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I went to the trouble of checking a number of key references. Here's what I discovered: A. Every single reference I checked was itself dubious or misrepresented by the authors. B. Some of the references were on topics unrelated to the instructional strategies cited. B. Some of the numbers from published data were altered to better conform to the author's point of view. C. Some of the references themselves presented provisional conclusions based on weak results, but were given complete credence by Marzano et al. D. The authors took weak data from several studies, each based on averaging the results from studies assumed to use similar methods and subject cohorts, and averaged these, compounding the statistical weaknesses. This is especially shocking given that no credible researcher would combine results from studies by different groups that clearly use different methodologies and subject cohorts.
Noone should regard this book as a description of research-based strategies. In fact, the publisher should withdraw the book as it misrepresents fiction as fact.
This is not to say these strategies do not work. However, there is little or no valid research to support any statement that they offer any improvement over direct instruction.
As time has passed since I first posted a similar review, the so-called "Marzano Strategies" have continued to gain traction even among education professionals at the college level. Presumably this is because "Marzano Strategy" is easy to remember and has a certain auditory potency. It illustrates, however, the dangers of uncritical and indiscriminate acceptance of ideas and strategies we want to believe in. There is a huge difference between "teacher-tested" and "research-based". The authors have clearly committed intellectual fraud in their wildly successful bid to sell books and make a name for themselves by passing off teacher-tested ideas as research-based.
I'll keep this short and sweet, and not summarize the contents of the book. Such can be found in other reviews, as well as the editorial synopsis. Instead, let me just suggest that "Classroom Instruction that Works??? is a long overdue work that can be used in a three-fold manner. First, it should be required reading for every new teacher. It clearly details for them what is effective in the classroom, regardless of grade level. There is little philosophy here. This is ???meat and potatoes??? practicality. Secondly, the research in this book should become an integral part of every teacher-evaluation process. It provides a model paradigm of excellence in teaching above and beyond the subjectivity extant in most evaluations today. Finally, this book should be a personal read of every experienced teacher. I cannot express my feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when I realized--I already do many of these things! While I know I can improve in many areas because of reading this work, much of my teaching was validated by sound research, and that felt good! It is my hope that this material will be presented at many of the national education conferences I attend each year--in fact, I plan on using much of this in my own presentations. The book is nicely organized, backed by solid research, and utilizes illustrative scenarios which make complex methodology very understandable. And isn't this the goal of every classroom teacher? HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Dr. J.L. Parks Georgetown Middle School Georgetown, KY
***THE FOLLOWING REVIEW IS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EDUCATORS***
Research points out that 75% of those who go into teaching are systematic learners, and then teach systematically, while 75% of students (and the rest of us) are not systematic learners. Systematic teachers are those who will teach you how to ride a bike by first making you sit as they describe the parts and how they work together...that's fine for 25% of students but most of us just need to get on the bike and ride it...from the experience of riding the bike we then have a purposeful framework for...ta da...later systematic instruction...what am I trying to say? This book is "instructional heroin" for systematic teachers...perfect for the suburbs where children have the schema to automatically make connections between concepts...but, from what I've experienced, falls short in an at-risk school.
One perfect example is the section on discovery teaching. It states that there isn't research to back up its superiority as an approach...that's not true...and that it's "time consuming". Well...no...it actually saves time if done correctly...because it will not take the time direct teaching requires to "pound a concept into a child's head" as procedure...it fits brain research as applied to at-risk kids who desperately need to think, and move, and discover...it combines numerous curriculum indicators into meaningful systems...but, most importantly, places new information within a purposeful, motivating environment.
On the upside, Chapter 6 regarding "Non-linguistic" representations is superb...my only problem is that it doesn't address the value of graphic organizers for younger learners as opposed to the older learner...Read more ›