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The New Art and Science of Teaching

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This title is a greatly expanded volume of the original Art and Science of Teaching, offering a competency-based education framework for substantive change based on Dr. Robert Marzano's 50 years of education research. While the previous model focused on teacher outcomes, the new version places focus on student learning outcomes, with research-based instructional strategies teachers can use to help students grasp the information and skills transferred through their instruction. Throughout the book, Marzano details the elements of three overarching categories of teaching, which define what must happen to optimize student learning: students must receive feedback, get meaningful content instruction, and have their basic psychological needs met.

Gain research-based instructional strategies and teaching methods that drive student success:

  • Explore instructional strategies that correspond to each of the 43 elements of The New Art and Science of Teaching, which have been carefully designed to maximize student engagement and achievement.
  • Use ten design questions and a general framework to help determine which classroom strategies you should use to foster student learning.
  • Analyze the behavioral evidence that proves the strategies of an element are helping learners reach their peak academic success.
  • Study the state of the modern standards movement and what changes must be made in K-12 education to ensure high levels of learning for all.
  • Download free reproducible scales specific to the elements in The New Art and Science of Teaching.

Chapter 1: Providing and Communicating Clear Learning Goals
Chapter 2: Conducting Assessment
Chapter 3: Conducting Direct Instruction Lessons
Chapter 4: Practicing and Deepening Lessons
Chapter 5: Implementing Knowledge Application Lessons
Chapter 6: Using Strategies That Appear in All Types of Lessons
Chapter 7: Using Engagement Strategies
Chapter 8: Implementing Rules and Procedures
Chapter 9: Building Relationships
Chapter 10: Communicating High Expectations
Chapter 11: Making System Changes

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1 Providing and Communicating Clear Learning Goals



Providing and Communicating Clear Learning Goals

Effective feedback begins with clearly defined and clearly communicated learning goals.

The desired mental states and processes for clear learning goals are that:

Students understand the progression of knowledge they are expected to master and where they are along that progression.

The importance of achieving these mental states and processes in students is almost self-evident. If students understand what they are to learn during a given lesson or unit, they are better able to determine how well they are doing and what they need to improve.

Note that this design area addresses concepts for which there are many misconceptions and diverse perspectives. Specifically, terms like proficiency scale, rubric, learning goal, learning objective, learning target, behavioral objective, and the like have different meanings. For a historical perspective on these terms, see Marzano and John S. Kendall (2007, 2008). I recommend that districts and schools operationally define these terms for themselves. As long as schools use the terms in an internally consistent manner, they will be on sound footing.


2 Using Assessments



Using Assessments

At its core, assessment is a feedback mechanism for students and teachers. Assessments should provide students with information about how to advance their understanding of content and teachers with information about how to help students do so.

The desired mental states and processes for assessment are that:

Students understand how test scores and grades relate to their status on the progression of knowledge they are expected to master.

To achieve these outcomes in students, there must be a transparent relationship between students’ scores on assessments and their progress on a proficiency scale. The following elements are important to effective assessment.

Element 4: Using Informal Assessments of the Whole Class

Informal assessments of the whole class provide a barometer of how the whole class is performing regarding the progression of knowledge articulated in a specific proficiency scale. Informal whole-class assessments typically don’t involve individual students’ recorded scores. The specific strategies associated with this element appear in table 2.1 (page 22).


3 Conducting Direct Instruction Lessons



Conducting Direct Instruction Lessons

As discussed in chapter 1, the second major category in The New Art and Science of Teaching is content. This category involves strategies teachers use specifically to help students learn the information and skills that are the focus of instruction. This category includes design areas with strategies for three distinct types of lessons: (1) direct instruction, (2) practicing and deepening, and (3) knowledge application. A final design area within the content category includes those strategies applicable in all three types of lessons. Effective pedagogy is the teacher’s use of the strategies within all four design areas in a coordinated fashion. In this chapter, we focus on direct instruction lessons.

