The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction

by Robert J. Marzano, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2007, 221 pp., $26.95 softcover

As our profession focuses more on student learning, we have an urgent need to know what works. Administrators who want to partner with teachers to improve teaching practice and student learning will find this book to be a frequently used sourcebook.

In The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction, Robert J. Marzano summarizes the research, gives practical examples and provides a menu of things teachers can do now to improve student learning. Marzano’s crisp writing and the graphic illustrations make it easy to move from research to practice.

Each of the 10 chapters addresses one part of a “comprehensive framework for effective instruction.” Each starts with the science of teaching — enough research to let you know which approaches are most likely to be successful.

Charts and graphs take you directly to the key concepts without bogging down in the research details. One chart shows a 24 percentile gain when weekly feedback is provided. Each chapter then moves quickly to action steps that come from and resonate with classroom teachers. The book answers well the two key questions we often ask ourselves: What matters most, and what can I do about it?

Marzano also addresses practical classroom issues, like engaging students, classroom rules, effective relationships and high expectations, which teachers will find helpful. I found the chapter on building effective relationships extremely useful and shared the concepts widely across our school district.

Reviewed by Larry L. Nyland, superintendent, Marysville School District, Marysville, Wash.