Over the past year, in preparation for a major update of our Classroom Instruction That Works™ strategies and knowledge base, Bryan has led a team at McREL that has synthesized the findings of more than 100 scientific studies of classroom interventions into 14 teaching strategies found to significantly improve the performance of all students—including students of color, multilingual learners, students in poverty, and students with learning disabilities or previous low levels of achievement. Together, these studies reveal several teaching strategies that simultaneously support better student learning as well as the attributes of student-centered, healthy classrooms.
Our expert researchers, evaluators, and veteran educators synthesize information gleaned from our research and blend it with best practices gathered from schools and districts around the world to bring you insightful and practical ideas that support changing the odds of success for you and your students. By aligning practice with research, we mix professional wisdom with real world experience to bring you unexpectedly insightful and uncommonly practical ideas that offer ways to build student resiliency, close achievement gaps, implement retention strategies, prioritize improvement initiatives, build staff motivation, and interpret data and understand its impact.
It’s a familiar chicken-and-egg conundrum: Educators readily agree that there are preconditions to learning relating to a sense of safety and self-worth, and if those preconditions aren’t met, learning simply can’t happen. At the same time, teachers are paid to teach, and face pressure to stay in their lane. After two years of intermittent lockdowns, quarantines, masking, and school closures, this conundrum has only intensified. Many students do not appear to be ready to learn, yet teachers are pushing themselves to act as if they are, with predictably disappointing results. So how do educators—many of whom are, themselves, feeling burned out and in need of emotional support—move forward?
A new study reported in Neuroscience News reinforces the power of place- or context-dependent learning—the longstanding insight from cognitive science that we are better able to recall information in the same location where we learned it. As we explain in the book Learning That Sticks, where we learn something becomes an important association we make with a new bit of knowledge—and thus, a useful hook for retrieving it.
One more item for the list of unexpected things that happened during the pandemic: Some of the best-performing principals were those who struggled the most to adapt. How did that happen? In his latest Research Matters column for ASCD’s Educational Leadership, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin says conversations with superintendents have convinced him leadership style was a factor.
All teachers are motivated to find a solution to unmotivated students, but is there anything that can actually be done? Recent research into cognitive sciences suggests two strategies, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin writes in ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine: cognitive interest cues and personal goal setting. Examples of cognitive interest cues that can be incorporated into classroom practice are real-life problems, personal connections to learning, and curiosity-provoking questions. While these techniques haven’t been studied in isolation, they have been incorporated into interventions that were associated with learning gains of several months to a year-plus.
As educators begin to assess what long-term social-emotional effects the recent school shutdowns might have for students and educators, you could say that the mind is on everyone’s mind. Many schools are considering starting or expanding their efforts now that federal aid is available for this purpose. While we all feel a sense of urgency to keep schools operating and safe, school teams should take the time to familiarize themselves with the options so they can find (or create) the right program for their local context. Here are three considerations to help your team get started.
There’s little doubt that traditional discipline practices are counterproductive for many students but considerably more people doubt whether restorative justice programs right those wrongs, Bryan Goodwin writes in Educational Leadership magazine. The concept of seeking reconciliation rather than punishment is rooted in Indigenous theories of trust and many schools have had success with it, but no solid definition of the term “restorative justice” has yet emerged, and very few empirical studies have been published.