In some circles, direct instruction has a tarnished reputation. It is commonly associated with didactic, lecture-oriented presentations during which students are passive consumers of information. While it is true that teachers can execute direct instruction—and all other types of instruction—in an unparticipatory manner. In fact, research continually supports the necessary role of direct instruction. Such recognition usually occurs amid loud calls for inquiry-based instruction. To illustrate, in 2011, I wrote an article in Educational Leadership titled “The Perils and Promises of Discovery Learning” (Marzano, 2011). There I report on a meta-analysis of 580 comparisons between discovery learning and direct instruction in which the authors (Alfieri, Broocks, Aldrich, & Tenenbaum, 2011) find that direct instruction is superior to discovery learning in most situations. As I will discuss in chapter 5, discovery learning has a place in the rotation of lesson types, but direct instruction is foundational to its success. More specifically, direct instruction is essential when teachers present new content to students.


4 Conducting Practicing and Deepening Lessons



Conducting Practicing and Deepening Lessons

Once content is introduced through direct instruction, teachers must further develop student knowledge.

The desired mental states and processes for students for lessons designed to develop knowledge are:

After teachers present new content, students deepen their understanding and develop fluency with skills and processes.

When conducting practicing and deepening lessons, it is important to keep in mind the difference between procedural and declarative knowledge. Procedural knowledge includes skills, strategies, and processes. For example, converting fractions to decimals is a skill because it requires a set of steps usually performed in a specific order. Decoding is a strategy because it involves specific actions although they are not necessarily performed in the same order each time. Writing an expository essay is a process because it involves executing multiple strategies that have different outcomes but must work together in a unified manner.


5 Conducting Knowledge Application Lessons



Conducting Knowledge Application Lessons

A third type of content lesson a teacher might employ involves knowledge application.

The desired mental states and processes for students are:

After the presentation of new content, students generate and defend claims through knowledge application tasks.

Knowledge application lessons engage students in activities that require them to apply what they have learned in unique situations. As discussed in chapter 3, knowledge application lessons are where discovery learning activities make the most sense. However, the discovery learning teachers execute during knowledge application lessons is not pure discovery, where students are pretty much left to their own devices in their exploration of specific declarative or procedural knowledge. Such unassisted discovery is highly ineffective (see Alfieri et al., 2011). In contrast, enhanced discovery is a very powerful instructional tool. Enhanced discovery involves the scaffolding of content from the direct instruction lessons and the practicing and deepening lessons in chapters 3 and 4 respectively. First, students learn the content as a result of well-planned direct instruction lessons and practicing and deepening lessons. Then, they engage in discovery processes.


6 Using Strategies That Appear in All Types of Lessons



Using Strategies That Appear in All Types of Lessons

There are a number of strategies that commonly appear in all three types of lessons: (1) direct instruction lessons, (2) practicing and deepening lessons, and (3) knowledge application lessons.

The desired mental states and processes common to these ubiquitous strategies are:

Students continually integrate new knowledge with old knowledge and revise their understanding accordingly.

The elements that focus on this design area help students continually loop through content they are learning so that they might integrate new knowledge with old. The notion that students must cycle through and make changes in their existing knowledge base is certainly not new. For example, Jean Piaget (1971) distinguishes between the learning processes of assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation refers to the initial linking of new content to old content. New content is assimilated into existing knowledge structures. Accommodation occurs more gradually as existing knowledge becomes redesigned as a result of assimilation with new information. David E. Rumelhart and Donald A. Norman (1978) describe three types of knowledge change: (1) accretion, (2) tuning, and (3) restructuring. Accretion and tuning refer to additions to knowledge over time. Accretion happens relatively quickly. Tuning is more gradual and involves the expression of knowledge in more parsimonious forms. Restructuring is like Piaget’s accommodation in that pre-existing knowledge structures are permanently redesigned as a function of the learning process. For example, a student might have a pre-existing knowledge structure for the relationship between the moon and tides, which involves only the distance between the Earth and the moon. However, after a set of particularly clear direct instruction lessons by the teacher, the student redesigns her knowledge structure adding variables like the tilt of the Earth and the gravitational pull of the sun. She also completely revamps the number and type of causal relationships among variables in her knowledge structure.


