by Elaine Gallagher

Sometimes I am asked to write all my ideas to give to new teachers. Wow! It would take me a lifetime to write all my ideas. I’ve already written and published about twenty-five books, most of which we give away free to English teachers in Coahuila, where I work as English Consultant for the Secretary of Public Education. Those books don’t hold all my ideas.

So what I did for this article is to write 72 ideas that I’ve learned from many people, such as Dr. Harry Wong, Dr. Robert Marzano, and my own experiences over the 50 years I’ve been a teacher. This is not a lifetime of ideas, but I’m 72 years old, so here are 72 ideas about education. Enjoy!

** Effective teachers get results: successful students.**

- There is only one way to improve student learning. It is with an effective teacher.

- Here’s the biggest secret to being effective: beg, borrow, and work collaboratively.

- Effective is defined as having an effect, producing a result.

- Proficient is defined as possessing knowledge and skills.

- The only intervention that can make a difference in student learning is one with a knowledgeable and skillful teacher.

- The most important factor, bar none, is the teacher. An inefficient teacher can affect student learning for years, but two successive ineffective teachers can damage a student forever.

- There is only one way to produce good schools and that is with effective teachers. We have been trying for years with programs, fads, and ideologies.

- The four stages of teaching: Fantasy, Survival, Mastery, Impact.
- The three characteristics of an effective teacher are: 1) has good classroom management skills, 2) teaches for mastery, and 3) has positive expectations for student success.

- Your expectations of your students will greatly influence their achievement in your class and in their lives.

- Ineffective teachers will teach out of a book, follow a program, or complain about the culture or the neighborhood of the students.

** Good classroom management supports student learning.**

- What you do on the first day of school will determine your success for the rest of the year. You will either win or lose your class on the first days of school.

- The most important factor that must be established the very first week of school is CONSISTENCY.

- The number one factor that leads to student achievement is classroom management.

- Stand at the door and greet the students as they enter the class.

- Give each student a seating assignment. You are the one in charge.

- Your very first priority when class begins is to get the students to work.

- There must be a schedule, bell-work, and a lesson objective or assignment posted in a consistent location, when the students enter the room.

- Effective teachers have a script or classroom management plan ready on the first day of school to structure and organize the classroom.

- The number one problem in education is not discipline. It is the lack of procedures and routines, the lack of a plan that organizes a classroom for success.

- Many teachers spend time covering lessons and then disciplining when things go wrong. They never spend time managing their classrooms.

- Discipline refers to BEHAVIOR. Procedures refer to getting things DONE.

- Discipline: Has penalties and rewards. Procedures: Have NO penalties or rewards.

- Effective teachers MANAGE their classrooms. Ineffective teachers DISCIPLINE their classrooms.

- Student achievement is directly related to how the teacher establishes classroom procedures the very first week of school.

- The ineffective teacher begins the first day of school attempting to teach a subject or do a fun activity and spends the rest of the school year running after the students.

- The effective teacher spends much of the first week of school teaching students to follow classroom procedures to organize the classroom for engagement and learning. Later they can do fun things.

- The three steps to teaching a procedure are: explain, rehearse, and reinforce.

- Students get low grades because of the failure to know what procedures to follow and what objectives to learn or do.

- Classroom management are those practices and procedures used to manage a classroom so that instruction and learning can take place.

- At-Risk: Students risk failure because of a lack of structure. Classrooms risk failure because of a lack of structure.

- All effective classrooms have structure. A series of procedures and routines equals structure.

- Learning is much more effective when it takes place within a supportive community of learners.

- With procedures in place, you’ll have time to devote to the art of teaching and become the effective teacher your students need and deserve.

** Lesson Mastery is not perfection. **

** It’s 85% of your students being successful 85% of the time. **

- Good instruction is 15 to 20 times more powerful than any explanatory variable.

- Learning has nothing to do with what the teacher covers. Learning has to do with what the student accomplishes.

- Students learn better when they know what they are to learn and how they will be assessed and graded.

- Objectives focus students on what they are aiming for; thus, they know what they are responsible for learning.

- When both the students and the teachers are moving towards the same objective, that’s when you get learning.

- Students get more done when they see where they are going and what they are doing.

- Effective teachers have a study guideline with a list of the objectives that tells the students what they are responsible for accomplishing.

- The lesson objectives are to be correlated to either national or state standards.

- A criterion reference test is to be written before the lesson begins. (Backward by design / back-mapping / terminal objective)

- A scoring guide or rubric is to be written before the lesson begins.

- The activities used in a lesson must be correlated to the lesson objectives.

- A test allows a teacher to assess for learning, not to grade a student.

- A scoring guide is a formative assessment used to guide student improvement.

- The purpose of assessment is to gather information to improve instruction for student learning.

- The only way to improve student learning is to improve teacher instructional practice.

** Positive expectations bring positive results.**

- In low performing schools, teachers are less likely to collaborate and learn from one another.

- In high performing schools, teachers share with one another the needed knowledge and skills to help their students reach high standards.

- Effective teams of teachers will analyze student work to determine how to improve instruction.

- Success has little to do with money, class size, fancy programs, parental involvement, or tutoring. These can be found at good and bad schools.

- Effective teams of teachers teach to pre-stated objectives, assess and reassess student work, and use the results to teach and reteach until they find a way for students to grasp the lesson.

- Ineffective teachers view teaching as a job. They sit at the back of meetings and put in time.

- Effective teachers have a positive expectation that they can be effective, that they ARE the difference in the lives of children.

- Teachers who work at being effective will create classrooms in which students can successfully learn.

- The single greatest effect on student achievement is the effectiveness of the teacher.

- The most effective teachers are those who produce an effect on themselves.

- We learn from our mistakes. Let students correct their mistakes so they will learn better.

- Failure is NOT an option. If we learn from our mistakes, an students fix their mistakes, no one needs to fail.

- Give
*brainwork*, not*homework*.

*Brainwork*is work students do that goes to their brain…such as reading, watching a video, or TV program, or reviewing class work, investigating something on Internet, visiting a museum, playing a game, such as chess, or preparing an oral presentation to give in class. .

*Homework*is written work or a project that anyone can do for the student, without the student having done one minute of the work.

- Never give a grade for work not done in the classroom. If you don’t see it completed by the student in class, it does not receive a grade.

- Students can collaborate, cooperate, and share work in a classroom setting. This is what happens in the real world.

- Encourage oral fluency by asking lots of questions in class. Encourage and support students to ask you questions.

- If someone doesn’t know an answer, so what? The world is not going to end. In the large scheme of things, how important is it, really? Ease a student’s embarrassment by saying, «Hey, if you knew everything, I wouldn’t have a job!»

- Give a wide variety of assessments. Sometimes let students use their notes during a test. It teaches them to organize well, and to know how to find answers. It’s the same with using the Internet, or on-line resources.

- Weird is good and normal is boring…Get out of the box, do the unexpected! Plans are for YOU…not for some other adult to check. Good planning is important, but more important is what you actually do in the classroom.

- Sometimes be spontaneous. Go outside and smell the flowers, even if it’s not in your plan-book! When did school stop being fun and a place of joy?

- Inside every great teacher there is an even better one waiting to come out. Teachers are the sculptors of the human race. We touch the future…we teach!

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