09 January 2013

Reflection: Teach Like a Champion

At a recent training I went to, one in which we were told how to get our professional license (I'm merely a provisional teacher), we were given the book Teach Like a Champion, by Doug Lemov.

(One step to becoming a professional teacher, in my district, is to reflect on a blog. Hence "Reflection" at the beginning of the post title.)

I'm about four pages in, and he just talked about the difference between strategy and technique. I'll use a sports example, because I like sports. I think there are two main aspects to coaching: practice and play-call. I've often wondered what makes a good coach good. Which is more important? practice or play call? I think about Vince Lombardi, because he seemed to be the kind of coach who emphasized the latter. I assume that because he's a legendary coach, but all the video I've seen of him has him standing on the sidelines with a grimace. Therefore I deduce that he must do nearly all of his coaching in practices.

I just looked him up.

Lombardi created punishing training regimens and expected absolute dedication and effort from his players. The 1959 Packers were an immediate improvement, finishing at 7-5. Rookie head coach Lombardi was named Coach of the Year.[68]
His success wasn't from his brilliant play calls, it was from his training regimens and expectations of dedication.

So anyway, back to teaching. I tend to wax philosophical and consider lofty and elaborate strategies. With just the right strategy, I think, I'll be a better teacher. Or at least my life will be a little easier. Or something good will come from it. Right? Wrong.

Strategy is fine, but it comes second to technique. A brilliant rotational, gamified, blended strategy won't mean anything if I don't have the technique of classroom management, for example.

So for now, time to read on. Time to focus on technique before getting to the lofty strategies.

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