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On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness, by Dr. Dee L. Fabry (Ready or Not Press, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 2012).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

January 5, 2014 (San Diego)--Dee L. Fabry, Ph.D, along with 18 eighteen high school teachers in a graduate level course on effective teaching practice, shares their journey of improving the cognitive skills of students in Fabry’s groundbreaking book; On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies to Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness.

The author, Associate Professor at National University, School of Education, Teacher Education Department in La Jolla, serves as the Master of Arts in Teaching Program Lead, teaching classroom teachers returning for their post graduate degrees. This makes her eminently qualified to lead these high school teachers in a graduate level course in effective teaching practice, which has resulted in this innovative book. Her research and scholarship is focused around improving teaching and student learning outcomes.

Known for her expertise in developing and assessing student learning outcomes, Dr. Fabry has issued a wake-up call to high school faculty, administrators and teacher educators to transform the energy in high school classrooms. She has created a new take on “teaching well” where faculty members experience the marriage of research-based instructional strategies to the daily practices of truly effective teachers. The wedding result? The creation of genuine, engaging, learning connections with the students who pass in and out of their doors.

The materials in this book were designed to develop an understanding of the clarity of the goals of a high school education, to show how those goals and standards, whether current state or the new Common Core State Standards, align to inform curriculum design, instruction, and assessment, and to show how implementing and integrating the elements of effective pedagogy can transform teaching and learning.

It is readily apparent throughout this book that the author utilizes research-based content which is essential in overcoming questioning public attitudes toward teaching and learning. Specifically, this book integrates the research of James H. Stronge (2002) from his book Qualities of Effective Teachers, as well as the research from Robert J. Marzano, Deborah J. Pickering, and Jane E. Pollack (2001) from their book, Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, and is designed to be used in conjunction with these works. It is also apparent that the concepts of teacher effectiveness, research-based instructional strategies, and the direct implementation supplied by this book are triangulated to form a foundation that results in changes in teaching – changes that enhance student learning.   

In On Teaching Well: Using Classroom Instructional Strategies To Increase Your Teaching Effectiveness, Dr. Fabry leads the reader participant first to a mirror to create an honest self evaluation that draws from the well known works of James H. Stronge, resulting in a new self portrait and an action plan for change.

Weaving in her personal experience along with real life case studies, Dr. Fabry ties together with a strong knot, teacher effectiveness and the research-based instructional strategies espoused by Marzano, Pickering and Pollack. Learning activities, mini lectures, mapping and grading rubrics throughout the text and appendices connect the two in unity and an inseparable, energy filled bond. The e-book is designed for a variety of applications from individual faculty use, curriculum supplements for teacher educators, a stand alone course or Professional Development Programs.

Isaura Barrera, Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Professional Studies, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas, and Professor Emerita, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, says it all about this scholarly and well-written book: “Finally, someone who attends to both skill and passion in teaching… I highly recommend this book for all teachers, whether secondary or not, who seek both to be effective teachers and to recapture the excitement and zeal that drew them to the profession in the first place.” Those are my exact sentiments on a book that I too highly recommend.

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego. He is also a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles, as well as the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

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