You know… I never read many books about homeschooling. I feel many of them don’t apply to us. Or they are too technical or cumbersome to read and apply. But Teach by Dennis DiNoia was different.
I’ve read several over the years and while I finished some, others are still waiting with the bookmark halfway to be finished at some point.
However, this book was a jewel wrapped in a small package. Such an easy read and so full of insight into how to become an independently responsible learner and how to support your kids to become independently responsible learners.
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Mr. D – Dennis DiNoia
Dennis DiNoia has an impressive teaching experience of more than 30 years. He is a certified math teacher and the creator of the popular Mr. D Math program, a program that follows his teaching philosophy closely.
For many years, first, as a teacher, then as a tutor and now as an online teacher, Dennis DiNoia successfully coached and helped thousands of students.
And now, he gathered all that knowledge in his book: TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners.
“TEACH shows you how to help your students become independently responsible learners. Once our students know how they can be independently responsible in how they learn, the whole world is available to them. Literally. They become self-directed. They become inspired. They discover what is most important to them!”— Dennis DiNoia, Author
TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners
I was pleasantly surprised to see Mr.D‘s entire teaching philosophy explained in such an accessible manner and I think this is a book that should be read by homeschooling parents and students alike.
Formats and pricing
TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners can be accessed in 3 formats on Amazon, from paperback to audio, making this book easily accessible worldwide.
This book is only 136 pages long, making it a quick and easy read, but it’s full of insight on how to develop the skills of independent learners and more.
*Price offer valid until June 15, 2022
**With a free 30-day trial on Audible, you could listen to this book for free.
Prices as of May, 2022- check links for updated pricing.
TEACH summary (no spoilers)
TEACH by Dennis DiNoia is a precious gem in a small package. It’s not a book like other homeschooling books. It won’t tell you the ins and outs of homeschooling. It’s a book shedding some light on Mr. D’s teaching philosophy (and a little extra) through the teaching experiences of an innovator.
Mr. DiNoia actually offers homeschooling parents (and teachers) the secret recipe to his success as a math teacher.
TEACH goes from the discovery of independently responsible learners, when Mr. DiNoia was in his first years of teaching, to explaining what the term means and offering advice and suggestions to becoming an independently responsible learner. There’s even a bonus chapter for goal-setting.
Every chapter builds upon the last but they all stand independently (treating separate aspects), teaching parents and students independence skills and changing our perspective on learning how we know it.
From a shift in mindset, to actual advice and examples, the entire book is focused on creating learners that think for themselves, make their own decisions and master what they learn. The purpose of this book is to create happy individuals, that know what they want and are masters of their knowledge and learning.
Through personal examples, anecdotes and rephrasing, Mr. DiNoia is making sure that the information presented is highly accessible and well-understood. Just as he does when teaching his math lessons, the steps to becoming an independently responsible learner are outlined and explained to teachers and learners alike.
The whole book is written in Mr. D’s voice and it has a conversational tone. It’s like discussing with Mr. D himself, and this aspect is an awesome part of the audiobook, which is recorded by the author himself.
I have to admit I’ve read the whole book in Mr.D’s jovial tone, smiling to myself at being taught by the same teacher that teaches my son math. Mr. D just emanates that positive vibe, either through his spoken or written words. His style is unmistakable.
The chapters (might have some spoilers)
TEACH has 10 chapters plus a bonus chapter on goal-setting.
I initially planned to just present the book summary and why I loved about it (and what I thought could be improved), but I actually took a lot of notes for every chapter… just look at all those notes and tabs!
So now I have to share an in-depth view with everyone. If you don’t want to see what’s inside, please skip this section because it might contain some spoilers.
If you’d like to see outlines of what’s in each chapter and my takeaway from each, please click on the collapsible items below.
Chapter 1 – An Accidental Discovery
The opening chapter of TEACH is telling us about how Mr. DiNoia -from his experience as a student and a teacher- got to his current teaching philosophy. He realized that the education system is missing one important piece of the puzzle: teaching kids to be independent and responsible learners.
The focus in this chapter is on the discovery of this need in education and Mr. DiNoia’s experiences with students of all backgrounds and kinds.
My takeaway: self-driven, or independent learning is a skill that can be taught.
Chapter 2 – The Independently Responsible Learner
Mr. DiNoia explains what an independently responsible learner is in this chapter. He goes from the premise that a traditional environment doesn’t form this type of learner: the self-directed learner that takes education in his own hands.
This chapter also covers briefly the teaching methodology behind Mr. D Math‘s videos and touches on the attention span and different types of learners.
My takeaway: an independently responsible learner is responsible, driven, and confident because they are in charge of their learning.
