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Andrew Server

EDCI 5550
Dr. Burrows
June 23, 2017
Book Review EDCI 5550

Teach Like a Champion 2.0


Similar to other occupations, the field of education relies on field work and

communication of successful and unsuccessful practices among peers in order to provide a better

service. Doug Lemov, in his work Teach Like a Champion 2.0, posits that in its ideal execution,

the act of teaching ought to include the finesse of being an art while simultaneously include the

practiced methodology of being a science. In order to supplement and demonstrate this point, he

also provides report on 62 techniques that he has witnessed through inspecting successful

teachers in their classrooms. Lemovs intention in accumulating data on these techniques and

sharing them is to communicate successful methods to other teachers so that they may benefit

from them. The following review will examine several of those concepts, techniques, and

practices that proved to be particularly engaging.

Throughout his work, Lemov refers to the idea of developing a culture in the classroom.

One type of culture that he describes frequently is the Culture of Error, where the educator

establishes a tone and understanding in their classroom in which students can feel comfortable

not only making mistakes, but admitting to them as well. Lemov illustrates this, stating once

this Culture of Error is created, once its safe to be wrong, students are as likely as not to want to

expose their mistakes to their teacher. This shift from defensiveness or denial to openness is

critical (63). Not only does a Culture of Error create an air of openness in a classroom, but it

also demonstrates to the student that it is ok to be incorrect- so long as what is incorrect is

corrected- and it enables the educator to be able to help them do so. The Culture of Error helps
the educator by revealing the honest level of understanding of their students without having their

students attempt to cover up mistakes and, in doing so, giving a false front of proficiency. Lemov

also provides examples of how one might go about encouraging a Culture of Error among them

and their students. He describes one case of Culture of Error where a teacher, Katie, provides

Excellence questions to her students each day of the week, keeps note of wrong answers

during the first four days, but only grades the questions assigned on Friday (63). This

simultaneously encourages students to admit their errors, ask questions regarding what they did

wrong, as well as gives the educator necessary insight regarding what students are grasping and

what needs to be gone over in more detail. Lemov goes further, describing how Katie establishes

a Culture of Error long run, stating in terms of long-term investment in Culture of Error, Katie

notes, In the beginning of the year, I praise students who are brave enough to ask questions

(65). Making sure that students know that it is acceptable to make errors and are encouraged to

share them from the onset of the class is, according to Lemov, imperative.

As described in the Culture of Error, students themselves also play a role in setting a tone

of error acceptance in a classroom. That said, it is up to the educator to instruct them how to

contribute appropriately towards the Culture of Error. Lemov writes shaping how students

respond to one anothers struggles is therefore a must (66). In order to foster a Culture of Error

among ones students, expectations and guidelines for protocol concerning peer error must be

established at the beginning of the school year and touched upon when violated. Lemov tells

teachers to explain how you expect them to act when someone struggles with the rationale,

practice those expected behaviorsand when a breech inevitably occurs, reset the culture firmly,

but with understanding (66). The concept of a Culture of Error appears to be increasingly

important to Lemov as he references it frequently not only in the chapter where it is introduced,
but throughout the book. In order to have success in any of the techniques that Lemov writes

about, it is clear that he believes that one must have in place that Culture of Error.

Another culture that Lemov describes is a culture of rigor, or, Academic Ethos.

Regarding rigor in the classroom, Lemov writes champion teachers are always pushing to create

an environment in which the maximum level of academic rigor is expected, practiced, and

valued (81). In order to cultivate such high expectations for ones class, Lemov provides

suggestions in forms of techniques as well as the principle of rigorous learning material yields a

rigorous classroom. Says Lemov it is very hard to have a rigorous lesson or rigorous classroom

without rigorous content (81). This is key to the concept of a culture of rigor as it sets the tone

and establishes an educators high academic expectations from the outset.

The techniques that Lemov describes to set high academic expectations include No Opt

Out, Right is Right, Stretch It, and Without Apology. The No Opt Out technique

encourages students to answer the question to the best of their knowledge- whether they know

the answer or not. This harkens back to the Culture of Error as it would be necessary to have

acceptance of wrong answers in this practice. In the No Opt Out technique, educators politely

hold expectations for an answer stalwart even when students claim they do not know the answer.

Lemov explains how this is beneficial, stating No Opt Out can help ensure that all students,

especially reluctant ones, take responsibility for learning (88). Demanding an answer

demonstrates a heightened academic expectation and rigor in the classroom.

