Best Practices

  • Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, & Jane Pollock (2001) identified 9 "best practices" or classroom strategies that have a research base to demonstrate their effectiveness.

    Which of these best practices have you used today?

    Which of these will you use tomorrow?

    Best Practice
    Key Idea
    Identifying similarities and differences
    Identifying similarities and differences may well be the "core" of all learning.  Using this strategy can deepen your students' understanding and enhance their ability to apply new knowledge.
    Summarizing & note taking
    Helping students sort out important information and restate it in a concise form improves their comprehension.  Although verbatim note taking is not effective, the more notes students take the higher their achievement.
    Non-linguistic representation
    Psychologists believe we store knowledge in two forms: linguistic and imagery.  The more students process information using both forms, the better they'll understand and recall what they've learned. 
    Cooperative learning
    Cooperative learning is more effective than individual competition or learning.  However, while in groups, students should be interdependent yet accountable for individual contributions.
    Setting objectives & providing feedback
    Telling students their answers are incorrect without explaining why can adversely affect learning. But giving feedback that's timely, specific, and "corrective" is one of the most powerful strategies you can use.
    Generating & testing hypotheses
    Although commonly regarded as the purview of science classrooms, generating and testing hypotheses is a basic cognitive skill that helps students apply knowledge and develop higher order thinking skills in many subject areas.
    Cues, questions & advance organizers
    Helping students connect what they are about to learn with what they already know accelerates learning. Also, because cueing and questioning accounts for as much as 80% of what teachers do in classrooms, asking the right kinds of questions can help elicit higher order thinking and deeper level answers from students.
    Reinforcing effort & providing recognition
    Because not all students realize the importance of effort, one of the most important things you can do is help them understand how more effort creates better results.
    Homework & practice
    Homework should not be assigned for its own sake or as a substitute for classroom learning. Rather, it's a way to extend learning and help students master a skill or deepen conceptual understanding of what you teach them in class.