Posted by: Kate | January 10, 2014

Book Review: The Excellent 11

I picked up this book on a whim while walking around the library the other day. The title caught my eye, and it has a fun looking cover. Sometimes that’s all it takes. In this case, I was glad I grabbed it.

The Excellent 11 refers to Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire and Educate Children. Ron Clark speaks from experience as an educator and as the author of The Essential 55. He writes with enthusiasm, clarity and a succinctness I appreciated,with a touch of hyperness that some might find exhausting.

The book is easy to read. Some of it struck me as common sense, but I liked the message. Each chapter covers on of the 11 essentials, which are things such as Enthusiasm, Balance and Appreciation. I like the selection and would agree that they are 11 things that instilled in children will help them succeed in life.

I think students themselves would like to read it. When the first words in the chapter on adventure are, “Too many students are sitting in classrooms day after day. watching the clock and feeling bored….“, I think kids will relate.

While Clark’s take is one full of energy and enthusiasm, it is tempered with a realistic view of achieving balance as a teacher, knowing when to take a step back and look after yourself first. His dedication is unquestionable and I do wonder if as a colleague he would at times be exasperating. Not everyone can have the energy he seems to, although perhaps his book can help other educators find their own path to excellence.

Clark’s take on expectations, achievement and standards is refreshing. He seems to have found a way to engage his students and create the desire in them to achieve their best, which really is what we want in our classrooms. Make the students care about learning and about the classroom, and you’re at least giving them the chance to succeed.

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Responses

  1. This sounds like a really interesting read! We try really hard to make the learning in our primary classrooms as real-life as possible. We also have an outdoor classroom and are part of the outdoor learning ‘Forest Schools’ initiative. It needs a mixed bag of everything to suit all personalities and learning styles. Ros

    • Absolutely, Ros. Your classroom sounds like a great place from what you’ve shared.


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