01/31/2012

NEXT POST
The evolving landscape of educational research: What a difference a decade can make! When the first edition of Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (CITW) was published in 2001, it gave the educational world unprecedented guidance for using research-based strategies in a practical way. Free from any one particular philosophy or program, this was one of the first books for educators that very simply said, “This is what works.” McREL's continued requests for training, services, and products based on this seminal work are indicative of its lasting relevance in the field. Yet, what a difference a decade can make! Since that initial publication, our profession has been enlightened by the works of Carol Dweck, John J. Medina, Linda Darling-Hammond, Nancy Frey, and many others. We know more now about student motivation, providing feedback, the power of multimedia and images, and scaffolding learning that we ever did before. While we have been humbled by the success of the first edition of CITW, it became more and more apparent that the work was in need of an update as we helped educators learn the nuances of the nine categories of effective strategies. In addition to including emerging research in the field, we felt the need to make correlations with dynamic developments in educational technology and an increased focus on 21st century skills. Perhaps our biggest incentive for rewriting the book came from our experiences in working with thousands of schools and districts on learning CITW. As we talked with educators and school or district leaders, we realized that there were parts...
PREVIOUS POST
Unearthing secrets to student success In the decade-plus since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, schools and districts have struggled to bring all students to proficiency in core academic areas, as measured by standardized assessments. No question about it—students do need to be proficient in core subject areas, yet a legitimate criticism of this high-stakes environment, as found by researcher Wayne Au, has been that it can narrow the curriculum to tested subjects and result in an increase in teacher-centered pedagogy. But what if student-centered learning, with an additional emphasis on intangibles like effort, motivation, and character, could result in an increase in student achievement outcomes? The Expeditionary Learning program is based on just that premise. In Expeditionary Learning schools (students engage in team-based, interdisciplinary “learning expeditions,” including fieldwork, case studies, projects, and service learning—all with an underlying focus on culture and character. These learning expeditions are intended not only to foster students’ academic growth, but also to contribute to the community. In Rochester, New York, for example, students worked on a proposal to beautify the area by uncovering a river that had been paved over and creating a riverfront park area. In Denver, Colorado, students proposed to build a planned new school as a “green” school, researching environmentally friendly building practices, proposing a school design, and creating pamphlets to present their findings to the district. Program developers and staff have long been convinced that this approach results in improvements in student achievement, and quasi-experimental research from the RAND Corporation, Brown University,...

Recent Comments