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11 thoughts on “Marzano”

  1. When I was learning more and more about Krashen I was in a school that based everything on Marzano. Those meetings did nothing for me. I completely agree with everything David says above.

  2. My district went through a Marzano phase, and there are some things that are usable. For example, Marzano advocates Standards Based Assessment, including what he calls “Power Grading”. T/CI teachers have done a lot with SBA (see what Scott Benedict has to say, for example.) Power grading is simply the idea that we are asking students to meet a standard; therefore, if they meet the standard later than they are “supposed to”, it’s okay. Change the earlier grades or weight the later grades so that early failure doesn’t matter much. After all, we expect people to improve with time on task, so why should students be penalized for not knowing something when it is first introduced? After all, if they already knew it, there would be no need to teach it. I can use Marzano coupled with Kohn to argue for not grading homework (what standard of language does completing homework fall under?); I can use Marzano to argue for greater weight on end-of-semester and end-of-year assessments. (Teach for June!)
    We need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves so that we can continue to do what is best for our students. If you can find bits and pieces (and you can) of the “educator du jour” that support what you do, use them and emphasize them. Most administrators will be so glad that you are “on board” that they will overlook / fail to see the fact that you are actually doing something different.
    In terms of language acquisition, Behavorism was discredited a long time ago. It was the theoretical basis for the AudioLingual Method, but it could not account for what truly happens in SLA and the manifestations of that unseen process. Both Structuralism (basis for Grammar-Translation) and Behaviorism have been revealed as thoroughly inadequate for language instruction. My problem with basing your classroom management on Fred Jones and PAT is that it is also Behaviorist and relies on extrinsic motivation, which over time provides diminishing returns and gives the subliminal message that the material is not valuable: after all, you have to give me something I find valuable in order to get me to accept the material. (N.B.: I am not saying you should never reward students, but it should come as a surprise after the good behavior, not as a bribe for the good behavior, and it should be random. I’ve read some interesting studies on what happens when there is a reward for behavior every time, and then that reward is removed.)

    1. As far as we are concerned Behaviorism was discredited a long time with respect to SLA (Chomsky vs. Skinner) however academic behaviorists are clearly one of the main pillars of current educational policy in the U.S., along with the billionaires and the social conservatives. This is the glaring contradiction which most of us must work under. To a certain extent I can appreciate the “harmless as dove” approach but I am also an advocate of political action and that certainly means raising our voice whenever and wherever we can. Teaching is an inherently political act. That is why I enjoy everything that Krashen has to say. I will unfortunately not be able to attend the conference in Minnesota but possibly be able to attend the NTPRS in Washington, D.C. Immediately after NTPRS is the BAT (Bad Ass Teachers) convention in D.C. for which I will be a delegate. Thanks for all your comments.

  3. Steve Johnson

    Great topic!
    I love this: We need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves so that we can continue to do what is best for our students. If you can find bits and pieces, use them and emphasize them… Most administrators will be so glad that you are “on board” that they will overlook … the fact that you are actually doing something different.
    Just the other day some people in the department were discussing the topic of structured learning in our curriculum, which seems to be the underlying reason for teaching verb tenses by level, using word lists, forcing ourselves to read novels that aren’t interesting, assessing body of knowledge with common out-dated finals, testing oral proficiency in the silent period, yada yada yada. Someone in the department said to me, “this is what I studied in college in my education degree” (probably reffering to Marzano’s ideas) after I tried to suggest that we start teaching verbs as vocabulary (without regard to tense or level) and to personalize everything for student interest and to encourage free reading.
    I do not dare suggest that people ask themselves if they are teaching in a comprehensible way to all students, because I know that people either feel threatened or they view this as too easy. I am trying hard to be as harmless as a dove, but this question is the white elephant in the room that needs to be asked. There are too many language teachers trying to weed out the “unmotivated” or think that students acquire language through immersion and grammar at the expense of comprehension. Don’t these teachers see how much suffering they cause?
    My department is supposed to be “TPRS” but somewhere along the way we have forgotten the 3 steps and the goal of “TEACHING STUDENTS AND NOT CURRICULUM” (as Blaine says every time I see him). I love teaching because I love teaching students. But why can’t others see the hypocrisy in teaching that doesn’t include all students? Why can’t they see that rigor does not mean immersion, teaching to heritage speakers, forcing output through fancy games and tests. Rigor is (as someone said recently here), demanding that all of my students use the interpersonal mode and show me when they don’t understand. Rigor is coming in and talking to the students comprehensibly for 80-90 minutes and finding out what compels them to listen and respond with short answers. Rigor is making sure that my students feel safe when the miracle of output happens and I don’t correct them.
    I am trying hard to love my fellow teachers, colleagues, and administrators because I know how long it has taken me to teach comprehensibly. I am a work-in-progress and I hope that other administrators and teachers see themselves that way too and not jump on every expert, approach, and try to shove it down our throats.

