FORTY-ONE ELEMENTS OF COMPLETE BULLSHIT
The Moronzano Method
Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with a beast like the “Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model,” so I’ll start by exploring just what it is that appears to make so many seemingly otherwise intelligent people believe Dr. Robert J. Marzano is an authority regarding teacher evaluation in the first place.
Here’s his biography, from the iObservation website (iObservation is a division of Learning Sciences International, which, in turn, appears to be a sort of conglomerate composed of several different so-called “educational research” outfits in which Marzano is a partner):
Robert J. Marzano, PhD, is co-founder and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Englewood, Colorado. Throughout his years in the field of education, he has become a speaker, trainer, and author of more than 30 books and 150 articles on topics such as instruction, assessment, writing and implementing standards, cognition, effective leadership, and school intervention. His books include Designing & Teaching Learning Goals & Objectives, District Leadership That Works, Designing & Assessing Educational Objectives, Making Standards Useful in the Classroom, and The Art and Science of Teaching. His practical translations of the most current research and theory into classroom strategies are internationally known and widely practiced by both teachers and administrators. He received a bachelor’s degree from Iona College in New York, a master’s degree from Seattle University, and a doctorate from the University of Washington.
I’ve read several “biographies” on this guy, and all of them are about the same length, and say about the same thing. There’s a Wikipedia entry about him, and it’s a little longer, but it doesn’t shed any additional light on his shady credentials.
One thing that stands out pretty glaringly in all the written information I have read about Marzano is the absence of any mention of actual classroom teaching experience. In an interview titled, “Why Most Classroom Walkthroughs Are Ineffective,” Marzano says, “I was a classroom teacher many years ago in New York and Seattle, but I got excited about and hooked on the research side of our profession very early in life…”
He doesn’t make much of his actual teaching experience, emphasizing instead his “research” resume. Whatever his actual real-life day-to-day teaching experience, it’s safe to say that it’s very limited and very long ago and therefore very irrelevant.
I am not adequately informed as to the ins and outs of “educational research,” but I imagine that most good teachers spend the better parts of their teaching careers doing their own personal versions of exactly that, each in their own individual way, but all striving for the same result: to help their students gain as much knowledge and direction in life as they can. I know I do.
Marzano’s stated purpose is different (and somewhat disingenuously stated, in my opinion, but I’ll get to that another time). From the Learning Sciences International website: “We are interested in one thing only: helping educators improve student achievement through their own growth and development.” What a noble cause.
Another blurb from another page says they want to “help teachers have a positive impact on student growth.” I really don’t feel like I need their kind of help.
This “learning sciences” crap starts to get really deep really fast. Watch the video; for two minutes, Marzano talks in circles and never really says anything.
My main issue with all these teaching experts is that they don’t teach, but they instead state the obvious in fantastically scientific terms that truly give me a headache after a very short exposure. They complicate the simple, and attempt to quantify what is largely a very natural, instinctive human activity. The lexicon is absolutely astonishing. “Education researchers” rip apart an art and feign the creation of a science.
It is SNAKE OIL.
It is absolute madness, in its entirety, and it is being sold for profit to the taxpayer.