It was very interesting to read this book about an instructional model proposed by Marzano. Marzano’s research in reading, teaching and learning is well known in the U.S. and we decided to look at this instructional model because our district is looking for a model we can endorse as a district.
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that many, if not 100%, of the strategies suggested are what we know as “Brain-Based” strategies. Three aspects of this model are clear goals and objectives, feedback, and student engagement. In our school district we have been pushing teachers to state clear goals and objectives for each lesson. Students benefit from this by understanding and assessing their own learning, it is a way of short-term goal setting. It helps students to be motivated to learn and take ownership of their learning. Student engagement is also a huge factor of student learning and it is highlighted in this book.
Engagement strategies should be key in all classrooms. We constantly see teachers lecturing and monopolizing all the talking during the lessons. It is extremely hard for teachers to let go of all the talking. When I do trainings, I often ask teachers: Why is it so hard to let go of all the talking? The typical answers are; Because we don’t want to lose control or because we have too much content to cover. The myth of dumping all the content to students is better for students is still very prevalent. This book emphasizes the fact that teachers need to chunk the information and allow time to process the information learned which goes hand in hand with Brain-Based Learning. The other aspect they talk about here, which I thought was very interesting, is “feedback”. I have not read much about the importance of giving feedback to students except in Brain-Based Learning so I thought it was very interesting that Marzano dedicates a good amount of his writing and research on feedback and how it helps the learner.