According to author Mike Schmoker, there is a yawning gap between the most well-known essential practices and the reality of most classrooms. This gap persists despite the hard, often heroic work done by many teachers and administrators. Schmoker believes that teachers and administrators may know what the best practices are, but they aren’t using them or reinforcing them consistently. He asserts that our schools are protected by a buffer—a protective barrier that prevents scrutiny of instruction by outsiders. The buffer exists within the school as well. Teachers often know only what is going on in their classrooms—and they may be completely in the dark about what other teachers in the school are doing. Even principals, says Schmoker, don’t have a clear view of the daily practices of teaching and learning in their schools.
Schmoker suggests that we need to get beyond this buffer to confront the truth about what is happening in classrooms, and to allow teachers to learn from each other and to be supervised properly. He outlines a plan that focuses on the importance of consistent curriculum, authentic literacy education, and professional learning communities for teachers.
What will students get out of this new approach? Learning for life. Schmoker argues passionately that students become learners for life when they have more opportunities to engage in strategic reading, writing with explicit guidance, and argument and discussion.
Through strong teamwork, true leadership, and authentic learning, schools and their students can reach new heights. Results Now is a rally cry for educators to focus on what counts. If they do, Schmoker promises, the entire school community can count on unprecedented achievements.