Saturday, January 3, 2015

Out With the Old, In With the New

Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubell, Howard Pitler, Bj Stone CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION that WORKS:--Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement

When the 2nd Edition of Classroom Instruction that Works came off the press, I immediately purchased it. The 1st Edition sat prominently on my bookshelf at eye level and easily within hands reach. I went to it often as I thought about how to support effective instruction. Inside its well-worn pages was the go to list of effective research-based, tried and true instructional strategies along with their average effect size, percentile gains and standard deviations.

The newest edition sat on my shelf for more time that I would like to admit. How could one improve on such sound practices?  My wise colleague continued to encourage me and eventually started correcting me, because what I had known and was frequently sharing was no longer as current as I had believed. Now let me clarify here. The instructional strategies listed in the current edition are still the same as in the original addition, but in a flat world we have better tools and resources for interpreting more current evidence-based studies. 

In the books forward, literacy guru John Hattie reassure others and myself with this powerful statement. “The world has not stood still. We learned a lot in the intervening decade, and the order in which the authors present the strategies has changed to better reflect the current educational climate and a comprehensive framework that is geared toward instructional planning. I encourage you to read on and see what classroom instruction the evidence indicates works best.”  I was hooked and on I read.

In the first edition the strategies were listed in order of their effective size, starting with the greatest impact. So myself, and I am sure others, went to this go to list, thought about which strategy would give us the most ‘bang for our buck’ and didn’t often consider the other strategies and the end of the list. In the second edition, “the strategies are organized and presented within a framework that is geared toward instructional planning” (pg. xiv). There are four parts in the author’s newest edition laying the foundation for The Framework for Instructional Planning.

Creating the Environment for Learning
Helping Students Develop Understanding
Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge
Putting the Instructional Strategies to Use

The nine research based strategies for increasing student achievement are listed within those four components. The authors have also updated their effect size with McREL researchers who used narrative reviews, qualitative research, and theoretical literature.  I am tempted to share with you what strategy falls under what category and the updated effect sizes (some which will surprise you), but then I imagine you wouldn’t be inclined to read the book in its entirety to learn the what, how, when, and why each strategy works.

Happy Reading!

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