Great Teachers: Exploring Excellence in Education
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Great Teachers: Exploring Excellence in Education

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Author: Kevin P. Bartram

We all know the results of great teaching: happy, successful students who are engaged in the classroom and love learning. But how do these results come about? Are there common traits, tools, or approaches used by the most gifted teachers across different subject areas that can be emulated to produce high-level outcomes? To uncover these secrets, we would need to be given exclusive access to their classrooms, observing them work their magic in person to see for ourselves how they’ve developed their techniques to spark their students’ imaginations.
Great Teachers we take you inside the classrooms—and the heads—of some of America’s greatest teachers, opening the door to those inspired teaching strategies that distinguish excellence in the field of education. While most of these strategies are generally known, the real secret is how they were applied by these teaching geniuses.
From Leonard Bernstein and Christa McAuliffe to Teachers of the Year across the nation and across a variety of subjects, 
Great Teachers invites us in to witness the historic shaping of students’ futures while unlocking their common themes and successful approaches that other teachers can employ to light that same spark in their own students. No matter the grade or discipline, Great Teachers energizes and empowers all teachers to return to our own classrooms and dare to be great.



i-. Preface .... Exploration; The power of Recognition; Character Traits of a Great Teacher; Active Observation of Teaching; Brushes with Greatness; Lessons from Greatness; Acknowledgments

x- Introduction: Criteria for Selecting Great Teachers .... Finding our Role Models: Varied Teaching Settings; National Recognition; Holistic View: Multiple Disciplines; Mixed Teaching Methodologies; Sufficient Evidence; Beyond Personality: Defining Greatness; Who Didn’t Make the List? What a Great Teacher is Not; Great Moments; Great Adversity; Summary

1- Chapter One: From Theory to Practice .... Education Philosophy—What’s the Point?; What is an Approach?; Instructing vs. Teaching; Methodology and Strategy; Great Communication in the Classroom; The Learning Triad: A New Learning Theory; The Learning Triad Step 1: Deliver Instruction with Intention; The Learning Triad Step 2: Allow Students to Reflect on Content; The Learning Triad Step 3: Require a Demonstration of Learning; Educational Psychology & Great Teachers; Using This Book—a Path for Personal Growth; Summary; Reflection

17-Chapter Two: Best Practices of Great Teachers .... Great Teacher Practice 1: Deconstruct or “Chunk” Concepts; Great Teacher Practice 2: Master Formative Assessment; Great Teacher Practice 3: Use a Hybrid Approach; Great Teacher Practice 4: Know Your Students’ Learning Styles; Great Teacher Practice 5: Depth over Breadth—Do not “Cover” Content; Great Teacher Great Teacher Practice 6: Generate Metacognition to Maximize Learning; Great Teacher Practice 7: Generate Multi-sensory Learning Opportunities; Great Teacher Practice 8: Create an Atmosphere of Trust; Great Teacher Practice 9: Make it Relevant; Summary; Reflection

34-Chapter Three: James Percoco, U.S. History (Ashburn, Virginia) .... “Historical” Approach to History Education—I See Dead People; The Percoco Method: Origin of the Method; Applied History: A Model for Modern Classrooms?; Historical Inquiry: (IBL) Methodology for History Education; Percoco Strategy #1: Guide Connections through Historical Inquiry; Percoco Strategy #2: Use Themes, Not Textbooks; Percoco Strategy #3: For Problem-based Learning, Decentralize the Class; Percoco Strategy #4: Create an Atmosphere for Discussion; Percoco Strategy #5: Make Your Course Relevant; Percoco Strategy #6: Create a Spiral Discussion Flow; Percoco Strategy #7: Get into “Good Trouble” by Putting Modern Issues into Historical Context; Percoco Strategy #8: Use Quality Sources to Promote Critical Thinking; Percoco Strategy #9: Create Action-oriented Assignments; Summary; Reflection

