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Teaching As Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher's Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap [Paperback]

by Teach For America, Steven Farr, Wendy Kopp, Jason Kamras
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 2, 2010 0470432861 978-0470432860 1
A road map for teachers who strive to be highly effective leaders in our nation's classrooms

Teach For America has fought the daunting battle of educational equity for the last twenty years. Based on evidence from classrooms across the country, they've discovered much about effective teaching practice, and distilled these findings into the six principles presented in this book. The Teaching As Leadership framework inspires teachers to: Set Big Goals; Invest Students and Their Families; Plan Purposefully; Execute Effectively; Continuously Increase Effectiveness; Work Relentlessly. The results are better educational outcomes for our nation's children, particularly those who live in low-income communities.

  • Inspires educators to be leaders in their classrooms and schools
  • Demystifies what it means to be an effective teacher, describes key elements of practice and provides a clear vision of success
  • Addresses the challenges every teacher, in every classroom, faces on a daily basis

An accompanying website includes a wealth of tools, videos, sample lessons, discussion boards, and case studies.

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Teaching As Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher's Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap + Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12)
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Editorial Reviews


"Teaching as Leadership demonstrates a commitment to and professional endorsement of the power of teachers. Farr's book speaks to the moral, ethical, and economic imperative to effect improved achievement for all students, not just some. This is a must-read for anyone at any level of our education system, including those who are preparing to revise and reauthorize NCLB." (Huffington Post, March 1, 2010)

From the Back Cover

Praise for Teaching as Leadership

"Eliminating our nation's unjust achievement gap and providing schools where all children can learn is part of the unfinished business of the Civil Rights Movement and of our nation. Teach For America is dedicated to this goal—and this new book is a terrific resource that shares the valuable lessons learned from studying highly effective teachers and successful classrooms across the country."
Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund

"Every teacher, principal, and superintendent should read this book. Over the last two years, we have seen our students' reading, writing, and math skills improve significantly. The principles outlined in Teaching As Leadership have played a critical role in our progress."
Andrés Alonso, chief executive officer, Baltimore City Schools

"By assessing the actions of highly effective teachers in some of America's most challenging teaching environments, Teach For America outlines key strategies to close the achievement gap—investing in students and their families, planning purposefully, and working relentlessly. This inspiring book will inform the work of everyone engaged in the training and support of teachers in high-poverty schools."
Kathleen McCartney, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education and Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development

"For new teachers, there is no substitute for getting into a classroom and suffering the pain and frustration of finding what works best for them. This book, however, offers new teachers a resource sure to make those first months a little less difficult. Teaching As Leadership assembles wisdom from dozens of successful Teach For America teachers, addressing every problem one could imagine. This is a smart gift for the new teacher in your family."
Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist and author, Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

"From its very beginnings, Teach For America has invested more energy in understanding effective teaching than any teacher preparation program I know. And year after year, they have fed that information back into their own selection processes and teacher supports with a single goal: producing more teachers who can change the life chances of poor children. With this book, they have distilled what they are learning—along with relevant research—into a guide that is at once both fabulously readable and highly practical. If I had three thumbs, they would all be pointed up."
Kati Haycock, president, Education Trust

"Teaching As Leadership works. This is the approach taken by teachers who lead diverse students to great academic achievements."
Beverly Hall, superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools and 2009 National Superintendent of the Year

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470432861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470432860
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Farr leads Teach For America's efforts to discern what distinguishes teachers whose students in low-income communities achieve dramatic academic growth. Those findings inform the organization's teacher selection, training, and support. Farr also works to build the organization's knowledge by learning from and sharing with other organizations working towards educational equity. Some of the organization's findings can be accessed through www.teachingasleadership.org, an accompanying website to the book, Teaching As Leadership.

Since 2001, Farr has overseen various elements of Teach For America's teacher training and support efforts, as well as studies of the best practices of highly effective teachers. He managed the research and development of a number of Teach For America's training texts, including Instructional Planning and Delivery, Classroom Management and Culture, Learning Theory, and Diversity, Community, and Achievement. He has contributed to the development of the Teaching As Leadership framework and rubric, as well as some of Teach For America's online resources built around those ideas.

Farr's work in education began when he joined Teach For America as a corps member in the Rio Grande Valley after graduating from the University of Texas's Plan II Honors program. For two years, he taught high school English and English as a Second Language in Donna, Texas at Donna High School where he was nominated for Teacher of the Year by his colleagues. He then attended Yale Law School, where he focused on issues related to education. He coauthored "The Edgewood Drama: An Epic Quest for Education Equity" for the Yale Law and Policy Review, an overview of the policies and politics affecting school finance in Texas in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that education is not a fundamental right. While attending Yale, Farr taught English as a Second Language at Quinnipiac College and represented children in special education matters through the school's legal clinic.

After law school, Farr served as a law clerk for the Honorable William Wayne Justice in Austin, Texas. Farr then taught and litigated civil rights and disabilities issues at the Georgetown University Law Center's Institute for Public Representation until 2001, when he joined the staff of Teach For America as vice president of training and support. Today, Farr serves as the organization's Chief Knowledge Officer.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important book February 8, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very important book.