The Right is Right technique utilizes part of the No Opt Out technique as it stresses that

an educator ought to hold out for the completely correct answer, rather than filling in the rest of

an answer if the student only delivers part of it. Lemov describes this as a common teacher habit

that I refer to as rounding up. Rounding up involves a teacher responding to a partially or


nearly correct answer by affirming and repeating it, but then also adding a critical detail (100). In

this case, the student is not learning and the educator is allowing a half-baked answer. I feel as if

this method is beneficial in that it also establishes academic rigor since it does not let students

give shoddy answers and it encourages them to develop more educated and contemplated

responses.

The Stretch It technique also involves question answering, but goes deeper than that to

instigate academic rigor. Instead of letting a correct answer be just that, Stretch It involves

asking pertinent follow-up questions, which establishes a culture of rigor as the educator lets

students know that there are always going to be future tests of their knowledge (108). Lemov

states that Stretch It leads to building a culture around those interactions that helps students

embrace, and even welcome, the notion that learning is never done (108) Surely this technique

aids in setting a tone for academic rigor as it challenges to know more and, ideally, to know

more.

Without Apology is a technique that silently instills a culture of rigor. Instead of having

to do with answering questions, it involves refraining from apologizing for the difficulty of the

lesson or material at hand in any way. Lemov succinctly sums up the dangers of apologizing as a

teacher, stating a belief that content is boring is self-fulfilling prophecy (122). I can see how

apologizing in any way for the boringness or difficulty of content would cheapen the rigorous

culture one should seek to set up in their classroom.

There are many other techniques in this work, as well as technical facets that have to do

with those techniques, such as data collection. I have chosen to review more closely those

techniques and technical facets that stood out to me most. That is not to say, however, that those

I did not discuss are not worthwhile. There were slight parts that I disagreed with such as the
hand gestures of support described during the No Opt Out technique (67), but overall, I not

only found affirmation of what I have done as a substitute teacher and during practicum, but also

new ways to enhance my abilities as an educator. My reasoning is based in part on my teaching

philosophy. My teaching philosophy is essentialist-leaning-perennialist, and I associate those

teaching philosophies as being most conducive to academic rigor. I recognize, of course, that

other philosophies can be just as rigorous. That being said, it felt as if Lemov was writing to a

more traditional educator, which is what I am aspiring to be. He states himself that he prefers

rows to desk groups (141), and the techniques I list above and throughout the book encourage

that aforementioned academic rigor, which I associate with a positive-yet-strict demeanor. One

possible criticism might be that the scenarios that Lemov writes about are all localized and might

not apply everywhere. Some of the techniques provided might not include explanation on what

to do in a worst-case scenario. However, Lemov explains how he traveled to various schools to

collect the data and examples he uses and he admits himself that not all of these techniques

would be applicable to all teachers in all situations (19). Teaching is oftentimes a case-by-case

profession, after all. In reviewing this work, I would certainly utilize its techniques in my future

classroom.
Teach Like a Champion 2.0: Field Guide
In the Teach Like a Champion 2.0s accompanying work, Teach Like a Champion 2.0:

Field Guide, Doug Lemov et al provide a condensed, concentrated and interactive sequel to the

aforementioned title. The work reads like a general guide to using specific techniques described

in Teach Like a Champion 2.0, with more suggestions as to how to implement those techniques

and areas in the book to test and record them. It also includes several videos for visual

presentation of the execution of the techniques for better understanding. Since so much of this

piece harkens back to its accompanying work, the content of this review is likely to sound

repetitive.

Just as in Teach Like a Champion 2.0, this work stresses the development of various

cultures in ones classroom and how to utilize studied techniques to achieve them. That said,

being a field guide, it more so focuses on how to properly implement the techniques. One such

technique expanded upon is Technique 10: Own and Track, which can be considered to aid in

maintaining a culture of academic excellence in ones classroom. Regarding Own and Track,

Lemov posits that an educator ought to encourage students to find their own mistakes and to

follow through in understanding what they got wrong so they can seek to correct them in the

future. Says Lemov students must Own and Track: learn from and reflect on what they have

learned in the process of getting from incorrect to correct (Location 4483). In training students

to be able to Own and Track, educators can free up their time in the classroom as well as

concentrate on what students are grasping well and what they are struggling on. In this field

guide, Lemov also provides possible reflections on techniques that were not provided in its

associated work. A reflection for Own and Track describes how it might help educators, claiming

from a teachers point of view, not having students Own and Track whats right makes it more

difficult to verify whether they can truly apply what they learned from discussion (Location
4501). If implemented correctly, and if the educator is able to ensure a regiment through which

students can effectively check their own work Technique 10: Own and Track would increase

classroom efficiency as well as encourage a culture of academic rigor.

