Download Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) Audiobook

Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) Audiobook, by Elizabeth Green Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Elizabeth Green Narrator: Karen Saltus Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781469090856
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We’ve all had great teachers who opened new worlds and maybe even changed our lives. What made them so great?

Everyone agrees that a great teacher can have an enormous impact. Yet we still don’t know what, precisely, makes a teacher great. Is it a matter of natural-born charisma? Or does exceptional teaching require something more?

Building a Better Teacher introduces a new generation of educators exploring the intricate science underlying their art. A former principal studies the country’s star teachers and discovers a set of common techniques that help children pay attention. Two math teachers videotape a year of lessons and develop an approach that has nine-year-olds writing sophisticated mathematical proofs. A former high school teacher works with a top English instructor to pinpoint the key interactions a teacher must foster to initiate a rich classroom discussion. Through their stories, and the hilarious and heartbreaking theater that unfolds in the classroom every day, Elizabeth Green takes us on a journey into the heart of a profession that impacts every child in America.

What happens in the classroom of a great teacher? Opening with a moment-by-moment portrait of an everyday math lesson—a drama of urgent decisions and artful maneuvers—Building a Better Teacher demonstrates the unexpected complexity of teaching. Green focuses on the questions that really matter: How do we prepare teachers, and what should they know before they enter the classroom? How does one get young minds to reason, conjecture, prove, and understand? What are the keys to good discipline? Incorporating new research from cognitive psychologists and education specialists as well as intrepid classroom entrepreneurs, Green provides a new way for parents to judge what their children need in the classroom and considers how to scale good ideas. Ultimately, Green discovers that good teaching is a skill—a skill that can be taught.

A provocative and hopeful book, Building a Better Teacher shows that legendary teachers are more than inspiring; they are perhaps the greatest craftspeople of all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Great education is the foundation of a flourishing society, and it depends on great teachers. Building a Better Teacher illuminates how we can develop gifted educators who prepare children for a brighter future. With strong evidence and compelling cases, Elizabeth Green has written an important book that every educator ought to read.”

    Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take

  • “We romanticize teachers, and we vilify them, but we don’t do much to help. This beautifully written, defiantly hopeful book points the way to a better future for American teachers and the children they teach.”

    Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed

  • “Elizabeth Green reveals, in cinematic detail, what makes great teaching such a dazzling intellectual challenge—and why it has taken us so unforgivably long to care. A must-read book for every American teacher and taxpayer.”

    Amanda Ripley, New York Times bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World

  • “Green has spent years looking at what makes a great teacher—and whether the teachers we remember most fondly were born great or simply learned key skills.”

    USA Today

  • “Both a history of the research on effective teaching as well as a consideration of how that research might best be implemented. What emerges is the gaping chasm between what the best teachers do and how we go about evaluating what they’ve done.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Should be part of every new teacher’s education.”

    Washington Post

  • “At the heart of Green’s exploration is a powerfully simple idea: that teaching is not some mystical talent but a set of best practices that can be codified and learned through extensive hands-on coaching, self-scrutiny, and collaboration.”


  • “Peek[s] into real classrooms, allowing readers to observe what great teachers do and how.”

    Boston Globe

  • “It’s a no-brainer: Teaching teachers better is a key to bettering education. To achieve that laudable goal, author Elizabeth Green gathers diverse stories from classrooms, cognitive-science labs, teacher training specialists, and the teaching methods of other cultures…[with] scores of lessons, prompts, and clues that educators can use to improve their game. Both entertaining and illuminating; a valuable tutorial. A Barnes & Noble editor’s recommendation.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • “Elizabeth Green draws upon years of interviews and research as an education writer and CEO of Chalkbeat to make the case for why teaching is a craft and that it can be taught to anyone. Her excellent book should be read for a detailed account of the history of teacher education, an international context, and an entertaining narrative.”

    Psychology Today

  • “Will be of practical use to budding or aspiring teachers.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[Green] makes the case through thoughtful details that great teachers are made, not born…She brings hope and renewal to the field.”


  • “Ideas from a former principal on what makes for an exceptional teacher… Green…suggest[s] that the reverence surrounding the best teachers is misguided, in that it elevates the ‘natural born educator’ mythos that suggests an inborn talent. Green deflates the ‘I could never do what they do’ aura of the best teachers, but in a good way. In extensive conversations and observations that uncover the approaches that the best educators share, she distills how they apply those approaches in similar ways despite differences in extraversion/introversion, humorous/serious teaching approaches, and flexible/rigid standards…A powerful, rational guidebook to creating genuinely effective education, written in a manner useful not just for schoolteachers but everyone involved in the care of children.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In vivid detail, Elizabeth Green chronicles the long, uncertain, but ultimately promising efforts, based on research, to improve teaching in American schools.”

    Howard Gardner, coauthor of The App Generation and author of Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences

  • “In this fascinating and accessible book, Elizabeth Green tells the story of the country’s leading researchers on the all-important questions of what makes for an effective classroom teacher and how teachers can be trained to do their jobs better. That the story feels completely fresh is testament not only to Green’s skill as a reporter and writer but also to how beside the point much of the national conversation about education is. Green’s book ought to persuade the country to focus on what really matters in education.”

    Nicholas Lemann, professor and dean emeritus at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

  • A Barnes & Noble Editor’s Recommendation
  • A 2014 New York Times Notable Book
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Elizabeth Green is cofounder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news organization. A former Spencer Fellow at the Columbia School of Journalism, she has written for New York Times Magazine and other publications.

About the Narrator

Karen Saltus has narrated television and radio commercials, audiobooks, textbooks, multimedia, film, and voice prompts for interactive telephone applications. She began her career thirty years ago at a radio station in Portland, Maine. She later became a creative director for a station in Massachussetts. In 1994 she became a full-time freelance voice-over talent.