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Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspired to Act Now, May 31, 2008
This review is from: Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning (Paperback)
In Results Now, author Mike Schmoker presents a compelling argument for improving teaching and learning. He proposes significant impact can be made on student learning through reasonable efforts and adjustment. A deep focus on instruction will bring about the improvements we seek in educational outcomes.

Schmoker acknowledges the brutal facts surrounding wasted time in classrooms. Much of the time, students are engaged in busy work: coloring, drawing, superfluous worksheets, and other such activities that are unrelated to the teaching objective and have nothing to do with reading or writing. If we increase instructional practices that include the use of scoring rubrics, high-yield strategies and higher-order thinking, student achievement will rise.

There are consequences to working in isolation, the traditionally accepted mode of classroom instruction. Schmoker says collaboration is nearly non-existent in the majority of schools. Though certainly since the publication of this book in 2006, collaboration is on the rise as more and more schools engage in the practice of professional learning communities. Through this practice and with strong leadership within professional learning communities, the author suggests improvement in student achievement is guaranteed.

He eloquently advocates for improvements in literacy education, calling for purposeful reading, argumentative literacy, writing, and discussion. Schmoker states a new understanding of literacy is essential to "transform and enliven learning for both students and teachers." A curriculum rich in authentic literacy would include generous amounts of close, purposeful readings, rereading, writing, and talking. In this model, instruction goes beyond decoding and fluency, which are only the first steps of literacy instruction.

The reader is persuaded to improve instruction through effective practices of professional learning communities, thereby increasing student achievement. Schmoker reports that teachers find successful team meetings engage members in reflection, are results-oriented, focus on essential common standards, are social, and honor and empower teachers and their intelligence. In a professional learning community culture, teachers support each others' efforts to become instructional leaders and this leads to a growing momentum in school improvement.

Through Schmoker's words, one will first be inspired to elicit change in our schools, then will be given the tools (found in the appendices) to go do it. Some concepts may be lofty, presented as if we could slide through the change process unscathed. It may not be that easy; however, the intention is worthy of applause.
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