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Showing 1-10 of 14 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on December 21, 2014
I am not sure where to begin, as I feel like the cliché David attacking Goliath. Although I believe that my lone voice may not cause much of an effect, I feel an obligation to level my criticism towards this book.
First, I will show you the weaknesses conceptually and then I will give my personal experience as a teacher to back it up. The main problem of this book is very simple, it lacks generalizability. This means you can not take the words from this situation and then inductively assume that it follows these are "49 techniques that put students on the path to college." It is very pathetic, sad and disappointing that thousands of college-educated adults (student teachers and teacher) could not see this. This line of "research" is known as process-product research, and it basically looks back from a result (student achievement) to the techniques that teachers performed in their classrooms. Even in the most well-designed, objective studies conducted by actual scientists and researchers they are the first to acknowledge that their results in those PARTICULAR classrooms may not transfer to ALL teachers everywhere.
However, Lemov (A Harvard Business school MBA) can not see, or more likely purposefully deceives his readers, of this fact. But Lemov actually takes this problem of generalizability to an extreme, nearly absurd, level. Because he chooses a very specific context, a network of charter schools in North East Cities with a high African-American population, and then generalizes his "findings" (which have no transparent method or discussion of results or data for the reader to review) to ALL teachers, ALL students and ALL classrooms his ideas lack any thing resembling generalizability. This is nonsense! The fact that college professors would actually assign this book is mind-blowing, since it has these obvious faults. How can one not see the problems inherent in the leap of faith that his techniques actually apply to YOU?
His conditions do not reflect the real classrooms teachers teach in, unless you teach in one of Lemov's uncommon schools charter schools! There are all sorts of school populations and he looked at a very specific population. maybe, just maybe, students with involved parents that seek out charter schools, schools with administrations that know they can expel a student right back to public school if anything out of line occurs, have a much different "climate" than other schools.
Now to the techniques themselves, some are clearly supported by research like circulating around the room or "cold-calling" students when participation is low. But he offers the same intellectually-insulting ideas to the techniques, ZERO critical thinking. such as: when should I use this? Under what circumstance? With which sort of students?
Lemov is no moron, because his great snake-oil salesmanship and massive financial success speak to his business smarts, but he presents a view lacking in any depth, critical thinking or interpretation. Basically, he seems to believe teachers need "techniques" rather than being educated, capable professionals. Ironically, with teachers gobbling up his writings, and worse yet, schools of education and school districts using this text to "teach" teachers, he may be right!
Personally, having to use these techniques during my student teaching and during my first year, I realized just how little they actually helped. His idea that teachers can just apply techniques rather than develop through practice and reflection and collaboration (like every other professional) is just simply insulting.
Finally, I would like to take issue with the theory (unstated as it may be) that Lemov subscribes to and my issues with it. He is capitalizing on the myth of our time, which is embodied in institutions like TFA or KIPP charter schools, and developed from the ideas of greater teacher accountability that people like Michellle Rhee endorse. The myth is as follows, "regular teachers are doing a horrible job teaching, as reflected in the achievement gap, particularly in Iow-income schools. This is because teachers do not hold high expectations for these students and that these students must be 'saved' by a miracle-worker teacher who closes the achievement gap through special techniques that raise standardized test scores. Massive childhood poverty, racial segregation and inequality, poor parenting practices, lack of parental education, teen parents, single-parent households, lack of access to books and reading materials and unequal schools are no match to a 'champion' teacher who will overcome all of this. The real enemy are not those aforementioned social problems, but teacher unions and the lazy, tenured, ineffective teachers they create. If teachers were just more effective this would all change."
If someone can not see the absolutely extreme views behind this, they need to examine their own beliefs. Teachers did not create these conditions and they can only do so much to change the world, as Krashen, professor Emeriuts from USC, said when asked what the cause of the achievement gap in reading was he replied, "poverty, poverty, poverty." Once we all put aside our magical thinking and realize teachers are a group of professionals, and should be treated as such, and should not be responsible for outside inequalities, then teachers can work together to become better for the actual students in their classrooms. If you would actually like to learn about classroom management look up the extensive research base, use practical judgment and experience to guide you and critically reflect on your own mistakes and successes.
Thank you for reading.
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on April 9, 2013
What is the point of buying the Kindle version when it does not come with any of the clips found in the DVD? Now I have to buy the hard-cover just so I can get the stupid DVD! This makes me very upset that the Kindle version lacks this VERY IMPORTANT information. There should be a warning to let you know that you are only buying part of the book.
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on May 3, 2013
Doug Lemov's `Teach Like A Champion' is not a book for seasoned teachers. Nor is one for those teachers who have students who have breached the cognitive threshold that allows them to think for themselves. In fact, the book seems best suited for those pedants who are concerned chiefly with behavior. With echoes of Skinner and Pavlov, the text presents teaching at a neat, crisp, anonymous and extremely generalizable undertaking that requires little more than strict, enforceable rules that can and should be repeated ad nauseam. Learners aren't so much learners as cogs that must be pressed into the service of listening and following rules. It's all about modifying students' behavior, getting them march in synch with what are, at times, arbitrary and even counter-productive strictures. Take the No Opt Out technique. Here teachers are asked to call on students to provide answers to their questions and not let up on them until they provide one (nevermind the fact that the question might be ill-conceived or that the student's cultural background isn't amendable to individualism and speaking their minds). Other techniques seem to mirror this all or nothing, perfection at all costs mentality (100 percent, No Warnings, Cold Call) while still others are even more regimented and seemingly divorced from learning. Rare is the book about teaching that dedicates a section on how to coerce one's students on how to sit and hand out and receive materials with a straight face. I have little basis or foundation on which to secure the following claim, but given the baselessness of Lemov's book, I am comfortable in stating the following: this is a book about how to train lower class minority kids to behave in a socially-acceptable white middle class world. Given his own background, easy use of corporate speak, and even those individuals who glowingly blurbed his book (Lee Canter, author of--wait for it--Assertive Discipline), this is not an unreasonable question; couple this with where he teaches, and his anonymous, cultureless drone-like conception of students, it is an important question, one that Lemov should be held accountable to answer.
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on September 5, 2011
Despite the the author's view that these techniques put students on the path to college, this book perpetuates the culture of low expectations among low-income youth. The book glorifies teachers who do the minimum. In truth, these techniques are rudimentary classroom-management approaches---not championship teaching.

