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Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

05.17.19 Our Ratio Workshop Is The Perfect Way to Get Ready for Next Year

Our last two-day workshop of the year is one of our best: Ratio. We spend two days covering techniques to help teachers ensure that students do the cognitive work in the classroom. And it’s the perfect way to prepare for next (school) year and ensure that it’s a success. One theme is to get there by…


05.15.19 How Does Pacing Work? Ask Ben Esser!

Next year we’re re-working our Engaging Academics workshop to spend more time on the techniques teachers use to manage their Pacing–to make a lesson feel fresh,exciting and new even while it lingers on a key topic for a sustained period of time–to make learning substantive and rigorous but to also ensure sustained attention from students. This…


05.14.19 Who’s Reading the Cognitive Science?

I do a fair amount of work in the sports sector: mostly working with soccer/football and rugby federations and professional franchises, talking about developing players better by teaching better. At first I felt guilty about this work, even though I love it. How could I justify spending my time on that when public schools look like…


05.08.19 A Case Study in the Power of Academic Procedures and Routines

Perhaps the single most powerful way to bring efficiency, focus and rigor to a classroom is by installing strong procedures and routines. You define a right way to do recurring tasks; you practice doing them with students so they roll like clockwork. This applies at least as much to ‘academic’ tasks as it does to more…


05.08.19 Department of Pet Peeves: Vilifying ‘Teacher Talk’

Forgive me but I have to scratch an itch. One phrase I often hear in the discourse about teaching is “teacher talk”- it almost always used as a pejorative, often by teachers themselves. You’re supposed to know better than to do it. It’s not just that this view point is hugely simplistic–surely a teacher speaking, perhaps…