The Excellent 11 : Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children , by Ron Clark

Book Classification : Education - Parenting - Teaching Methods -
Educational Theory - Student Motivation & Creativity - Learning Skills - Parents & Teachers


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The Excellent 11 : Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children , by Ron Clark
Hardcover - 288 pages
First Edition, August 1, 2004
Published by Hyperion
ISBN 1-4013-0141-X / ISBN 140130141X

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Book Review

Ron Clark's new book about effective education combines advice that will be useful variously to parents, notice teachers, experienced teachers, and school administrators.

For example, the advice to novice teachers who tend to become burned out after a few months, from being up late at night to planning lessons, [page 118] is a must-read for any first year teacher, but this passage will not be directly useful to parents. Conversely, Clark's outline of key questions to raise when talking through interpersonal problems [127] may be used occasionally by a teacher, but parents need these skills every day.

Buy the book The Excellent 11 : Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children by Ron Clark

Observing that a problem or a form of pressure at school may be indicated by a sudden change in grades [129], and the discussion of what bullies are thinking and what drives them [135-137], will be helpful to both parents and teachers. Likewise, the summary of "common sense ways to help children become organized" [184], the enlightening section on "understanding the humor of children" [169], and the author's sensitive approach to the connection between compassion and patience [145] all comprise practical information for both parents and teachers.

About the Author

Ron Clark, the author of the bestseller The Essential 55, has been a teacher since 1995. Originally from North Carolina, he has taught in some of the most challenging schools in the country, most recently in Harlem, New York. Since winning the 2001 Disney Teacher of the Year Award, he has spoken to teachers, PTAS, and school boards across the country. He lives in Atlanta.

- From the Publisher

Both novice and experienced teachers will benefit from certain material, the novices because they might not have considered it before, and the veterans because they may have slacked off in their attention to it. One of the issues in this category is that humor can be used to relieve stress [178] but one must be diligent to follow guidelines for appropriate humor [172], such as the avoidance of humor that can cause embarrassment [174-175]. Similarly, both new and experienced teachers need to watch incessantly for "teachable moments" [63] which are often the occasions when students' questions display curiosity or eagerness. [65] There is usually a way to form a connection between such a spark and the syllabus topic.

A few of the discussions dovetail in school policy advocacy, and I sense that these may require local politics. For example, some novice teachers are virtually forced out of the profession by the practice of administrators assigning extracurricular or committee work to them, leaving the teachers with inadequate time to plan their lessons. [191-193] Since teachers don't have authority in this area, I must interpret this either as advice to principals to administer fairly, or advice to parents to attend school board meetings to demand that principals administer fairly.

The most important elements of the book are those which embrace the discoveries of behavioral psychology. Perhaps the most vital of these is a particular cause and effect loop that our whole society needs to observe much more often: Having been given chances to succeed, and having several experiences succeeding, will give any individual confidence, and this growing confidence will result in further success. [150-158]

The strength of the book is that it relates these and many other factors into a unified plan for compassionate and effective educational practice. What may be the book's minor deficiency is that some of the advice of utmost importance to one readership, in particular, the first year teacher, may be somewhat irrelevant to other readers. In the latter case, Clark's method may have established relevance after all. When different groups of people wish to interact efectively, it helps for the people in one group to understand the predicaments of the other. For example, a parent whose child is being taught by a novice teacher is urged to go directly to the teacher with any concerns, rather than bypassing the teacher and filing complaints with the administration. [192] Additionally, whereas we are accustomed teachers sending written notes to parents when there is bad news, teachers can increasingly send home notes to recognize students' good work, and parents can increasingly welcome and encourage this communication. [164]

The Excellent 11 is a follow-up to the author's earlier book, The Essential 55 . Clark's previous book was on the New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction during 2003, and is now also available in paperback and also as an audio book on an audio CD [abridged]).

Book review by Mike Lepore for crimsonbird.com

First edition; hardcover; 11 chapters plus appendices; no illustrations.

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The Excellent 11 : Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children
by Ron Clark
ISBN 1-4013-0141-X / ISBN 140130141X

Book Description from the Publisher

  • Enthusiasm
  • Adventure
  • Creativity
  • Reflection
  • Balance
  • Compassion
  • Confidence
  • Humor
  • Common Sense
  • Appreciation
  • Resilience

The Excellent 11

These are the qualities shared by children who love to learn -- and they're also the qualities found in teachers and parents who know how to bring out the joy of learning in any child. Find out how to use them to energize your home and your classroom!

The Excellent 11 are the qualities that children and students embody when they are passionate about learning -- and about life.

After publishing the New York Times bestseller The Essential 55 , award-winning teacher Ron Clark took his rules on the road and traveled to schools and districts in 49 states. He met amazing teachers, administrators, students, parents -- all kinds of people involved in bringing up great kids. In the best of these people, he noticed the same qualities that he'd observed in so many of the teachers, children, and parents he'd worked with during his time teaching in North Carolina and Harlem. These are the qualities he describes in The Excellent 11

Ron Clark pinpoints what it takes to make a great student -- and shows that the qualities apply to both educating children and becoming a great teacher or parent. You'll find out what the characteristics are, why they work, and how you can incorporate them into your classroom, home, and life.

As he did with The Essential 55 , Ron has filled this book with hundreds of suggestions, stories, and wonderfully funny anecdotes. You'll be smiling as you read -- and finding the inspiration to change lives, one student at a time.

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The Excellent 11 : Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children
by Ron Clark
ISBN 1-4013-0141-X / ISBN 140130141X

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