Review of Unlocking Excellence by Jarrod Dumas.
When it comes to new teaching strategies often we find ourselves struggling to keep our heads above the water line. What stuff is worth investing your time and energy in and what stuff is just the product of an over-inflated sense of self-importance and a desire to change just to get ones name known (I personally know teachers and leaders who have “invented” such strategies).
That said it was an immense relief to read a book by Jarrod Dumas, I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy of the book. Frankly, it is excellent! Even as a relatively experienced teacher, I found myself agreeing out-loud with the things Jarrod says. I will definitely be employing some of the simple strategies in his book.
In short, you’d be a fool not to buy it (in my opinion!).
Unlocking Excellence by Jarrod Dumas, The Blurb:
“Unlocking Excellence: A Guide to Becoming an Extraordinary Educator is a quick read for educators or anyone who is responsible for helping others reach their goals. With advice about Owning your Profession, building a Personal Routine, developing a Classroom Culture and Building Strong Relationships with students and parents, Unlocking Excellence coaches the reader to develop a process-driven approach to teaching that is both realistic and meaningful.”
This is what Jarrod himself told me about why he wrote it.
“The idea for Unlocking Excellence came from ten years of teaching and three years of working as an administrator. I saw a need for teachers to return to the roots of education, focusing on specific strategies that are not novel but rather fundamental to education. One of the challenges in education right now is that the profession is changing so fast (the expectations on teachers are changing as fast, if not faster), that practitioners are experiencing a sort of pedagogical whiplash to try and keep up with the demands of proficiency-based, asynchronous learning.
I wanted to help remind teachers that there are some basic techniques that have existed for a long time but still have great value. I sympathize with teachers who are used to Flavor of the Week professional development that constantly changes year to year, so instead of asking teachers to learn micro-skills that might not be here next year, I focused on high-yield strategies that are never going to lose their value.
In addition to the instruction and management techniques that I discuss in Unlocking Excellence, I specifically saw a need for teachers to be supported in the realm of positive psychology and personal mindset.
Our schools can get so negative, and teachers need someone to remind them, “Hey! You’ve totally got this!” A major component of the book is helping teachers create routines and a personal mindset that will empower them to have great days in school regardless of the difficulties that they’ll encounter. This is crucial for classroom success, and I would argue, is probably more important than even mastering the instructional strategies and management skills discussed in the text.”
So there you have it….You can spare $3.49 right? Yes you can and yes you should buy it!
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