The authors have analyzed two decades' worth of observations, questionnaires, and interviews generated by the Teach for America program and used it to determine what differentiates highly effective teachers from less effective ones. It turns out that highly effective teachers share six traits: They set big goals, invest students and their families in them, plan purposefully, execute effectively, continuously increase their effectiveness, and work relentlessly. The book explains what these traits mean, offers examples of their implementation, and recommends strategies that teachers can apply to their classes.

I thought the the two chapters on effective execution were the most valuable parts of the book. That's because they reinforce other research (for example, Madeline Hunter's from the late 70s - late 80s and Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins' "Backward Design"). Those teachers who plan well, teach well, and assess well get the best results. It sounds obvious-- and in many ways, it is-- but it's not so easy to do in the real world of the classroom. This book demonstrates that it can be done.

It also demonstrates that it must be done if we are to close the achievement gap, the low achievement by minority and poor kids, that bedevils the schools. There is no hope of solving the persistent social problems of poverty and ameliorating the effects of racism as long as that gap exists.

Now, there are some important qualifications here.

First, what the book says is specific to teachers working in poor and minority communities. That's because the point of Teach for America is to recruit and train teachers to work in those communities.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Ideas But Weigh the Philosophy February 18, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I come from a family with a teacher who has won many accolades and we all have teachers we remember fondly and also not as fondly so it is with that perspective that I read this book, as did my family member who is a teacher. Teaching as Leadership offers great anecdotes from teachers who have made a difference in the lives of disadvantaged students but none of them really speak about whether this came at their own personal cost or how their laser focus impacted their families (did they have children of their own when they came home?). Chapters one and two try to build inspiration and ask you to set high standards and involve the families in the process. Both are important ideas that can be executed to differing levels of success depending upon your community. If family members in the community work two and three jobs to stay afloat, all speak a different language than the language of instruction, and/or are in the midst of social crises, than they are understandably limited in how much more they can give to their child's education without support services from the government. That being said, the last chapter asks teachers to work relentlessly... Many teachers work as they they are the CEOs of large corporations putting in 60 to 80 hour weeks that go unnoticed because so much of their work is taken home with them. The burn-out factor is a huge problem and chapter six asks teachers to, "Assume personal responsibility for dramatic student learning...and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles." How many people could last 25 years in a job that demands that of them every day? Is the shift to making teachers as responsible for the students as parents realistic and sustainable? Read more ›
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Most everyone agrees that education is important to any society, but what cannot be agreed upon is the means to achieve an end; the most effective way to teach so that children emerge better informed and better suited for the ever- changing world in which we live. This book, Teaching as Leadership, claims to have the answers and it formulates its methodology based on the experience of teachers over a twenty-year span. The book strives to make teachers more effective, more successful, and more efficient through its articulated means for teaching and student involvement. It spells everything out, in chronological step- by- step order, covering everything from setting goals to execution to continuous improvement.

Teaching as Leadership does have some good advice to offer and I like the way it lays out its plan of action. It offers anecdotes and a helpful conclusion/summary at the end of each chapter that wraps up the key points. This is all fine and good, and the author's intentions are certainly positive and noteworthy. However, this book isn't quite the eye- opening read I was hoping for and the main reason is that most of the contents of this book cover strategies and material that teachers have heard and been trained on for decades. In addition to that, the book gets very monotonous after a while. You can easily predict what each section of each chapter is going to cover before you get there. If the author wanted to drive these points home through repetition, I would say he succeeded.

On the positive side, this book does more than simply lay out a plan of action through words and anecdotes. There are also some helpful appendices and other reference material throughout each chapter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book by TFA
Good book for anyone ready to start and/or step up their teaching and leadership on campus. An easy read and gives some insight into TFA.
Published 7 months ago by _MiMorales_
5.0 out of 5 stars Steal!
This book was labeled acceptable but it should be labeled as BRAND NEW! This book has hardly been touched! I would buy from this seller again!
Published 8 months ago by Jordan Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book.
great book and excellent quality of material and approach, especially for teachers who seek a better use for their classes.
Published 10 months ago by Carlos Eduardo de Souza
5.0 out of 5 stars Required for all new teachers
First, let me say that I originally got this book around the time it was first published (I think), but it got lost when it was accidentally packed away with some other things, and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Texas Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Wife is high school Math teacher
She helped me with this review. It is in her ballpark as you will. This book has some great tips and suggestions for dealing with the achievement gap in today's education system. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. J. Marino
3.0 out of 5 stars Teaching as Preaching
There are a few problems with this book:

1) It is highly repetitious which makes it a long read as you feel you are being bludgeoned with rhetoric by a preacher. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book - Teacher's bible
I was having a hard time being a new teacher in an international school in Singapore, and was searching the internet for resources on how to teach my students better so that they... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Eugene
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching as Leadership
This is a wonderful book. I have been very inspired by the stories of the teachers' accomplishments. Read more
Published on September 25, 2011 by methomas
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong guide for newcomers and veterans alike
Teaching As Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher's Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap reads more like a business manual than a guide to teaching ... Read more
Published on August 1, 2011 by Eric San Juan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all teachers!
I found this book to be full of great ideas that I can use in my classroom. I loved all the vignettes about real people who went into their classrooms as first year teachers and... Read more
Published on April 28, 2011 by Nikki S.
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