Going Deep

Kay Merseth, a Harvard professor and a friend, wrote a book some years ago called Inside Urban Charter Schools.  She examined high-performing charters, found many laudable things, but had a main critique: rigor.   Could teachers at schools like KIPP and Match et al ask kids tougher questions?  Could kids do much harder work? 

That's why I'm interested in this brand new booklet from TNTP. 

Going Deep focuses on a common challenge many teachers face: How can teachers encourage students to take the intellectual risks necessary to master rigorous academic content? At a time when teachers nationwide are striving to achieve the increased instructional rigor required under new Common Core standards, it’s a crucial topic.

This is not just another teacher guidebook. In the essays, practicing teachers share their expertise in their own voices, writing vividly about their own students and classrooms. Collectively, they offer a range of strategies that are helping students succeed in some of the nation’s most challenging school settings, including:

  • Javier Velazquez, a 6th grade math teacher in Chicago, Ill., walks readers through the in-depth questioning method that he uses to help students experience the joy and challenge inherent in the problem-solving process.
  • Jennifer Corroy, an 11th-12th grade English teacher in Donna, Texas, describes how she uses children’s books and college-level literary theory to introduce her high school students to sophisticated analysis.
  • Josalyn Tresvant, a K-5th grade special education teacher in Memphis, Tenn., illustrates how she meticulously guides her special education students through a process of reflection and goal-tracking, which helps them take ownership of the behaviors and academic objectives that will steer them toward their college goals.
  • Keith Robinson, a 9th grade Algebra teacher and co-founder of People’s Prep Academy in Newark, N.J., writes about forging a classroom culture that values hard work over natural ability—by putting an international soccer star at its center.

Read the whole thing here.  I'm nominating it as required reading for our teacher prep program.