Geeking Out With Doug Lemov
Doug Lemov just called me a geek. I’m so flattered.
Lemov, as many of you may know, is the author of Teach Like A Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students On The Path To College. The 2010 book, which collects and analyzes and explains the classroom methods used by America’s most effective teachers, has become something of a cult classic among educators—in large part because of Lemov’s obsessive attention to detail and his insistence on presenting “concrete, actionable techniques” instead of airy platitudes and generalities.
Now Lemov is out with a new book, Practice Perfect: 42 Rules For Getting Better At Getting Better. (Click here for an excerpt.) It is, Lemov told me in our recent conversation, uber-geeky: It takes one topic covered by the already-obsessive Teach Like A Champion—the importance of practice to performance—and obsesses on it for a full 250 pages. But that’s a good thing. With his co-authors, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi, Lemov breaks down for us exactly how practice works, with rules like “Differentiate Drill from Scrimmage,” “Unlock Creativity . . . With Repetition,” and “Model the Skinny Parts.” Like his earlier book, Lemov’s Practice Perfect gives readers the tools to get past what he calls the “get it/do it gap.” We get that we need to practice to get better. But we don’t know how to do it. Lemov can help.
I’m about two-thirds through Practice Perfect and have found so much in it to think about, and more importantly, to use. I recommend it highly, and if any of you out there have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. (About Teach Like A Champion, too.) When I spoke with Lemov recently, he told me that he’d started reading my blog, and found in it some of the same geeky attention to the details of learning that characterizes his own work. It was the best compliment I can imagine.