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‘TLAC’ techniques help engineering teacher reinforce language arts skills

2014 January 23
by HISD Communications

Jawad Tahiri

For Jawad Tahiri, an engineering teacher at Clifton Middle School, HISD’s partnership with Doug Lemov and Uncommon Schools has meant an opportunity to develop his students’ language arts skills alongside their abilities in math and science.

Tahiri has been implementing the strategies espoused by Lemov in his book, Teach Like a Champion (TLAC), and the effects so far have been stellar.

“The power of TLAC lies not in the novelty of its strategies,” he explained, “but in its focus on developing a reflective practice that encourages teachers to pay close attention to the smallest details…turning good instruction into great instruction.”

One of Tahiri’s favorite techniques is called “format matters,” which requires students to speak in a loud, clear voice when answering questions and to use the appropriate technical vocabulary in their answers.

“It took a short time to explain the rationale behind my additional requirements and to practice the new expectations,” said Tahiri, “But my students adopted the new changes quickly—and shortly thereafter, started reminding each other and correcting each other during call-and-response in a collaborative manner that reinforces the culture of ‘normalizing error’ in the classroom, while also showing how much pride they take in delivering the right answer in the ‘right’ format.”

The result, he said, is that “I have been able to support our school’s language literacy initiative and reinforce language arts TEKS more effectively in the engineering classroom.”

Sixteen HISD schools are now involved in the partnership between Doug Lemov, the author of Teach Like a Champion, and Uncommon Schools. The pilot program was launched during the 2011-2012 school year at seven HISD middle schools. Read more about it here.

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