Book Review: “Methods that Matter: Six Structures for Best Practice Classrooms”

(Daniels, H.A., & Bizar, M. (1998). Methods that matter: Six structures for best practice classrooms. Stenhouse Publishers.) 

by Lisa Youngers 

Methods that Matter presents specific, detailed examples of six methods of instruction defined as “Best Practices.” Each chapter begins with a description of the method, its history, and its important elements. Teacher narratives, including detailed lesson or curriculum plans, and post-lesson reflections on the unit are included. Since each lesson or unit specifically details the procedure and how it worked, teachers can easily adapt the material to suit their needs. For example, the unit on silent sustained reading includes classroom rules, procedures, and supplies. The chapter on reflective assessment is especially relevant to adult education. This unit provides simple guidelines to encourage learners to think about and take responsibility for their own learning. Many of the ideas are simple and easily integrated. For instance, a quick way to model goal setting is to begin each class by stating the goals of the session.

Another useful idea is to include the use of exit slips that are completed at the end of each class. Students are asked to write down their reflections on the class, both positive and negative. This provides the teacher with some feedback and direction for the next session.

Although no single methods book can ever provide sufficient ideas and strategies for a teacher, Daniels and Bizar have written a credible and useful volume for teachers of all levels.

Lisa A. Youngers teaches ABE/GED® classes for Williamsburg-James City Schools. 

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