Building upon a solid foundation of classroom management, direct instruction and classroom assessment, teachers in the early professional stage of their teaching career need to learn how to engage students in deeper learning experiences. Two research-based strategies for accomplishing deeper student learning are various types of classroom discussions and complex learning tasks. This book provides the research-based strategies teachers need to successfully implement these learning activities. Teachers that master these strategies will increase both the critical thinking skills and content knowledge of their students.
Matthew J. Jennings is a 31 year veteran of education. He has served as a classroom teacher, supervisor, director, assistant superintendent and superintendent of schools.
Chapter One: Teacher-guided discussions
Chapter Two: Structured small group discussions
Chapter Three: Student-led small group discussions
Chapter Four: D.E.E.P. learning tasks
About the Author
This book begins with the premise that an effective teacher stands firmly atop an expanse of knowledge that has been gleaned over time: the “what” and the “how.” Dr. Jennings builds upon this solid base and takes effective teaching to the more advanced, masterful place of “why” and “when” by focusing the reader on two strategies that will both challenge and engage: disciplined academic discussions and deep learning tasks. The reader is forewarned that mastery of each will be a worthy challenge that will take practice, a shift in role perception, and time. To that end, each strategy is introduced in a scaffolded, caretaking manner that follows a logically sequenced line of thinking and includes user-friendly steps and self-reflective rubrics that cross content and level. Both strategies are designed to guide students through a gradual release from deliberate teacher-led discussion to authentic student-led discussion and discovery. Dr. Jennings uses relatable examples, real-life prompts, and rich cooperative learning structures to help teachers design and maintain classrooms that are safe, encouraging spaces in which students can think, discuss, listen, question, problem solve, and rethink. As a practitioner with many years of experience of teacher training, this book made me go deep below the surface of masterful teaching—while providing me with tons of thought-provoking protocols that I could employ the very next day.