Skip to main content

Tilting Your Teaching:
Seven Simple Shifts That Can Substantially Improve Student Learning

By Glen Pearsall with Natasha Harris

What if you could keep doing what you’ve been doing in the classroom . . . but do it just a tiny bit differently . . . so that student engagement and achievement skyrocketed—not to mention your own sense of accomplishment?

That’s what these Simple Shifts are all about!

It only takes a few words and a few seconds (seriously!) to transform an unfocused and disengaged classroom into a place of student confidence and productivity. Learn about the Simple Shifts and try them in your classroom right away.

Get your copy today!


Buying for a school or district?
Discounts are available for purchases of 10 or more copies.
Send your purchase orders to

*As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Transform your classroom into a place of productivity

Developed from extensive research and decades of teaching experience, the Simple Shifts do not require you to totally change your teaching but to “tilt” it.

From popular educator, author, and consultant Glen Pearsall and writer/editor Natasha Harris come seven simple yet powerful instructional tactics you can use in your classroom tomorrow. Get insights, tips, and practical examples for:

  • Low-Key Interventions: “Nudge” students back to their work when exhibiting off-task behavior.

  • Pivoting and Reframing: Pivot around students’ argumentative responses, defusing conflict and steering them back to their learning.

  • Instructional clarity: Secure complete student attention before issuing instructions or making transitions.

  • Wait Time: Extend the amount of thinking time you give your students before expecting them to respond to questions.

  • Pause and Elaboration Time: Extend the length of time you pause after your students answer, to encourage them to elaborate and give more detailed responses.

  • Snapshot Feedback: Use fast, formative feedback from your students to assess the immediate impact of your teaching.

  • Reflection Time: Give students an opportunity to quickly demonstrate that they have taken on your advice.

The secret to success: Micro-data tools!

Changing a habit is hard.

When starting any new routine it helps to track and celebrate our small steps toward larger goals. Think about fitness trackers: Even with something as simple as walking, we can’t resist a splash of encouragement when we reach a goal. With Tilting Your Teaching, Pearsall and Harris give you micro-data tools for each shift—simple, easy-to-use templates for quickly capturing data on yourself or a peer partner, even in the midst of a busy school day, to fine-tune your practice.

The book includes reproducible micro-data tools you can use immediately with nothing more than a pencil. If you prefer a mobile app to track your micro-data, you can download these apps to your iPhone or iPad and fill them out with the click of a button (additional purchase required):

Capture Data With the Micro-Data Tools!

About the Authors

Glen Pearsall is an international educational consultant specializing in instructional practice, teacher coaching, and workload reduction for teachers. He is the author or coauthor of And Gladly Teach, Classroom Dynamics, and Fast and Effective Assessment: How to Reduce Your Workload and Improve Student Learning. Glen is the founding presenter of the popular “PD in the Pub” series for graduate and pre-service teachers. His recent projects include Toon Teach, an animated series on classroom management.

Natasha Harris is an editor and professional writer. She was the managing editor of Traffic, the University of Melbourne’s journal for interdisciplinary studies, and has worked on such educational publications as The Music Cubby and The Literature Toolbox. Natasha has long-term interest in behavior change and skill acquisition, and worked in communications at the Research and Innovation Portfolio at RMIT University. She is currently the production editor of Australian Birdlife magazine.

Resources & Services

Unleashing Curiosity Quick Guide Series

Our Unleashing Curiosity guides are part of McREL’s Curiosity Works® resources. Based in part on a successful system-wide effort in Melbourne, Australia, that improved student achievement by unleashing student curiosity, these resources give teachers and school leaders tips, suggestions, and ideas to encourage professional dialogue with other teachers and increase student curiosity. Combining these insights with McREL’s analysis of best education practices from around the world, our Curiosity Works resources support a better way of transforming schools—not through top-down pressure, but through helping teachers and school leaders work together to develop shared professional expertise and leverage the power of motivation and curiosity.

The six key practices in the series are:​

      • Creating challenging learning tasks
      • Providing feedback that motivates
      • Helping students commit to mastery
      • Encouraging dynamic cooperation
      • Framing quality questions
      • Committing to assessment for learning


Classroom Instruction That Works®

Improving instruction for better student learning is about science, not guesswork. McREL’s research and analysis of hundreds of instructional strategies used in thousands of classrooms and, most importantly, their impact on student achievement, reveals which ones work best. Together, these nine best categories of instructional strategies form the heart of McREL’s Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) books, resources, and professional learning services for teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders worldwide. CITW gives educators a clear, consistent approach to instruction, providing recommendations and tools for developing stronger lesson plans, effective classroom delivery, and a common vocabulary for teaching and sharing of best practices across schools and districts. In addition, we help teachers use the nine strategies most effectively within a three-part instructional planning guide designed to: create the environment for learning; help students develop understanding; and help students extend and apply knowledge.


elementary classroom

Instructional Coaching

Use effective instructional coaching practices to create a unified, collegial, and supportive environment for teachers to collaboratively learn with, and from, each other. McREL can help your school or district create effective teacher teams that use peer observations and feedback to address specific instructional goals and spark innovative practices to improve overall instructional practice and support better classroom learning and management.