This post is a quick recommendation for a very practical resource for teachers, coordinators & learning coaches. “What Does This Look Like in the Classroom? Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice”, by Carl Hendrick & Robin MacPherson, with illustrations by Oliver Caviglioli, is available in paperback from John Catt (and Kindle). This review is written from the perspective of an international school educator and coordinator.
Make sure you visit the “What Does This Look Like?” website for more posts on these topics, colour images and discussions. It’s a great resource.
The authors have designed a very useful text that can be read in a single sitting and/or dipped into as a reference. I would recommend it in teacher training, and it should be read by anyone responsible for professional learning. Each chapter is written in a Q&A style, with introductory key points, and practical questions each answered by two experts in the field of the chapter (it’s an impressive and credible lineup). They wrap up with a summary of the ‘streamlined classroom‘, with six key practices to create flow. More on this below.
Overall, I found this text accessible, conversational and practical. I really like the format of the chapters and there is a strong focus on what teachers really need to know (away from fluff and distraction). I hope they continue to develop their blog, and look forward to a future edition in a few years’ time. It would be good to see more on international/multicultural classrooms, or even additional chapters for different disciplines.
I’ve listed the chapter and contributors below, with a few of the key issues addressed in the chapter and links to the authors’ Twitter profiles. This book in itself is a great example of the power of Twitter as a PD tool – I have followed many of these contributors for a long time and have a learned a lot from them as a result.
Assessment, marking & feedback: Dylan Wiliam & Daisy Christodoulou
- Student ownership of and engagement with feedback
- The testing effect, past papers and strategies
- Efficient marking & feedback practices
- Using student data
Behaviour: Tom Bennett & Jill Berry
- Classroom culture: relationships, expectations, communication
- Managing low-level disruption and poor behaviour
- Engaging students (and keeping them engaged)
Reading and literacy: Alex Quigley & Dianne Murphy
- Reading comprehension and sustained ‘deep reading’ (in a technological society)
- Building vocabulary and shared roles in developing literacy
- Reading for pleasure
SEN: Jarlath O’Brien & Maggie Snowling
- Supporting students with behavioural and learning difficulties (including the role of tech)
- Challenging students who find it ‘too easy’
- Supporting EAL learners
Motivation: Nick Rose & Lucy Crehan
- Extrinsic vs intrinsic, and motivating non-academic students
- Growth mindset & independent learning
- Testing anxiety, resilience
Psychology and memory: Paul Kirschner & Yana Weinstein
This whole section is packed with fantastic stuff, and I highly recommend leaping out to the Learning Scientists’ website, with some printable resources (also illustrated by Caviglioli).
- Strategies for effective learning (spacing, interleaving)
- Remembering, forgetting and strategies for developing long-term memory
- Working memory and cognitive load theory (as “the single most important thing” for teachers to know (Wiliam))
Classroom talk and questioning: Martin Robinson* & Doug Lemov
- Student-active vs didactic techniques (and teacher talk)
- Questioning styles and encouraging quality conversation
- Generating balanced, quality discussions where all students contribute
From here, I’d recommend teachers also have a look at Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart and The Best Class You Never Taught, by Alexis Wiggins.
Learning myths: David Didau & Pedro de Bruyckere
- Multiple intelligences vs learning styles
- Creativity, critical thinking and 21C skills
- Learning in the digital age (Google & remembering**)
Technology: Jose Picardo & Neelam Parmar
- Impacts of mobile technology and balance
- Academic honesty
- Making the most of available tech
Independent Learning: All contributors
Perspectives on developing independent learners from various contributors. Worth reading and comparing to your own experiences. Creating independent learners through strong development of the approaches to learning skills (in conjunction with solid disciplinary an interdisciplinary knowledge) is a touchstone of a strong IB education.
Conclusion: The Streamlined Classroom (Carl Hendrick & Robin MacPherson)
Distilling their findings into the ‘honeycomb conjecture‘ below, the authors present an idea for an effective classroom to ensure solid foundations of learning and progress. This in itself would make a great introduction to the book as a PD resource, giving multiple entry points for teacher discussion.
I’ve written a lot on here about meaningful, effective, pragmatic inquiry, defining it as “Creative, critical reflective thought, built on a solid foundation of well taught/learned knowledge, skills and concepts that invites learners to take action on their learning and ask “what if…?” . This book and its advice aligns with this definition, giving more concrete practices that help enhance a high-quality IB education. ***
In thinking about how to integrate effective tech use into teaching and learning, I can see potential applications for a streamlined classroom tech toolkit.
Footnotes & Blog Posts
* I reviewed Robinson’s very interesting “Trivium 21C” for International School Magazine, here.
** No, Google will not replace knowing: Content & Inquiry in a Google World.
*** International School Magazine article on defining inquiry here.
If you’ve read the book, continue the discussion in the comments below, or find me on Twitter:
Thank-you for your comments.