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Inside Teaching: How to Make a Difference for Every Learner and Teacher


reviewed by Laura Isbell - April 20, 2018

coverTitle: Inside Teaching: How to Make a Difference for Every Learner and Teacher
Author(s): John Blanchard
Publisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 1138712280, Pages: 184, Year: 2017
Search for book at Amazon.com


Inside Teaching by John Blanchard details evidence-based research strategies and practitioner-based materials that outline effective teaching practices for educators. The book emphasizes strategies that promote students’ physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being and growth, and is organized into three parts: “Your Pupils,” “Planning, Teaching, and Assessing,” and “Job Satisfaction and Continuing to Learn about Teaching.

 

Part One, “Your Pupils,” encompasses Chapters One through Six and guides the reader through an exploration of classroom instruction as it relates to the following topics: diversity, motivation, data-driven resources, students with challenges, parent involvement, and student-driven learning. In Chapter One, Blanchard characterizes teaching as “an experiment” (p. 7), explaining that you do not always get what you expect in the classroom, and calls on teachers to act as agents of change. Chapter Two addresses the importance of creating a welcoming and nurturing environment that enhances student motivation by offering specific and positive praise. In Chapter Three, Blanchard outlines how teachers at any level can utilize data-driven resources to track student progress and bolster achievement. In Chapter Four, Blanchard outlines the three C’s to support students who are either slow to learn or struggling learners: conscientious, collaborative, and creative. Using specific examples and case studies, the chapter illustrates practical solutions for educators. Chapter Five discusses resources that are practical and applicable for the child’s whole network: i.e., their teacher, principal, parents, and self.


As more classrooms shift to project-based learning or student-led instruction, it is imperative to reinforce what and how students learn in these contexts. In Chapter Six, Blanchard provides strategies for how to use student decisions to guide lessons. He argues that classrooms should foster active learning that allows students to participate in lessons and fully understand the purpose of the lessons. Students should feel welcome to participate and be comfortable making mistakes as sometimes the best learning is done through self-guided discovery.


In Part Two, “Planning, Teaching, and Assessing,” the author addresses the following issues: teachers’ rapport, student engagement, frame thinking, home learning, the use of grades, effective feedback, student progress, and assessments. In Chapter Seven, the author encourages teachers to be positive and prepared, explaining that developing a healthy relationship with students involves creating an environment that “conveys consistent, constructive messages” (p. 57). He also discusses how teachers serve as models, arguing that students will emulate the behavior they consistently observe. Chapter Eight addresses the reflection process, discussing learners and observers and highlighting the importance of cooperative group learning.


To help students build upon individual schemas, the teacher needs to understand how to frame students’ thinking. In Chapter Nine, the author provides examples of different schemas and describes how motivational factors from both school and home are beneficial for students. Blanchard devotes only three pages to discussing home learning and its effect on personal learning. Following this short discussion, Chapter Eleven briefly addresses summative and formative daily assessments. Chapter Twelve is a more detailed chapter that outlines the importance of effective feedback. Specific examples from classroom teachers are presented, including testimonials, observations, and case studies. Practical and easily applicable grids to analyze students’ feedback are included here as well. In an effort to support student achievement and progress monitoring, Blanchard provides checklists in Chapter Thirteen for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. Chapter Fourteen concludes Part Two with a discussion of assessments. Blanchard suggests collaborating with colleagues to moderate assessments and identify students’ capabilities.  


In Part Three, “Job Satisfaction and Continuing to Learn about Teaching,” Blanchard delineates and further explores the meaning of teaching. The importance of meetings and job enrichment is introduced in Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen, respectively. The chapters tie together seamlessly to discuss team morale, motivation, and job enrichment both in a school-wide setting and on an individual level. The importance of continued professional development is discussed in Chapter Seventeen. There are many approaches to professional development and training; however, Blanchard argues that what matters is finding the method that works for you. This self-directed and self-reflective approach individualizes professional development. Chapters Eighteen and Nineteen identify classroom observations and appraisals, both of which are essential to identifying areas of proficiency, development, and improvement. Blanchard concludes these chapters with detailed checklists. Finally, in Chapter Twenty, Blanchard outlines ten checklists that outline “key aspects of teaching” (p. 156) as well as best practices for classroom instruction.


Overall, Inside Teaching is a practical, evidence-based book for teachers at all stages of their careers, from preservice to veteran educators. The book itself is an easy read with well-categorized chapters, and the hands-on resources will surely help teachers engage students as active learners. Interactive learning and student-led lessons are reinforced throughout the book and are designed to improve conceptual understanding and sharpen critical thinking skills. After reading this book, preservice and current educators will walk away with improved teaching practices and a greater ability to fulfill the potential of the whole child: physically, emotionally, and intellectually.





Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 20, 2018
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22337, Date Accessed: 11/29/2021 3:20:28 PM

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About the Author
  • Laura Isbell
    Texas A&M University-Commerce
    E-mail Author
    LAURA J. ISBELL is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her research interests include curriculum development, preservice and inservice professional development, as well as Response to Intervention and its impact on students and teachers.
 
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