57-Chapter Four: John Passarini, Special Education (Wayland, Massachusetts) .... An Exceptional Child; Special Education in America; The Passarini Method; Passarini Strategy #1: Rely on Short-term Goals, not Long-term Goals; Passarini Strategy #2: Make Mentoring a Priority; Passarini Strategy #3: Become Obsessed with Learning; Passarini Strategy #4: Assess Quickly and Move On; Passarini Strategy #5: Don’t Define Success through Test Scores; Passarini Strategy #6: Establish Trust; Passarini Strategy #7: Develop a Strong Philosophy; Bonus Profile: The Story of Katie Lynch; Passarini Strategy #8: Include Mainstream Students and Faculty; Summary; Reflection

81-Chapter Five: Morgan Wooten, Athletics (Hyattsville, Maryland) .... The Godfather of High School Basketball; Morgan Wooten: Defining Success…by the Numbers; A Champion Endorsement; A New Job; Wootten’s 3-point Model of Success; The Greatest Basketball Game Ever Played; The Wootten Method: Wootten Strategy #1: Build a Winner by Recruiting Good People; Wootten Strategy #2: Establish a Winning Effort; Wootten Strategy #3: Discipline Positively; Wootten Strategy #4: Use Team Rules to Reinforce your Philosophy; Bonus Profile: A Lesson about Being Flexible; Wootten Strategy #5: Make a Game Plan by Chunking; Wootten Strategy #6: Communicate your Plan through a “Why Statement;” Wootten Strategy #7: Put Winning in Perspective; Summary; Reflection

101-Chapter Six: Christa McAuliffe, Social Studies (Concord, New Hampshire) .... The “Field Trip Teacher; An Extraordinary “Ordinary” Person; The McAuliffe Approach: McAuliffe Strategy #1: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously; McAuliffe Strategy #2: Take Command of Your Classroom; McAuliffe Strategy #3: Generate Metacognitive Opportunities; McAuliffe Strategy #4: Don’t Forget Oral Communication; McAuliffe Strategy #5: Promote Experiential Learning; Bonus Profile: McAuliffe’s First Year as a Teacher; Summary; Reflection

124-Chapter Seven: Leonard Bernstein, Music (New York, NY) .... A Passion for Teaching; Music in our Schools; Emerging Patterns; Observing Aesthetics; The Bernstein Method: Bernstein Strategy #1: Begin and End with Demonstration; Bernstein Strategy #2: Teach Active Listening; Bernstein Strategy #3: Focus on Formative Assessment; Bernstein Strategy #4: Teach Students to Self-correct; Bernstein Strategy #5: State the Objective in the Form of a Question; Bernstein Strategy #6: Answer the Question in Stages; Bernstein Strategy #7: Use the Deductive Method to Introduce Concepts; Bernstein Strategy #8: Use Figurative Language to Clarify Abstract Ideas; Bernstein Strategy #9: Generate Audience Participation; Summary; Reflection

147-Chapter Eight: Connie Bagley, Reading Instruction (San Marcos, Texas) .... Teacher of the Year?; Changing the Rulebook; Dyslexia-More Common than You Think; The Bagley Method: Origins of the Bagley Method; Bagley Strategy #1: Adapt the Method to Fit Your Situation; Bagley Strategy #2: Engage Students Immediately Through Oral Language; Bagley Strategy #3: Use a “Why Statement” to Engage Students; Bagley Strategy #4: Use Multi-sensory Drills; Bagley Strategy #5: Know your Students’ Capabilities; Bagley Strategy #6: Build Students Up; Bonus Profile: The “Fonz”; Bagley Strategy #7: Learn to Pivot; Bagley Strategy #8: Close the Lesson with a Mastery Learning Model; Bonus Profile 2: William’s Story; Summary; Afterward; Reflection

165-Chapter Nine: Ken Stewart, World Languages (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) .... Two Surprises; Historical Problems with Modern Language Instruction; The Stewart Method: Stewart Strategy #1: Establish Relevance Through Exploration; Stewart Strategy #2: Get Connected & Stay Connected; Stewart Strategy #3: Engage Students by Personalizing Content; Stewart Strategy #4: Allow (and Even Encourage) Mistakes; Stewart Strategy #5: Move Students to Higher Levels of Proficiency; Summary; Reflection