Chapter 3 – The Student Is The Teacher
This chapter presents an aspect of education we’re often forgetting: by demonstrating to someone what you’ve learned, you understand it better.
Mr. DiNoia is bringing arguments for letting children become teachers and he is offering inspiration for parents to implement this type of relationship in their home.
My takeaway: learners can become teachers and that enables them do dive deeper and access a deeper understanding of the subject. Challenges are excellent for discovery and exploration.
Chapter 4 – Checking Your Own Work
This chapter is the one shedding light on the method of self-checking implemented in the Mr. D Math program.
Mr. DiNoia emphasizes the benefit of making and discovering your own mistakes yourself in order to grow confident and to master whatever it is that you’re learning.
I love that this chapter in particular (and the whole book in general) promotes healthy-thinking about growth mindset and positivity.
My takeaway: we grow from mistakes, so let kids do them. Let them see their mistakes as well and fix them themselves. Only this way they’ll get the opportunity to grow.
Chapter 5 – Present Yourself
In this chapter we learn the importance of ownership of one’s work and communication. The author describes in detail how presenting yourself and our work can impact people around you and ultimately your learning and knowledge.
My takeaway: owning your work enables you to be present and communicate better about all aspects of it.
Chapter 6 – Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
Mr. DiNoia shares his strategies and insights on test-taking. His friendly tone, real-life examples and experience speak through directly to the student (and parents) providing them with ways to view and think about testing that will change their paradigm about it.
My takeaway: testing is all about your perception and thoughts about it. Your thoughts can influence your success.
Chapter 7 – Learning How To Think
Another wonderful chapter, focusing on an important aspect of raising happy adults. Thinking for yourself is a big deal and Mr. DiNoia shares his insight on how this is possible, by asking yourself the right questions to spark answers.
My takeaway: thinking is what makes us unique and every well-formulated question leads to new discoveries.
Chapter 8 – Do What You Love To Do
This is a chapter covering the meaning of success. It’s emphasizing on the importance of doing what you love and provides hints on how you can discover what you love.
It’s a great chapter to read for career-goals because Mr. DiNoia is giving a recipe to find out what you like doing.
A perfect chapter for middle or highschoolers that want to find out what they are good at and enjoy doing.
My takeaway: positivity and perseverance are important skills when choosing your path.
Chapter 9- Mastermind
I love how the author dives deeper, providing a solution for support and accountability in the form of groups of like-minded people. His solution and the implementation method he is providing were eye-opening.
My takeaway: surrounding yourself with like-minded people to keep you accountable will help motivate you and support you, no matter the size of your plans for the future.
Chapter 10 – The Parent Is The Coach
This chapter starts with comparing parents to coaches and learners to players in the field. It’s been another eye-opening chapter that enforced the importance of independent learners and why parents should give space for their learners to grow.
My takeaway: to create independently responsible learners, you have to shift the way you interact with your learners, and transform your role as a teacher.
Bonus Chapter- Goal Setting
The last chapter is a bonus one, on Mr. DiNoia’s goal setting strategy. It even includes step by step instructions on how to create your own goal setting organizer.
My takeaway: the possibilities are endless and you’re your only limit. You are capable of great things. You just need to be open to them.
“Oftentimes when I say to share your goals, people are afraid, and they do not want to. The reasons why they do not want to do it, are the exact reasons why you should.”Dennis DiNoia, TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners, p. 134
What I loved about TEACH by Dennis DiNoia
I didn’t expect to enjoy reading TEACH: Creating Independently Responsible Learners as much as I did. My first reaction was “On, no! Another homeschooling book.” But TEACH by Dennis DiNoia is so much more!
It’s a lifetime of experience, an insight in the mind of a great teacher that managed to dissect the way kids learn and present it all in an easy to understand manner, for all parents and teachers.
The convivial tone, the many examples and reformulations, help make parts of this book accessible even to younger children and M had already read parts of it. M saw the cover and the author’s name and his face immediately lit up in recognition: “This is my math teacher!”
Aside that, it will offer ideas for teachers on how they can foster independent learners! Something I’ve been trying to do with M from the beginning. But Mr. DiNoia takes it all a step further, explaining why these methods work and giving examples and recipes for everyone to implement these.
Positivity, encouragement and ideas are peppered throughout this light-read book.
I warmly recommend homeschooling parents grab a copy of this book if they want to raise independent, confident, and responsible learners.
💔 The writing style is conversational, so at times it might sound like rambling, but it all makes sense if you read it as a conversation.
Taking the essential bits out, and leaving the rest, still leaves you with a considerable amount of useful information și a lot of ideas for you to start on your journey to a more positive, independent learning journey with your students. It really is a great book wrapped in a small package and I am saving my notes to review again and again.
Fr a quick look inside TEACH and overview of this article, please check my YouTube video below:
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