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The Novice Advantage

The Novice Advantage
Fearless Practice for Every Teacher

© 2016 | 224 pages | Corwin

Capture the novice mindset!

Get ready to teach as never before, powered by a fresh, brave mindset. With humor and insight, this down-to-earth guide reveals a fundamental principle: the best teachers grow through risk, reflection, and revision. Readers will learn how to:

  • Sustain the energy and positive qualities of a novice, while building expertise at all career stages
  • Develop a network of support to improve teaching practice
  • Implement new strategies that engage and motivate students

Learn how to teach with the daring of a beginner and a lifelong passion for learning and growth.
“Dr. Eckert highlights the value of seeking those “first days” throughout our careers – the joy and nervousness experienced in these transformational moments are critical to have again and again if we are to grow personally and professionally."
Patrick Ledesma, Director of Research and Knowledge Management
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The Novice Advantage  
Who Needs This?  
A Way Forward  
A Way Back  
A Way to Make Our Work Easier  
A Tool for Fearless Action  
Part 1: Novice Mindset and Process
Chapter 1: Cringeworthy Moments - Why Would I Want to be a Novice?
Is He Serious?  
Creative Struggle  
It's Not About "Novice" Instead of "Expert"  
The Growth Mindset and the Novice Mindset  
A Brief Look at the Condition of U.S. Education  
Lost or Taken Away?  
From Cringeworthy to Desirable  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Chapter 2: Embrace the Novice Mindset
Three Exemplary "Novices"  
Novice Mindset Markers  
Developing and Maintaining a Novice Mindset  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Chapter 3: Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.
The "Four Rs"  
Reflection and Your Professional Learning Network  
The Four Rs Transform the Classroom into an Exploratorium  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Part II: Practices
Chapter 4: Fill the Classroom
Create Space for Growth  
Engage the Entire Class  
Teach Students to Work Hard  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Chapter 5: Motivate Pragmatically
Stop Setting Ourselves Up for Failure  
Pragmatic Motivation  
Apply the Four Rs to Motivation  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Chapter 6: Expect More
Honesty and Transparency: The Markers of Effective Assessment  
Give Students a Chance to Grow  
Techniques That Promote Student Growth  
Be a Warm Demander  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Chapter 7: Build Important Relationships
Find What is Fascinating  
Be Intentional  
We Don't Just Work with Students  
Connect with Resources Outside Your Classroom  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  
Part III: Expert Novices
Chapter 8: Become an Expert Novice
Getting Better in Our Classrooms  
Getting Better in Others' Classrooms  
Getting Better Beyond the Classroom  
Becoming Expert Novices  
The Expert Novice Opportunity  
Reflect. Risk. Revise or Reject.  

“Jon Eckert shifts the conversation – and hopefully our mindsets – regarding growth and learning as educators, no matter where we are in our career. In his book The Novice Advantage, Eckert highlights the importance of thinking of ourselves as novices who are constantly growing instead of experts complacent with our practice. This book pushes our thinking on expertise as educators and is great fodder for book groups, Professional Learning Communities, or any collaborative professional conversation. A must read!"

Megan Allen, Director, Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership
Mount Holyoke College

“I found myself laughing and taking notes throughout the book. Jon's ability to weave humor with proven, field-tested techniques will empower both new educators and veterans alike.”

Mawi Asgedom, Founder and author
Mawi Learning, Of Beetles and Angels: One Boy’s Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard

“Dr. Eckert’s new book is a must read for every novice – and the teacher educators who prepare them for the realities of the early years of teaching. While filled with practical advice for the new recruit, his book also serves as an antidote for the scripted recipes foisted upon too many classroom novices today. The Novice Advantage does not offer 63 steps to teaching effectiveness heaven but a blueprint for developing capacity to teach effectively over time and learning to lead the profession that students and our public schools deserve.”

Barnett Berry, Founder and CEO
Center for Teaching Quality

“If you’re ready to laugh, cry, wince, sigh, and nod about classroom adventures (others and your own), this book is for you. The stories will resonate with any teacher who has had a “cringeworthy” classroom moment or two. As an experienced educator, I began reading Jon’s insightful analysis expecting to come away with a renewed reminder of the “novice” world; instead, I was schooled by a great teacher. We are ALL novices and should strive to stay in that space. It’s where lifelong learners hang out. Because we all begin something new each day, this book is not only for novice teachers—it’s for all teachers who want to get better.”

Ann Byrd, COO & Partner
Center for Teaching Quality

“So often we aspire to expertise with the false notion that experts are infallible. In The Novice Advantage, Jon Eckert paints a more realistic picture – that it's actually failures and rigorous reflective practice that breeds expertise. With deep case studies, practical strategies based in research, and amusing anecdotes, this book is a particularly useful addition to the tool belt of any professional, at any stage of their career. My recent shift from the classroom to teacher leader, then to non-profit leadership have forced me to rely on my Novice Advantage – I only wish the book was published while I was still in the classroom.”

Nick Greer, Managing Director of Programs and former Director of Science
Thread, Baltimore City Public Schools
Key features
  • Describes the best qualities inherent to a novice teacher's mindset, demonstrating how all teachers can embrace this orientation to continually develop skills that will lead to effective teaching and student achievement.
  • Of use for K-12 pre-service, beginning, and even veteran teachers and the leaders and coaches who work with them on classroom practice for the purposes of teacher preparation, teacher induction and mentoring, professional learning communities, book studies, and individual professional development.
  • Filled with dozens brief, funny, and relatable stories, examples, and interviews with novice and accomplished teachers to highlight the benefits of the novice mindset.
  • Full of practical tips and techniques to try in the classroom right away.
  • Each chapter includes sidebars that offer moments of reflection, end-of-chapter case studies, discussion questions, and action steps to encourage teams to grow together or individuals to reflect and act.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781506328744
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