In order to see success in Own and Track, Lemov asserts that an educator must have

already established the aforementioned Culture of Error, described in the review of the

supplementary text. That is to say, before students will be comfortable finding and correcting

their own mistakes, they need to be comfortable admitting their mistakes. This work dives deeper

into how to instill a Culture of Error in ones classroom. Lemov breaks down how an educator

can accomplish this more succinctly in this work, claiming, four specific actions can help you

build a Culture of Error: Expect error, withhold the answer, manage the tell, praise risk-taking

(Location 3809). These are all concepts touched in the complementary text, but the field guide

provides examples for each step locations 3861 through 3896 of the e-text. Also unique to the

field guide, Lemov provides areas for discussion and collaboration with peers. In the case of

managing ones tell to encourage a Culture of Error, Lemov writes brainstorming with a

colleague if you can, add other tells you think teachers have, including your own, for correct and

incorrect answers (Location 3872). This encourages the reader towards personal introspection.

Another way in which the field guide goes into greater detail about techniques is in including

suggested language to use in the classroom. Such examples for encouraging the Culture of Error

are found on location 3914 of the e-text.

Other helpful tools found in the field guide include prompts and hypothetical scenarios in

which issues are addressed with the techniques in question. For instance, prompts are provided

for an educator to try using the Stretch It technique described in the first part of this review

(Location 5817). In order to better explain the technique Format Matters, which involves
students properly formatting their written responses, Lemov provides various scenarios for each

school topic (Location 6311). This proved to be particularly helpful as an educator of any

concentration can see how the technique can be applied to their own classroom.

As the Teach Like a Champion 2.0: Field Guide is such a supplemental book to the

original piece, I would certainly use it in my classroom. All of the techniques I found appealing

in the initial text are better explained, with examples and how-to guides provided as well. In

addition, it might be repetitive at times, but having those techniques described twice using

different language gave me a better grasp at what Lemov is explaining. Particular techniques that

resonated with me are Stretch It, Culture of Error, and Right is Right in regards to academic rigor

and Tracking, Not Watching, Exit Ticket, and Own and Track in regards to data collection.
The Growth Mindset Coach

This third text follows the trend of the past two, describing educating as a profession that

requires finesse as a practice that is unambiguous. In their work The Growth Mindset Coach,

Annie Brock and Heather Hundley offer guidance for developing ones classroom from

traditional methods towards a more growth-oriented environment. The text is organized into

mantras and concepts for every month, or chapter. Each following chapter builds on the

procession of developing a growth mindset and how to face challenges that might appear along

the way. This review will discuss various concepts from each month and examine what goes into

implementing a growth mindset effectively.

In chapter 1, August, Brock and Hundley establish the premise of moving from a fixed

mindset towards a growth mindset. A fixed mindset, referred to as where people operate in

absolute stereotypes, is described as it assumes that intelligence and other qualities, abilities,

and talents are fixed traits that cannot be significantly developed (Location 203). Conversely, a

growth mindset is one that contests the purportedly fixed aspects of ones person, that

assumes that intelligence and other qualities, abilities, and talents can be developed with effort,

learning, and dedication (Location 203).

In regard to how to implement a growth mindset in school, Brock and Hundley describe

that teachers ought to seek to dissuade students from pigeonholing themselves as bad at a subject

and encourage and educate them towards being successful at it. A growth mindset surmounts

using such dismissive stances, and attempts to encourage that student that they can achieve

anything they set their efforts and goals to. This is not a one-sided equation, either. Brock and

Hundley assert that the most effective and most positively memorable teachers develop a growth

mindset environment in their classrooms and encourage students towards success, no matter the
preconceived barrier. They list plausible growth mindset teachers that successful people

remember from their childhoods as examples (Location 380).

