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Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (K-12) by Doug Lemov Norman Atkins 1 edition (Textbook ONLY, Paperback) Paperback – 1940
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I'm still reading this book but have employed the tips that I've already discovered. They are easy to use and work very well. My English/language arts classes, which have always been orderly and productive (our school is off the charts in this subject on standardized testing), is now even better -- to the degree that I've received numerous compliments from my superiors.
This book is an INVESTMENT in the lives of students, not simply a purchase.
BOTTOM LINE: Buy it! You will be glad you did.
I have taught for five years and found several of the techniques in the first section to be eye-opening. Many of the ideas seemed very straightforward and obvious when I read the description, yet I had never considered many of the techniques he outlines before. For example, I used what I learned from the "No Opt Out" technique the day after I read it. "No Opt Out" is used to let students know that they are accountable for information; they can't simply say "I don't know" and be off the hook. If a student doesn't know, the teacher can ask another student and then return to the initial student who could not answer the question first. I like this because it sets the tone in the classroom that every student is held accountable, and I think it helps build confidence--the student sees that they can answer a question. The text offers the explanation of the technique and then examples of it in use (sometimes offering dialogue of how to implement the technique in class). Lemov outlines several techniques like this that are quick to read and easy to implement, making this book very user friendly.
There were, however, several techniques that do not fit my teaching style or the climate of my school. For example, SLANT mandates that students sit up, listen, ask and answer questions, nod your head, and track the speaker. Lemov discusses S-SLANT, which also mandates that students smile--the first S in the acronym. In essence, these are good skills to teach students, but watching it on film (with the dvd included), the technique seems too regimented and forced. I want my students to discuss good audience membership and decide to participate; I don't want to constantly tell my students they must smile and track me wherever I move in the class.
One of my biggest criticisms of this text is that the techniques seem very strict and "cookie-cutter," like I mentioned above with SLANT. Additionally, Lemov does not offer research that supports the claim that using these techniques will close the achievement gap. He uses a lot of generalizations like, "One consistency among champion teachers (...)," but then provides no research to support his claim. Additionally, he makes it sound like his techniques are the only way to achieve the desired outcome. It seems like he is saying if you want to set high academic expectations and be a champion teacher, you must use techniques like "No opt out" and "Stretch it."
Finally, if you are looking for a book specifically on reading instruction (section 2 of this text), I would suggest you look elsewhere. Again, this section has valuable information and can be a nice introduction to how to teach reading, but he provides very little theory and research. If you are looking for a quick read that has practical reading strategies, check out Kylene Beers' When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do.