189-Chapter Ten: Jeffrey Charbonneau, Science (Zillah, Washington) .... The Scientific Method and the Learning Triad; Charbonneau Approach: Initial Challenges; Part I: Charbonneau the Teacher: Charbonneau Strategy #1: Prioritize Global Citizenry; Charbonneau Strategy #2: Move Expectations from “I Can’t” to “We Can”; Charbonneau Strategy #3: Make it Harder, not Easier; Charbonneau Strategy #4: Empower Students with an Active Classroom; Charbonneau Strategy #5: Stimulate Reasoning with Inquiry-based Learning; Origins of IBL; 5 Phases of IBL; Part II: Charbonneau the Administrator; Charbonneau Admin Strategy #1: Be an Empathetic Teacher/Leader; Charbonneau Admin Strategy #2: Treat Teachers Like You Treat Your Students; Charbonneau Admin Strategy #3: Tell Them “NO”…the Right Way; Charbonneau Admin Strategy #4: Telling Does Not Work; Getting Results; Summary; Reflection

218-Chapter Eleven: Making Sense of Greatness: 11 Lessons .... Different Teachers, Similar Results; If You Want to be Great…1-you must develop self-reflection as the foundation for all learning; 2-you must embrace failure; 3-you must delve deeply into concepts; 4-you must get everyone involved; 5-you must hold students accountable; 6-you must develop student leaders; 7-you must develop situational awareness; 8-you must work hard; 9-you must make learning fun; 10-you must prioritize student welfare over personal achievement; 11-you must emphasize the affective over the cognitive domain; Summary; Reflection

233-Glossary of Terms


Appendix 1: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Generic)

Appendix 1a: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Abridged)

Appendix 2: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Modern Languages)

Appendix 3: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Music)

Appendix 4: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (History/Social Studies)

Appendix 5: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (PE/Adapted PE)

Appendix 6: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Reading)

Appendix 7: Great Teachers Full Classroom Observation Tool (Science)

Reviews: “Kevin Bartram’s Great Teachers is an impressive composition that takes us on an analysis of how to apply best strategies used by some of education’s most inspiring teachers. His in-depth exploration offers elements of dynamic contrast to heighten the awareness of teachers so they can lean into their full potential and meet the needs of ALL students. The chromatic experience of this book are the leading tones that authenticate learning in and out of the classroom. The finale is up to us.”

Princess Moss, National Education Association Vice President


“Current educators and pre-service teachers who intend to step out of their comfort zone and broaden their perspectives will want to explore the concepts, ideas and recommendations in Dr. Kevin Bartram’s Great Teachers: Exploring Excellence in Education. Regardless of the subject matter you teach, the content in this book speaks directly to you. While rigor and relevance are stressed, the human aspect of our profession remains front and center throughout the book. Visionary educators realize that the students we are grooming now must be prepared for tomorrow’s world. I am grateful for the innovative guidance Dr. Bartram provides for us all as we venture into uncharted territory.”

Lynn Brinckmeyer, MENC/NAfME Past President

About the Author:

Award-winning teacher Dr. Kevin P. Bartram has spent 30 years in the classroom, both in public schools and at the university level. His high school program was one of the finest in the nation, earning a Grammy Signature Award and Exemplary Program Award in the state of Maryland. Bartram is Past-President of the College Orchestra Directors Association and past chair of the Fredericksburg (VA) Arts Commission. He has degrees from Northwestern University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Shenandoah University. Bartram is an active clinician and guest speaker about teaching techniques and educational excellence. He and his wife Connie, an elementary music teacher, have two boys–Nicholas and Willie, both Eagle Scouts. Now, after spending the past 19 years in higher education, he is returning to teach high school and middle school in Fall 2021.

Details: 2022 [ISBN: 1-58107-369-0; 314 pages, soft cover; 8 1/2 by 11 inch]