In chapter 2, September, Brock and Hundley cite the specific research that supports

teaching the growth mindset in schools. They reference the Project for Educational Research

That Scales (PERTS) center at Stanford and its executive director David Pauneskus study of

psychological interventions. One of those psychological interventions included introducing

students to the growth mindset. According to the Brock and Hundleys work, looking at the

scores of these at-risk students, the researchers found a noticeable increase in the grade point

averages of the students receiving interventions (Location 477). Given the research behind the

growth mindset as being successful, Brock and Hundley go on to provide a lesson plan outline to

introduce the growth mindset to ones students on locations 507 through 683 of the e-book.

Chapter 3 includes the science of how the brain works and Brock and Hundley describe

how to teach your students about neuroplasticity. This involves disregarding what standardized

test scores indicate regarding ones proclivity towards any particular subject and thus using it as

means to pigeonhole oneself to just being bad at it. This serves as self-imposed barriers against

ever trying to get better at that subject. Instead, as Brock and Hundley cite several neuroscience

journals, our mind is a muscle that can grow past those barriers. They cite the Journal of

Neuroscience in particular to equate the way the brain can essentially rewire itself to get past the

communication hurdle of deafness to being able to rewire ones brain to get past any

complications they might have with understanding and comprehending a certain topic.

In several ways, chapter 4 has similarities to Teach Like a Champion 2.0. It discusses the

establishment of a growth mindset zone, which sounds akin to the sort of environment Lemov

encourages educators to establish in a Culture of Error. In a growth mindset zone, students and
teachers alike respect each other and project positivity with a mutual understanding that

everyone is present to learn and fulfill their best potential in that class. The chapter proceeds to

describe the growth mindset in student-teacher relations. Similar to the mannerisms and

projected positivity described by Lemovs section regarding Cold Call, growth mindset in

teacher-student relations involves an atmosphere where students know that the teacher has faith

in their ability to achieve, among other similar criteria (Location 1232). The chapter contains

other similarities between the two texts, such as hand signals and code words, feeling secure

around the teacher, and the educator projecting positivity (Location 1316).

Later on in their work, Brock and Hundley discuss mistakes as opportunities. Similar to

Lemovs explanation of how the Culture of Error works, Brock and Hundley offer a three-step

strategy to utilize mistakes as learning experiences. They posit the steps of 1. Normalize

mistakes. 2. Value mistakes as learning opportunities. 3. Coach students through setbacks

(Location 2416). Students must feel comfortable making mistakes, so that teachers may correct

and develop student knowledge in a growth mindset mentality.

Chapter 5 also contains similarities to Lemovs work, namely investing in a challenging

curriculum and classroom. Say Brock and Hundley challenge is at the crux of the growth

mindset; without it, students dont get the opportunities to take risks, learn to fail, and figure out

how to pick themselves up again (Location 1563). This is similar to Lemovs concept of

developing a culture of academic rigor.

This piece read as if it were written more so for elementary teachers. It felt as if it had

more examples of elementary school situations as well as the lesson plans felt directed for

elementary level learners. Some of the famous people who have/knew people with the growth

mindset pieces of the work read as fluff and some of the studies cited felt a bit stretched to fit
relevance, such as some of the neurology studies regarding mice or deafness. When the text

described philosophy is where I benefitted from it the most. Discussing scaffolding, turning

mistakes into learning opportunities, and how to conduct oneself in the classroom effectively are

all some of the topics I feel the text described particularly well. As such, I would be inclined to

use parts of this text after cutting through the arguably off topic, or fluff parts.
What is Your Teaching Style? 5 Effective Teaching Methods for Your Classroom

In Eric Gills online article What is Your Teaching Style? 5 Effective Teaching Methods

for Your Classroom, the reader learns about different teaching styles, how to best utilize them in

the classroom and how they benefit different types of students. In addition, it discusses various

concepts such as the teaching style inventory and it addresses the question of what teaching

style is best for todays students? The following is a review regarding various key ideas that are

brought up in the piece.

To start, the article lists 5 styles of teaching, being Authority, Demonstrator, Facilitator,

Delegator, and Hybrid. I feel as if these styles, as they are described, are too similar to the

commonly used essentialism, perennialism, reconstructionism, and progressivism, but some of

them provide unique takes on how one might teach. For instance, while Authority style is

described as teacher-centered and frequently entails lengthy lecture sessions (Gill) which could

be considered word-for-word what essentialism is. However, Delegator style is described as

involving subjects that warrant peer feedback, like debate and creative writing (Gill). The

piece goes on to list pros and cons regarding these different styles and, while personally I lean

more towards the more structured Authority style, I know that I would end up being some sort of

Hybrid style since I know that there are bits and pieces from each style that can contribute

positively towards a strong classroom environment.

