A beginner’s guide to Doug Lemov

A beginner’s guide to Doug Lemov

Best known for:

Lemov has become something of a household name in teaching circles following the success of his 2010 book Teach Like a Champion. Based on best practices from experienced teachers, the book provides practical knowledge and proven techniques to help teachers teach better. Now in its second edition, Lemov's guide to '62 techniques that put students on the path to college' has become a staple of teacher training on both sides of the Atlantic


Quick biography:

Doug Lemov (image source: Schools Week)

Nationality: American

Where does he work?

Lemov is an American educator and author. He is currently Managing Director of Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter management organisation that manages 42 charter schools across New York, New Jersey and Boston. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1989, and gained a masters degree from Harvard Business School in 2004.

What's it all about:

The key to Teach Like a Champion's success is Lemov's simple but effective teaching techniques. The first edition is now out of print, but Teach Like a Champion 2.0 provides the same mix of practical techniques that are engaging and easy to implement. The new book also includes 75 video clips of teachers modelling the techniques in the classroom.

Among Lemov's suggested techniques includes advice on how to create a 'culture of error' in the classroom, so pupils know it is safe to be wrong, and so spend less time worrying about errors and more time fixing them. He also offers advice on how to prevent pupils from opting out of class conversations, and provides ways to turn "I don't know" into a meaningful answer by helping pupils who won't try, or can't succeed, practice working answers out.

What he says:

"There are teachers who without much fanfare take the students who others say "can't"- can't read great literature, can't do algebra or calculus, can't and don't want to learn - and turn them into scholars who can."

What others say:

Former education secretaries Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan were reported fans of Lemov's methods, and it has become staple reading for trainee teachers on the Teach First programme. However, Lemov has faced criticism from some quarters for contributing to the 'deprofessionalisation of teaching'. Some have argued that his approach suggests anyone can teach, providing they follow his techniques, and claim he fails to reflect on more nuanced elements of pedagogical practice.

Why you should consider reading more:

As more new and experienced teachers turn to Lemov's book, his techniques have become a common language amongst educators. Sharing and adapting techniques has helped many to improve their practice, and share a common pedagogy across schools. Teachers who have not yet read his techniques may find plenty to adopt or disagree with. Either way, it will help them to reflect on what is good in their own teaching practice.

Top reads:

Further information:

EdProfessional members:

After logging into EdCentral, visit the research section and type 'Lemov' into the search engine to view content summaries, further details, links and reviews relating to his work. You might also be interested in reading an edition of This Week in EdResearch entitled: Doug Lemov: Good Teachers can be made

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