The question I ask is, "What are students being socialized to do?" In Teach Like a Champion, students are being socialized to be passive, mob followers. They are being taught that recall of information is all they can, should, or be expected to do. The priority in this book is control--not high-order thinking.

True championship teaching rests on the idea that low skill level does not mean low intellectual ability. And it moves beyond the idea that low-income students must start with the lowest level skills.

Finally, dishearteningly, Lemov's book contributes to the de-professionalization of teaching. He sends the message that anyone can do it--if they read the right manual.

To read my full review, visit The White Rhino blog on Chicago Now's Web site.
99 comments| 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 27, 2012
The book has a lot of good material, but I was most unhappy to discover that the DVD had been bound into the book incorrectly by the publisher causing a chunk of its outside edge to remain stuck in the book binding. When I contacted the publisher, they wanted me to send a pile of documentation (most inconvenient since my scanner is down). They were not at all helpful since I had purchased from Amazon and not directly from the publisher. However, Amazon came to the rescue again, sending a replacement as well as covering return shipping. Hopefully, the next book will have been put together properly. I'll update if not. Please beware of binding errors with this publisher.
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on October 23, 2015
Many of these strategies simply won't work. Students who are disengaged will not/do not respond to intervention.
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on June 29, 2016
Not as described! Missing DVD which I really needed. Waste of time and money.
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on March 11, 2016
More markups than expected
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on November 1, 2013
This was mainly for older students. I would not show it to my students because the vast majority of the students in the clips were minority. That gave the impression that minority students are the ones who needs these strategies....way not true. He should have had diverse populations.
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on December 6, 2012
Lemov bases his theory in the assumption that teaching is a technician's job rather than an intellectual one. There is not such a thing a recipes for being a sucessful teacher.

A great teacher is the one that can build curriculum and estrategies according to each student. Not this behavioral crap that he is trying to sell...
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