Marzano & Marzano. (2010). The Inner Game of Teaching–Revisited.

In August of 2011, I wrote a blog post discussing this chapter in Marzano (2010).

I still stand by these words that I wrote last year:

“If you don’t–deep down–have an unshakeable belief (expectation) that your students can learn, and that you make a difference, then you will never be a successful teacher.  This is because you inner beliefs affect all of your outward actions and emotions, and without positivity in both of those, you will not positively affect student achievement.”

The refining power that my experiences the past year have had on that statement is as follows.  In your desire to persuade students that you believe they can achieve much more, it is *not* OK to raise your voice or get upset that they are not *now* acting like they want to or are able to achieve more.  In a couple of instances I have caused unnecessary friction between students and me.  I believe my passion in the conversation was coming from the right place, but the method of delivery of my message was not very helpful.  Or put another way, the love part of tough love is not communicated very effectively when you are yelling or experiencing a racing pulse.

I was especially drawn this time to the section on the long-term care and maintenance of the inner game.  In particular the section around classifying events in Marzano & Marzano (2010) mentions psychotherapy.   

When teachers or any other professionals are plagued with primary negative events that have occurred in their lives, brief periods of therapy can greatly enhance their effectiveness and their sense of self-efficacy. (360)

What I did not have a good sense at the beginning of my internship is the need for teachers to keep their inner-game healthy despite the battering it sometimes takes with challenging students.  Especially when the challenging students seem to outnumber those that are not as difficult.  All teachers deal with those students that grow like hothouse flowers and bloom incredibly with little tending, versus those students that like prickly cactus defy even efforts to tend and water them.

And finally, the discussion on examining congruence between basic operating principles and actions has almost unknowingly been my constant companion during this internship.  As a math/science teacher, do I really believe all students can learn math?  Do I believe all students should learn calculus?  Are there any students that do *not* need to know basics of decimals, fractions and percents?  Is it always possible to find an explanation or motivation of a math/science EALR or standard that will speak to the student?  Deep down, don’t all students have questions, want to know why? or how?  Are my answers to those questions (and more) adequately and accurately reflected in my everyday actions?

As I call a business person and ask for a student mentorship, or ask some overworked soul for another tour of their workplace, or ask yet another student if they have spent any time on Khan Academy, I sometimes feel a little foolish.  But then I remember that my inner game says that my students need someone to be a fool for them sometimes, to express hope in them when they don’t even have it themselves.  I like the words of Michael Card and I invite you to  “believe the unbelievable and come be a fool as well.”


Marzano, R. J. & Marzano, J. S. (2010). The Inner Game of Teaching. In R. J. Marzano (Ed.), On Excellence in Teaching. (10th ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Card, M. (2002).  God’s own fool.  On Scribbling in the Sand. [CD]  Word Entertainment.  YouTube

Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  • halgera  On June 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I appreciated reviewing your entry and apologize for the time it took to provide some input – Certainly not very good modeling of feedback on my part. It seems that this rereading helped make some additional connections between internship experiences and what you believe about teaching. I agree with your conclusion that we need to tend to ourselves as part of this process, too. It especially helps us when we do need to work with the “prickly cactus” students.

  • halgera  On June 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    This comment and score is provided for your reference. There is no need to post it to your site. Feel free to delete it upon review.
    Timely post – (0.5) – .5
    Self-evaluation – (2) – 2
    Connections – (2) – 2
    Positive Impact – (2) – 2
    Organization – (2) – 2
    Reference/Citation – (2) – 2
    Presentation – (2) – 2
    Interaction (3 comments) – determined as sites are reviewed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: