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American Educator
Spring 2012


Table of Contents



Putting Students on the Path to Learning
The Case for Fully Guided Instruction
By Richard E. Clark, Paul A. Kirschner, and John Sweller

Discovery learning, problem-based learning, inquiry learning, constructivist learning—whatever the label, teaching that only partially guides students, and expects them to discover information on their own, is not effective or efficient. Decades of research clearly demonstrates that when teaching new information or skills, step-by-step instruction with full explanations works best.

Principles of Instruction
Research-Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know
By Barak Rosenshine

The opening article (see above) explains why—for novices—fully guided instruction is best. This article translates three bodies of research into highly effective instructional practices, such as teaching new material in small amounts, modeling, asking lots of questions, providing feedback, and making time for practice and review.

For a PDF of both articles, click here.

A Model Lesson
Finland Shows Us What Equal Opportunity Looks Like
By Pasi Sahlberg

A decades-long commitment to providing crucial health and social services, as well as early interventions, has enabled Finland to create a system in which all students, in all schools, receive a top-quality education.

I'll Never Forget Mr. White
A Teacher's Legacy
By Andy Waddell

A teacher remembers a colleague and shares some hard-won insights on what it means to be a great teacher.

Ask the Cognitive Scientist
Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning?
By Daniel T. Willingham

In addition to having fewer material and social supports, children from low-income families also tend to have chronic stress that can significantly impede their learning. Research shows that besides social service supports, a classroom teacher’s warmth toward and high expectations for disadvantaged children can help them reach their potential.

 All articles available in PDF format only.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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