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Checklists: The Simple Solution No One Wants To Try

ScreenHunter_05 Jan. 05 08.45 Pilots and doctors rely on checklists to perform complex tasks -- or at least the best ones do, according to Harvard-trained surgeon Atul Gawande in his new book The Checklist Manifesto, featured in this NPR story. 

The checklists limit mistakes and create a uniform performance standard.   And yet you rarely see or hear about any such things being proposed or implemented in schools (except, perhaps, in RTI programs).  Teaching must be so much more complex than flying planes or performing surgery - something as simple and clear as a checklist would never work in education.

Previous Posts:  (Could "Checklists" Improve Academic Outcomes?) December 2007, (Thompson: Learning from Others) December 2008.


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Direct Instruction is based on a pedagogical principle that also requires teachers to make sure that essential steps are mastered before the student is asked to move to the next topic/skill. The checklist principle applies both to the teacher's actions and to the child's accomplishment.

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