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Reviewed by:
  • Teaching methods that really work! Evidence based methods of instruction
  • Dan Hursh
Heckler, J.B. (2010) Teaching methods that really work! Evidence based methods of instruction. Atlanta, World Literacy Initiative.

The mission of World Literacy Initiative (directed by Jan Heckler) is to assist developing countries mobilize learning resources as urged by Nelson Mandela when stating his vision for Africa. This book was written based on Jan's thorough professional preparation plus years of experience bringing evidenced based methods of instruction to countries across sub-Saharan Africa. Jan Heckler has dedicated her life to improving learning environments for parents, teachers, and students in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This book pulls together teaching methods that really work in a form that can be easily used to prepare teachers anywhere to use them. It is designed with examples and formats that Jan has experienced while working in sub-Saharan Africa.

The book includes six chapters across three parts that are carefully sequenced to teach and cumulatively integrate and review the main components of evidence-based methods of instruction. Each chapter follows a format of outline and key words, introduction, content sections, and summary and glossary. Integrated within each chapter are examples that illustrate the practices, focus and discussion questions that ask readers to consider how to apply these practices, and reader exercises that give them practice applying the practices. In other words, the book is designed to incorporate many of the evidenced-based practices being advocated.

The first part of the book includes chapters on the methodological and strategic foundations for teaching methods that really work. It begins with continuous assessment, goes on to feedback, and finishes with strategic lesson planning. The second part of the book includes chapters on the tactics of the effective teacher. These two chapters teach the reader about classroom management and discipline, parental involvement, classroom tactics, setting goals and providing feedback, summarizing and note taking, identifying similarities and differences, and use of group learning experiences. These topics set up the third part of the book that pulls together all of the previous teaching methods that really work in to one final chapter that addresses how to systematically use them to assure student learning. Jan nicely includes suggestions for solving five common problems of educating in developing countries along with tables and graphics that illustrate the systematic use of the teaching methods that really work. [End Page 411]

The book ends with six appendices that provide a bit more about some topics that support evidence-based instructional methods and references that provide bibliographic information that will allow those using the book to explore topics of interest in greater detail. The appendices topics include Meta-Analysis and its use to determine effect sizes for differences in the impact of differing methods of instruction, Reinforcement with examples and non examples to assess readers' understanding of this core principle of learning, Rate Reducing Consequences that discusses what appropriate procedures might be employed when behavior is to be weakened, Problem Solving that displays examples of strengthening students' problem solving repertoires, Para-Professional Volunteers that discusses how best to arrange and effectively use such volunteer resources, and Re-Teaching - Remediation that illustrates how a teacher can assure for learning by rearranging instructional conditions when the results of initial teaching efforts are not sufficient.

This book was designed to export what we have learned about effective instructional practices to the developing world, specifically sub-Saharan African countries where there is much to be done to assure that those who pursue a career as a teacher know what they can do to create learning environments for their students. This is a noble and necessary goal for human kind. We know that with education comes a higher standard of living, moderating population growth, wiser use of existing resources, lower probabilities of conflicts, and the possibility for discovering and engineering solutions to the many challenging problems facing us on this planet. Jan Heckler has focused her considerable professional education and experience on preparing a textbook to serve in the preparation of such teachers. My review of her efforts is that she has succeeded in accomplishing this. What remains now is for those of us...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 411-412
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2020
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