The Artistry of Teaching
Teaching is an art. I’ve always thought of myself as an artist and a nerd. ELA/Reading, Writing and Social studies are exciting and are an easy target for me. But Math and Science make me cringe when I have to write goals and lesson plans. The language used is by far, harder for me to grasp. It’s true, words can make you or break you. With that said, Teacher, it’s time to look up and master your art – if you haven’t already. Robert Marzano, the guru of educational research, wrote a book, The Art and Science of Teaching. In this book he gives you strategies to help you create meaningful lessons and instruction that will move the needle of your classroom to progress and more! (PS: the book is really good!)
Strategies (The Canvas, Paint, and Brushes)
Below Marzano gives 8 strategies to help you. I’ve condensed these strategies for a quick look, but I do suggest buying the book. It is a wealth of information!
Strategy 1: A Clear Focus for the Lesson
- The clarity of lessons used by a teacher, including lesson goals, strongly influences student achievement. Clearly state what you want students to learn/understand, know and be able to do.
- Pose questions at the beginning of a lesson is an effective way to focus students. Ex: How do you add mixed fractions with different denominators? That’s what you must know by the end of this lesson. What is the difference between elements and compounds? … Why is Persuasive Essay A better than Persuasive Essay B?
Strategy 2: Offer Overt Instruction
- It is important to explicitly teach (direct instruction) your students the things they need to learn. Tell them what they need to know, show them how to do it, and allow time for them to practice. Marzano’s research revealed that direct instruction was the most effective factor affecting students’ success.
- Marzano also highlighted the importance of giving examples and non-examples (similarities and differences) of the concept you are teaching. **metaphors/similes=Velcro-it sticks with students!
- Marzano also found that you can explicitly teach deeper levels of understanding by using graphic organizers. You should use graphic organizers to show how different ideas were related to each other (e.g. steps, cause-effect, hierarchy, lists, comparisons, etc.). **visual learners
- Marzano believed that telling students what they needed to know and showing them what they needed to do are essential aspects of teaching. **That Marzano is such a smart fellow!
Strategy 3: Get the Students to Engage With the Content
- Marzano’s research shows students actively link new information with prior knowledge of the topic. Students should engage with the content when they hear it by:
- Adding it to what they already know or clarify some their assumptions they currently hold
- Taking notes
- Marzano also found all of these strategies are useful, but they only allow students to engage with the material at a surface level. Marzano contends teachers should engage students on a deeper level with material that helps them deepen their understanding beyond surface knowledge.
- graphic organizers showing how information is connected
- analogies such as: Persuasive devices are to a writer what tools are to a trade,
Strategy 4: Give Feedback
- Guiding students through feedback is important to their academic development.
- Highlighting what is right and wrong, or good and bad about their work *Ex: what demonstrates mastery and what needs revision to achieve mastery.
- Helping students to see how they can improve with revision tasks. **exemplars that are on different topics that demonstrate skills needed
- Robert Marzano highlighted that students need to be given feedback while there is still time to improve (i.e. before finishing a topic or assigning a formal assessment task). Revision, revision, revision.
Strategy 5: Multiple Exposures
- If you want students to internalize new information, you need to expose them to it several times. When exploring how to enhance students’ vocabulary,
- Marzano found that it was critical for teachers to expose students to the same word multiple times.
- When each exposure was coupled with an explicit comment about the word and its meaning, students’ vocabulary acquisition doubled. ****teachers need to use the vocabulary repeatedly word walls as well.
Strategy 6: Have Students Apply Their Knowledge
Robert Marzano found that helping students apply their knowledge deepens their understanding. Knowledge application is a deductive process whereby students apply general principles to specific case studies or problems. Marzano found that teaching students how to think deductively and giving them guided practice also helps them apply their learning beyond the particular topic or task at hand.
- Robert Marzano’s research revealed that problem-solving had a large effect on students’ understanding.
- Marzano believes that problems should require students to apply previously learned knowledge and skills in a unique task.
Strategy 7: Get Students Working Together
Robert Marzano stated that getting students to work with each other helps them to achieve better results. The use of cooperative learning groups adds value to whole-class instruction and to individual work.
- Inter-group competition can increase the effect of cooperative learning even more. However, Marzano does not believe that cooperative learning should replace whole-class instruction or individual learning activities.
- Marzano adds that if students are to master what they are being taught, they also need opportunities for individual practice and feedback.
- Marzano stated that cooperative learning is only effective when you:
- Structure it carefully, keep groups small.
- Teach students how to work in groups. Groups teach students valuable life skills such as learning from each other and building relationships.
Strategy 8: Build Students’ Self-Efficacy
- Self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief about his/her ability to successfully complete a task. It is situation specific. For example, a student may feel confident that they can dance well on stage, but be insecure about public speaking.
- Marzano found that students’ self-efficacy had a substantial impact on their subsequent achievement. He found students who believed they would master fractions were more likely to do it. In comparison, students who saw themselves as poor readers were less likely to improve their reading.
- Marzano’s review of research showed that you can build students’ self-efficacy through praise, and expressing your belief that they can do well. However, to be effective, such praise must be genuine – i.e. only given when students have made real improvement referring to specific accomplishments related to the task As Carol Dweck noted, if you praise lavishly and liberally, you end up praising mediocrity, which in turn sends a message that you believe that is all you think they are capable of.
For resources that follow Marzano’s 8 Strategies, check out my store!