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ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

2016 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

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Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom

Mark Barnes

Table of Contents

Reviews  |  About the Author  |  Comments

About This Book

Named one of the best professional books of 2013 by Teacher Librarian

Want to make your students more responsible for their own learning? Want to create an academic environment in which students thrive and develop a genuine thirst for knowledge? Want to improve your students’ standardized test results but avoid a "teach-to-the-test" mentality that throttles creativity and freedom?

In this book, Mark Barnes introduces and outlines the Results Only Learning Environment—a place that embraces the final result of learning rather than the traditional methods for arriving at that result. A results-only classroom is rich with individual and cooperative learning activities that help students demonstrate mastery learning on their own terms, without being constrained by standards and pedagogy.

By embracing results-only learning, you will be able to transform your classroom into a bustling community of learners in which

  • Students collaborate daily on a number of long-term, ongoing projects. 
  • Students receive constant narrative feedback. 
  • Yearlong projects target learning outcomes more meaningfully than worksheets, homework, tests, and quizzes. 
  • Freedom and independence are valued over punitive points, percentages, and letter grades. 
  • Students manage themselves and all but eliminate the need for traditional classroom management.

Learn how your students can take charge of their own achievement in an enjoyable, project-based, workshop setting that challenges them with real-world learning scenarios—and helps them attain uncommonly excellent results.

See the book's table of contents and read excerpts.

Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom

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Book Details

Table of Contents

Study Guide

Related Resources

Product No: 


February 2013

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Reviews and Testimonials

"In an era of traditionalist, behaviorist, test-driven education reform, it is refreshing to read a vision for successful education based on how students naturally learn. Blending an approachable, humble tone with insightful, dynamic prose, Mark Barnes proposes a bold solution that includes intrinsic motivation, a love of learning, creativity, and meaningful technology integration. As a teacher and a blogger, I found myself nodding and smiling, feeling as though the author gave a voice to what so many teachers already believe: that meaningful learning begins with a student-centered approach. I highly recommend this for teachers, parents, administrators, and coaches interested in finding sustainable success in a meaningful way."

—John T. Spencer, 6th grade teacher, Phoenix, Ariz.

"Role Reversal is one teacher's courageous leap from a traditional classroom to a results-oriented environment. After years of reflective practice, Mark Barnes decided to fight every instinct he knew to achieve excellent results in his student-centered classroom. For radical change to take place in American education, we need to do exactly what Mark did: put students front and center."

—Lori S. Sandel, assistant principal for student life, Cleveland, Ohio

"Mark Barnes has written a wonderful description of ROLE-based education. Barnes's use of evidence and research to support his work really strengthens his case for some much-needed changes in education. Progressive educators interested in finding effective ways to change their practice should read this book."

—David Wees, learning specialist for math and technology,
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

"The incredible challenges in today's schools lead so many teachers to lose their motivation and inspiration, or to double-down on trying to force students to learn the way we learned decades ago. It's encouraging to read how Mark used his most frustrating year of teaching as a catalyst for the research and reflection that resulted in a radical overhaul of his whole approach to motivating his students. Reading this book has inspired me to think about what my next steps will be in transforming my own teaching."

—Jennifer Hartz, science teacher, South Euclid, Ohio

"For the teacher and school leader looking for a model of learning that truly captures Daniel Pink’s principles of intrinsic motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—Barnes’ book offers just such a model. Best of all, Barnes' results-only classroom offers the kind of classroom in which students achieve at higher levels."

—John Robinson, principal, Discovery High School at Newton-Conover, Newton, North Carolina

"This is required reading by every teacher librarian, because as you recognize a teacher like Mark in your building who is doing something different, pounce on that person to help out and partner in the experimentation!"

—David Loertscher, professor, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.

"If you want real change and students who are engaged in their learning, and you are willing to start with even just one or two of these ideas, you’ll find that Barnes backs up all he does with good reasons, and there’s no way your ideas will stay the same."

—Joy Kirr, Grade 7 LA and literature teacher, Chicago Metro Area, Illinois

About the Author

Barnes, MarkMARK BARNES is a 20-year classroom teacher and creator of the Results Only Learning Environment (ROLE), a progressive, student-centered classroom that eliminates all traditional teaching methods, including grades. While transforming his classroom into a ROLE, Barnes has also revolutionized K–12 web-based instruction by bringing private student websites into his classroom—an extension of school into cyberspace. Barnes has developed five online courses on digital strategies for educators, taught through two accredited colleges in Ohio. A popular speaker and presenter, Barnes is also a Discovery Education Network Star Educator, honored for his work in education technology.

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Other Books by Keyword


Other Resources by Keyword

authentic learning | group activities | project-based learning | student motivation | teaching methods


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