Last week I was met with a question that left me pondering. Posed to me was this quiz, "Which research do you find to be the most useful to your teachers, Marzano or Jensen?" Yea, I know. It kinda stopped me in my tracks too. And I had to answer it in the presence of well-educated individuals.
Until a moment later in the week, I kept teetering between the two: Marzano for his instructional strategies or Jensen for brain-based learning? They were separated in my mind as if they were two schools of research and thought. But alas, they are not. In fact, they are two pieces of a puzzle that fit tightly together to create a safe, student-centered learning environment.
This past week, I attended the Marzano Institute on Student Engagement in Houston. While I can truly say it was a fantastic conference, it led me to an epiphany of instructional proportions. Marzano's Model of Attention and Engagement encompasses four questions for learners:
1) How do I feel?
2) Am I interested?
3) Is this important?
4) Can I do this?
Rooted within those four questions are the ideals and practices of Eric Jensen - the secret to keeping the students engaged through physical activity and brain stimulation. At the Institute I heard four presenters discuss the varying components within this research with a focus on building vocabulary. In each and every presentation, the expert quoted Jensen's research. Often multiple times.
As a principal I am thrilled to find two researchers who work can be so equivocally matched together like two pieces to a puzzle. It is far to often we chase the latest and greatest thing and it has nothing to do with our previous initiatives.
Not this time, folks, this is the real deal.