Regarding the teaching style inventory, Gill cites Anthony F. Grasha, a professor of

psychology at the University of Cincinnati (Gill) and how he developed the aforementioned

teaching styles. Gill posits that each style brings some aspect to the classroom that is beneficial

to students. As I mentioned earlier, I can see those benefits that each style might bring in their
best forms, and this is supported as Gill states Grasha warned against boxing teachers into a

single category. Instead, he advocated that teachers play multiple roles in the classroom (Gill).

Finally, the article attempts to answer the question of what teaching style is best for

todays students (Gill). It goes on to list aspects of the modern classroom and how the teaching

styles might play a role in those aspects. Listing pros and cons of each, as well as popular

criticisms, it is easy to note that not one particular style is perfectly suitable for students today.

That said, I would argue that if one who used any of the styles maintained a versatile and growth

mindset, he or she would be effective, regardless of the negative aspects of whichever style.

I would use this piece in the future. Even though it provides significantly less techniques

and tips as the other pieces, I feel as if it has enough guidance to be helpful. What I like

especially about this piece is that it not only discusses various types of teaching, but it also

discusses pros and cons of each, but how those cons can be surmounted.
Teaching Classroom Educators to be More Effective and Creative Teachers

In his work Teaching classroom educators how to be more effective and creative

teachers, Joseph Simplicio discusses the concept and value of teacher creativity. Regarding

teacher creativity in particular, the author brings up the impacts of technology, how teachers can

be creative, and how much versatility and new techniques they must employ.

Regarding technology, the piece discusses how students now have access to various

technologies- particularly the internet- to spend time on. The piece describes As a result

teachers now find themselves competing for student time and attention (Simplicio). From my

substitute teaching experience, I can attest to this as accurate since I had to maintain student

attention and police them on their phones frequently. The piece also goes on to describe how a

teacher might utilize technology to gain and maintain student attention. This no doubt is true as

technology and ability to utilize it is important in a modern classroom, but I simultaneously am

skeptical since it requires heavy monitoring to ensure students are using technology for

appropriate and related purposes.

Versatility is also a main point in the article. Says the author it can also as reasonably

argued that much of what educators do, and how they do it, leaves ample room for modification,

refinement, and enhancement (Simplicio). This demonstrates to me that in order to be a creative

teacher and retain students genuine interests, an educator must be versatile, or maintain a growth

mindset. To be versatile, an educator must not vice their minds to absolutes and I agree that

versatility not only in being creative, but also in handling situational circumstances, is valuable.

This piece can be related to Teach Like a Champion 2.0 as it discusses teachers learning

new techniques to remain creative in the eyes of students. Teach Like a Champion 2.0 provides

many techniques for teachers to try and implement, but this piece stresses that while an educator
could use new techniques to remain creative, they should do so with caution. Therefore, it is

essential that teachers not only attempt to utilize new and creative methods of instruction, but

that they do so only after they have a firm understanding and mastery of these techniques

(Simplicio).

This piece was an interesting read, but I do not think I would use it in my classroom. It

felt too concentrated on one topic to be useful as a general tool. In addition, it discusses

technology at length, which will possibly be out-of-date by the time I get to run my own

classroom.
Works Cited

Brock, A., & Hundley, H. (2016). The growth mindset coach: a teachers month-by-month

handbook for empowering students to achieve. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press.

Gill, E. (2013, January 5). What is Your Teaching Style? 5 Effective Teaching Methods for Your

Classroom. Retrieved July 06, 2017, from http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/teaching-

strategies/5-types-of-classroom-teaching-styles/

Lemov, D. (2015). Teach like a champion 2.0: 62 techniques that put students on the path to

college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lemov, D., Hernandez, J., & Kim, J. (2016). Teach like a champion 2.0 field guide: a practical

resource to make the 62 techniques your own. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley

Brand.

Simplicio, Joseph S.C. "TEACHING CLASSROOM EDUCATORS HOW TO BE MORE

EFFECTIVE AND CREATIVE TEACHERS." Education, vol. 120, no. 4, 2000, p. 675.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context,

link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A63815682/OVIC?u=wylrc_uwyoming&xid=abf383be.

Accessed 6 July 2017.

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