7 Using Engagement Strategies



Using Engagement Strategies

As described in the introduction, the broad category of context refers to students’ mental readiness during the teaching-learning process. Specifically, for students to be ready to learn, they must have their needs met relative to engagement, order, a sense of belonging, and a sense of high expectations.

Engagement is possibly the gatekeeper to mental readiness. It is certainly a common term in education but educators lack clear agreement of its meaning (Marzano & Pickering, 2011). The New Art and Science of Teaching addresses this issue through the lens of desired mental states and processes.

The desired mental states and processes for strategies related to engagement are:

Students are paying attention, energized, intrigued, and inspired.

Engagement is divided into four components: (1) paying attention, (2) being energized, (3) being intrigued, and (4) being inspired.

The following elements are important to fostering this broad perspective on engagement.


8 Implementing Rules and Procedures



Implementing Rules and Procedures

Part of a mental set conducive to learning is the perception that the classroom environment is orderly and safe. The teacher fosters such a perception through well-articulated rules and procedures.

The desired mental states and processes for this design area are: Students understand and follow rules and procedures.

The following elements are important to effective rules and procedures.

Element 33: Establishing Rules and Procedures

The initiating element for this design area is establishing rules and procedures. This, of course, typically occurs at the beginning of the year, although teachers should make adaptations regarding rules and procedures throughout the year. The strategies for this element appear in table 8.1.

Table 8.1: Establishing Rules and Procedures



Using a small set of rules and procedures

Classroom rules and procedures are fundamental to building a productive learning community. The teacher prioritizes rules and procedures by restricting them to five to eight per class. Generally, a teacher should begin the year by establishing general classroom rules, then work toward procedures for more specific areas such as the beginning and end of the school day or period, transitions, and the efficient use of materials and equipment.


9 Building Relationships



Building Relationships

Important aspects of a mental context conducive to learning are a sense of being welcome and that teachers and peers value basic human needs. When these needs are satisfied, a student feels relaxed and comfortable. Teachers can create this perception in students by focusing on teacher-to-student relationships and student-to-student relationships.

The desired mental states and processes regarding relationships are: Students feel welcome, accepted, and valued.

The following elements are important to building effective relationships.

Element 38: Using Verbal and Nonverbal Behaviors That Indicate Affection for Students

One of the most straightforward ways to provide students with a sense that they are welcome, accepted, and valued is to engage in behaviors that demonstrate such sentiments. There are a number of strategies teachers can use to accomplish this. The specific strategies for this element appear in table 9.1.


10 Communicating High Expectations



Communicating High Expectations

The final component of developing an effective context for learning is to communicate high expectations for all students. The need for this focus comes directly from the literature on expectations. In the mid-20th century, researchers determined that teachers’ expectations about how well students were going to perform in their classes influenced how they treated them (see Rosenthal, 1956; Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). The greater teachers’ expectations for students, the more teachers challenge and interact with them. The lower the expectations, the less teachers challenge and interact with students. Unfortunately, it is difficult to be completely aware of one’s expectations. However, it is very straightforward to ensure teachers treat all students equally and equitably.

In effect, teachers must pay special attention to students for whom educators wittingly or unwittingly have developed low expectations. It is not so much that these students need dramatically different strategies to feel valued and respected, but sometimes teachers don’t use typical instructional strategies as rigorously or completely with these students as they do with other students.


11 Making System Changes



Making System Changes

Teachers function within the context of at least two systems: (1) the school and (2) the district. Those systems enhance individual teachers’ effectiveness and contribute to the ineffectiveness of individual teachers, usually simultaneously. While schools and districts certainly have policies that help classroom teachers, they also have policies (some long-standing) that are glaring impediments to effective teaching. These impediments can and should be addressed. Here I recommend eight system changes that naturally flow from the changes The New Art and Science of Teaching implies.

The recommendations in this chapter are based on the changes chapters 1 through 10 imply, but go well beyond them. Indeed, they even go beyond the confines of an instructional model like The New Art and Science of Teaching. They represent my personal beliefs about system changes that are essential if K–12 education is to rise to its next level of effectiveness. As the discussion in the introductory chapter indicates, they represent my manifesto on education.



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