Ron’s #39: Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov

I need to read more about the art of teaching to help me stay out of the ruts that I often create the longer I teach. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College is one of these books to help keep my classroom fresh, challenging, and engaging.

As the subtitle states, Doug Lemov collects 49 techniques that can easily be added to a classroom routine or a teacher’s repertoire to engage students in lessons. These are easy-to-implement strategies that will improve student learning. Here are a few examples:

Technique #1: No Opt Out A sequence that begins with a student unable to answer a question should end with the student answering that question as often as possible

Technique #5: Without Apology. If teachers aren’t on guard, they can unwittingly apologize for teaching worthy content (“Sorry, but this is boring but you need to know it.”). Kids respond to challenges, so instead of apologizing, say: “lots of people don’t understand this until they get to college, but you’ll know it now. Cool.”

Technique #22: Cold Call. In order to make engaged participation the expectation, call on students regardless of whether they have raised their hands. Cold calling is an engagement strategy, not a discipline strategy.

Technique #26: Everybody Writes Set your students up for rigorous engagement by giving them the opportunity to reflect first in writing before discussing.

Technique #45: Warm/Strict. Teachers must be both: caring, funny, warm, concerned, and nurturing – and strict, by the book, relentless, and sometimes inflexible. Teachers send the message to students that having high expectations is part of caring for and respecting someone.

I have already implemented a few of these in my class with great success. In fact, my profession goal this year is to try a minimum of ten techniques per quarter, and reflect on the dozen or so that are the ones that work the best for me. It will be a challenge, but I think that trying these can add to my growth in teaching.

The book also comes with a DVD showing the techniques in action. I anticipated that I would enjoy the DVD more than I actually did. It is an added bonus to purchasing this book.

If you are a teacher, I really think that this book is worth a look.


About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

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