600 comments online shortly after it ran, prompting an interview with Anderson Cooper “AC360” and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation."
For over ten years, teacher, trainer and administrator Doug Lemov has observed hundreds of classrooms, analyzing outstanding teachers who have transformed at risk students into achievers. What he found was that there is a tool box for success, and they are techniques that can be learned and employed by any teacher. As a result of Lemov’s Techniques, West Denver Prep students (93% who are qualified as low income) demonstrated the highest academic growth at any middle school in Denver for the third consecutive year in 2009, with median growth percentiles of 90% in Math, 85% in Writing, and 66% in Reading. Below are some examples of Lemov’s “champion” techniques:
Technique #5: Without Apology. If teachers aren’t on guard, they can unwittingly apologize for teaching worthy content. Kids respond to challenges, so instead of apologizing, say: “lots of people don’t understand this until they get to college, but you’ll know it now. Cool.”
Technique #22: Cold Call. In order to make engaged participation the expectation, call on students regardless of whether they have raised their hands. Cold calling is an engagement strategy, not a discipline strategy.
Technique #45: Warm/Strict. Teachers must be both: caring, funny, warm, concerned, and nurturing – and strict, by the book, relentless, and sometimes inflexible. Teachers send the message to students that having high expectations is part of caring for and respecting someone.
Along with these 49 techniques, Teach Like A Champion also includes a DVD of 25 video clips of teachers demonstrating the techniques in the classroom. You can also the view video clips of some of the techniques on NYTimes.com.
“A few teachers may be born with an intuitive gift for teaching, but when I watch a great teacher I see mostly hard work and attention to detail,” summarizes author Doug Lemov. Teach Like A Champion is essential reading for teachers who intend to make every moment count in their classrooms, it is a set of tools they can use to become successful in the world’s greatest profession.