I’ve been reading Doug Lemov’s new book Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College. I find the emphasis on tiny teaching techniques interesting, and some of the techniques seem applicable to my university teaching as well as to the volunteer work I’ve done coaching math teams or teaching kids programming. I am rather put off by the constant puffery of the chain of private or charter schools the author works for, as well as by the very poor copy editing. I suppose an English teacher can be forgiven for not knowing the difference between a sum and a product (though how anyone gets past grade school without than knowledge is a mystery to me), but punctuation errors are not really excusable—it is the publisher’s job to hire a competent copy editor, even if the author hasn’t the skill to punctuate and choose words carefully.
I’m only about halfway through the book, and I need to return it to the library tomorrow (no renewal for Interlibrary Loan)—I now have to decide whether it is interesting enough to buy my own copy to finish the book. I’ve also been considering whether to require the book for my “how to be a graduate student” course. Although TAs and faculty often complain about never having been taught how to teach, I doubt that even 10% of the grad students would find the book gripping enough to actually read it, especially as none of the grad students in my department aspire to become elementary-school teachers. My best bet may be to select out the material I think is relevant for university faculty and teach just those little snippets. I can get the university library to buy a copy of the book, on the off chance that some student might want to read the source and find out how badly I’ve mangled it.