School Smarts by Jim Burke. The Four Cs of Academic Success - Heinemann Publishing
School Smarts
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School Smarts

The Four Cs of Academic Success

By Jim Burke

This is a book about success. A book about what effective learners do to succeed in school and how you can help all of your students achieve similar results. It's based upon a five-year study in which Jim Burke investigated the essential skills and abilities effective learners use to succeed in academic classes. His results are so groundbreaking, so powerful that they will forever change the way you view learning.

Academic success involves much more than the obvious knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Effective students recognize what matters in school, what's worth paying attention ...

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This is a book about success. A book about what effective learners do to succeed in school and how you can help all of your students achieve similar results. It's based upon a five-year study in which Jim Burke investigated the essential skills and abilities effective learners use to succeed in academic classes. His results are so groundbreaking, so powerful that they will forever change the way you view learning.

Academic success involves much more than the obvious knowledge of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Effective students recognize what matters in school, what's worth paying attention to, how much effort is appropriate. They share four essential qualities, what Jim describes as the Four Cs of Academic Success:

  • commitment—the extent to which students care about the work and maintain consistency in their attempt to succeed
  • content—the information or processes students must know to complete a task or succeed on an academic assignment in class or in school in general
  • competencies—those skills students need to complete the assignment or succeed at some task
  • capacities—the quantifiable aspects of performance; students can have great skills but lack the capacity to fully employ them.

School Smarts describes each one of these qualities in detail, offering an array of examples and practical suggestions to help you develop these habits of mind in your own students. These strategies will work across all subject areas with all kinds of students—whether they're attempting to go from Fs to Cs or Cs to A/Bs. But Jim doesn't stop there. In the final chapter, he takes the Four Cs one step further, demonstrating how they can assist you in addressing the academic literacy needs of your students.

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Contents

1. Introduction-Understanding Academic Success
2. The Four Cs of Academic Success
3. Commitment
4. Content
5. Competencies
6. Capacity
7. A Practical Postscript—The Four Cs in Action
Appendixes
A. Works Cited
B. Executive Summary from Academic Literacy: A Statement of Competencies

Samples

Reviews

Expert teacher Jim Burke offers readers an important model for understanding student success. Through personal vignettes, letters from former students, and references to some of the best texts on teaching, Burke explores the skills and habits students need to develop to thrive in today's school systems.
Denise Clark Pope, Author of "Doing School": How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students.

How many people are there in public schools these days who, like Jim Burke, teach as well as Jaime Escalante and write as well as Andy Rooney? There are not enough of them, and parents like me often fight to get our kids into those teachers' classes. Burke's new book, School Smarts, gives us all a chance to step inside his classroom and soak up the insights of a master educator who will not only help our children, but teach even us a thing or two.
Jay Mathews, Education Columnist,The Washington Post

School Smarts provides a concrete, engaging, and inspiring guide for teachers and other educators committed to the hard work of facilitating the kinds of shifts in academic identity and competence that are necessary to create life-changing learning for their own students.
Ruth Schoenbach, Coauthor of Reading for Understanding: A Guide to Improving Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms

Jim Burke provides a framework for understanding what teachers can do to help transform the academic experience of learners who struggle with the rules and logic of the school game. Eminently useful, deeply moving, and chock full of innovative ideas, this book and Jim Burke are gifts to the profession.
Sam Intrator, Assistant Professor of Education and Child Study at Smith College, Author of Tuned In and Fired Up

Jim Burke is already known as a restless visionary in the field of English teaching, but in School Smarts he . . . cuts to the core of basic principles of teaching and learning. . . . At a time when standardization is being confused with excellence, Burke's new book is a bracing reminder of what it really means to think big.
Tom Newkirk, Professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, Author of Misreading Masculinity

Jim Burke's School Smarts explores what students need to do to be successful in school. It goes beyond platitudes and bootstrap advice offering practical suggestions (and a convincing rationale!) of what teachers can and should do to help non-traditional students thrive in an academic environment. Twenty years from now, I believe this is the book Jim will be most remembered for.

Carol Jago, Author of With Rigor for All

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