Monday, June 25, 2012

What works in schools: Classroom Instruction That Works

While this is not related to software specifically, I'm going to begin a series of blogs about effective pedagogy in schools.
I've revisited this book recently and it's still as good as I remember. Robert Marzano's meta-study of effective pedagogy pulls together research from over 100 studies and looks at the most effective way to raise understanding with students. If you've never read it, here's the spoiler. The most effective classroom strategies are (in order):

For those who need a little interpretation here. If you had two classes and continued as normal with one class (let's call it the 'control' class) and were to explicitly focus on teaching and reinforcing the skill of identifying similarities and differences with the other class, the second class would achieve at a level 1.61 standard deviations (or an average of 45%) above the control class. In short, if you're looking for a silver bullet and a magic wand rolled up in one, here it is. Add to that the compound effect of using more than one strategy at once and you've got a pretty effective intervention.
Dust off the Venn diagrams, the double bubble maps, the classification charts and get busy.

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