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Publisher's Summary

Clear, easy principles to spot what's nonsense and what's reliable

Each year, teachers, administrators, and parents face a barrage of new education software, games, workbooks, and professional development programs purporting to be "based on the latest research." While some of these products are rooted in solid science, the research behind many others is grossly exaggerated. This new book, written by a top thought leader, helps everyday teachers, administrators, and family members - who don't have years of statistics courses under their belts - separate the wheat from the chaff and determine which new educational approaches are scientifically supported and worth adopting.

  • Author's first book, Why Don't Students Like School?, catapulted him to superstar status in the field of education
  • Willingham's work has been hailed as "brilliant analysis" by The Wall Street Journal and "a triumph" by The Washington Post
  • Author blogs for The Washington Post and Brittanica.com, and writes a column for American Educator

In this insightful book, thought leader and best-selling author Dan Willingham offers an easy, reliable way to discern which programs are scientifically supported and which are the equivalent of "educational snake oil."

©2012 Daniel T. Willingham (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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  • J Lake
  • 01-19-18

Excellent for non-education contexts too

Though many examples were related to education research the principles are far from specific to that context. I think the author does himself a disservice to suggest this is only for education. The book could have been better titled "How to evaluate and apply scientific claims" in my view.

Hpwever, I think there is a lot of work involved in evaluating claims in the way the author advocates. It is the best way since he tries to mitigate the effects of various bias, but I fear most will not apply the lessons due to the time and effort involved. From my experience, the teacher or parent who can believe that they may suffer from cognitive bias and that is a problem they need to go to extra effort to avoid, is incredibly rare. It is especially important to write things down as it keeps you honest. But that is a hard lesson to learn.

I think it makes a difference when the narrator is the author and I wish other books did this. The narration was excellent.

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  • Samuel
  • 07-07-14

Every School Leader MUST have read this book!!

Dear Head Teachers, school managers and fellow teachers,

I realise that your time is precious, but reading and/or listening to this book could improve the decisions you make about training choices in your school.

I have tried several "new" methods, that I have then quickly dismissed, in the last 10 years. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to judge which are the good ones more effectively, before we roll them out?

Like me, you may know you have been duped by the spin accompanying some of the methods you've tried to adopt, even trying to push through ineffective measures whilst your more cynical colleagues mutter "Seen it, done it; didn't work then, and it won't work now”.

This book may help you garner credibility from being able to say, with confidence, "No! It doesn't work“ "we'll stick to our way, because that works".

This book will give you a framework by which to judge teaching methods and training programmes promoted by the plethora of Educational Providers. It will give you the confidence to back your instincts against the hard sell, of guilt trippers who infest out profession and distinguish them from those who are genuinely helping us to refine our views and skills, so that we can do our jobs more effectively.

This book is very well written. It will engage you, and help you understand which teacher development programmes represent best value for money. By jogging you to frame what you want the training to achieve, it will assist you to assess the degree to which the programme could help you or your school most. This book is not a “holy grail” but it will empower your decision making.

If you use this book effectively, you will be seen as someone who values your own time, the time of your colleagues and as a bonus, prizes and even champions opportunities to help your pupils become better students.

Yours Sincerely,
A Teacher