Amanda's Reviews > The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child

The Essential 55 by Ron Clark
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Oct 01, 11

bookshelves: nonfiction, teacher-read
Read in September, 2011

While I think it is great that the author was able to go into an urban school and have a positive impact on his students, I don't necessarily see his method of classroom management/molding instruction to be effective in the long run. A lot of his rules seem arbitrary (and in fact, he admits to have a purposely arbitrary rule) and, having been an adolescent recently myself, I can see how teenaged students would not want to follow his rules. Some of his rules seem to exist for the sake of having rules and his approach does not take cultural values into consideration. All students must follow his way. Like I said, it's great that he got his kids motivated and working, and I see some evidence of trying to understand his students. However, the book makes it evident that he is only trying to understand his students insofar as his perspective allows him- he is not looking outside of his own cultural values. One of his rules is that he allows food and drink in class- because he enjoys having food and drink to work.

I also think having 55 rules for a classroom is a bit absurd. As a teacher myself, I know a lot of students struggle to remember 10 rules- how on earth can they remember 55? Furthermore, how can a teacher remember 55 rules and enforce them fairly while still addressing curriculum?

Perhaps my background in culturally responsive pedagogy has set me against his method of teaching before I even gave it a shot, but I'm not sure that I would implement all of these rules.
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