  4. A group hug to all of you on this one. It is the end of the year and I feel squashed on all sides right about now. Our admin. has just assigned us 4 days of curriculum writing work and a colleague has seized this opportunity to pull our department into shreds. I so needed this line Robert:
    “We need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves so that we can continue to do what is best for our students. ”
    And Steve…you read my mind on this one “I am trying hard to love my fellow teachers, colleagues, and administrators because I know how long it has taken me to teach comprehensibly. ”
    The need within many teachers to be better than others is deep. The mindset that language teachers are better than other people because they speak another language is incredibly difficult to change. I believe that these issues are two of the greatest barriers to getting language teachers to understand CI instruction, consider Krashen’s work, and to open their minds to a “new” approach.
    Wisdom and Love. Kindness and Steadfastness. Faith and Hope.
    Thank you gentlemen,
    with love,

  5. Much love to you Laurie and I am sad to hear that you have to do those four days of curriculum writing. Such a thing to lay on people at the end of a year is just plain mean-spirited. I will give you four hugs in St. Paul next month in an attempt to even that out.

  6. I’m having little time lately to check in, let alone comment. This is one of those threads that has got me thinking and asking myself questions, and wishing I had a bit more time to articulate what I want to ask. I’ll have to wait til a later day to follow up. Thank you all for keeping the ball rolling swiftly and gently and I look forward to seeing some of you in St. Paul.
    (… and down with pop behaviorism!)

  7. This doesn’t relate to Marzano, but to another educational trend. I got an email today from Education Week, and the email title was “New Strategies for Reading Aloud to K-2 Students” and I thought, great! These early reading strategies are something Terry Waltz has said helped her develop Chinese reading approaches. Then I opened the email and read what is below. Surely I’m not reading too much into this: we used to want kids to develop a love for reading, “but in the wake of common core…” I’m not planning to join after all…
    New Strategies for Reading Aloud to K-2 Students
    The old-fashioned classroom K-2 read-aloud is changing. For decades, these cozy gatherings have focused on the story line, the sound of words, and developing a love of reading. But in the wake of the common core, K-2 teachers are refining their approach, crafting questions that guide children back to the text to build vocabulary, content knowledge, and evidence-based understanding of the text. Join us for a lively discussion with a teacher who’s using that approach, and a leader of an initiative that helps teachers collaborate to build an online storehouse of free read-aloud lessons.
    Underwriting for the content of this webinar has been provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
    Meredith Liben, director of literacy, Student Achievement Partners
    Nikki Longmore, 2nd grade teacher, Ruby Duncan Elementary School, Las Vegas
    This webinar will be moderated by Catherine Gewertz, associate editor, Education Week
    Register now for this free live webinar. Thursday, June 18, 2015, 2 to 3 p.m. ET

    1. Robert Harrell

      Somehow this reminds of a quote by Mark Twain:
      “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
      Unless we help children find a love of reading, we will rear a generation that does not read – at least not more than absolutely necessary.

    2. That is disheartening, that they have left behind the idea of getting students to love stories in favor of “higher” goals — in kindergarten, no less. Stories are definitely a bridge to some of those “higher” things *because* kids love them so much. If you kill the love, you kill the power.
      I wonder if you could spin the idea back around in your favor. TPRS is great a teaching vocabulary through interesting stories. I have often thought that TPRS could be used in all sorts of disciplines to make them come alive… using circling and personalization with PQA and parallel stories. Parallel stories come in pretty high on Bloom’s scale. Creating parallel stories creates story structure for students, abstracting it from one story and dropping it into another. The playfulness of TPRS could actually help people to get concepts like evidence without sacrificing personalization. So maybe you could show that TPRS gives all the benefits that they are looking for PLUS a love of reading.

  8. Eric Spindler

    Robert, this is already becoming a problem. When I ask this question many more students say that they don’t like reading, and yet no one ever says that they don’t like music or movies. They may not like certain types of music or types of movies, but they would laugh if you were to suggest they didn’t like music. I just feel some students never did any reading for themselves and then carried this over to all reading. It’s a shame.

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