Practice Seven – Introduction


Practice #7

 Memory work, recitations, and/or writing occur daily. These enhance character development and effective communication skills while extending curricula. 

Contents include Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections: 

Implementation Basics

Ideas for Implementation

Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting

Life Principle



Hand Signs

Practice Connections

Practice Characteristics

Evidence of Practice




Music & Video Links

Learning Strategies

Mind Map

Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples 

Introduction to Practice #7

Memory work, recitations, and/or writing occur daily. These enhance character development and effective communication skills while extending curricula.

The WHY? of Practice #7!
Implementation supports a Culture of Respect and Academic Excellence :

  • The National Reading Panel 2000 report states that “quality literature helps students to build a sense of story and to develop vocabulary and comprehension.” Tutoring activities that focus on comprehension as their ultimate goal lead to increased student interest and motivation. Reading and writing have a reciprocal relationship - one is used to learn and enrich the other and vice versa. As a writer, the reader has a more intimate knowledge of the writing process, allowing a greater connection to another’s text. National Reading Panel
  • Researcher Donna Alvermann, an expert in adolescent literacy, studies learners’ self-efficacy and engagement. She urges all educators, despite their content area expertise, to encourage learners to read and write in many ways. She does so because she believes that writing raises the “cognitive bar,” challenging learners to problem solve and to think critically. Alvermann, D. (2002). “Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents, “Journal of Literacy Research, 34(2), 189-208 Effective Literacy Instruction for Adolescents 
  • Learner recitation of poetry can lend itself to providing training in a number of valuable oral communication skills: poise, posture, eye contact, and proper punctuation. Additionally, the learner has the opportunity to come to understand his poem fully. He can learn to be attentive to the messages, meanings, allusions, irony, tones of voice, and other nuances in his poem. National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, Poet0ry Out Loud @ Poetry Out Loud
  • Memorized information that is integrated with meaning builds confidence and self-esteem because it helps learners know what they know for sure and provides a database for new connections. Garner, B. K. (2007)
  • Writing fosters community in the classroom and because writing is a social act, it is a vehicle for learners to learn more about themselves and others. Using Writing to Deepen Learning in Mathematics by Vicki Urquhart,
  • Being able to address others by name and speak in complete sentences provides a foundation for good communication skills. Barrett, Julie, “Communicating in Style.” Practice Two -Educators and learners speak in complete sentences and address one another by name, demonstrating mutual respect and common courtesy.

For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices Practice #7 – pages 16-17 on Great Expectations website.


The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Daily use of the elements of Practice #7 will:

  • Help to establish rapport with and demonstrate respect for all members of the learning environment while building confidence and self-esteem through improved communication skills.
  • Develop a feeling of community and structure through the use of the Eight Expectations for Living and the Life Principles.
  • Build a sense of group accomplishment and cohesion through the use of team building, cooperative learning, and life-application projects.
  • Empower learners with positive and timely feedback about their efforts and successes.
  • Remove all negative labels and promote a sense of uniqueness in all learners.

Tell me and I forget. 
Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
 --Benjamin Franklin
(Printable Poster)


Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?

  • To help students internalize the characteristics of effective communication.
  • Build confidence and self-esteem through the use of memory work, recitation, and writing.
  • To personalize learning and increase the use of positive dialog and effort.
  • To address the uniqueness and multiple styles of all learners by encouraging them to make educational decision and to give input into their individual learning plan.
  • To create a threat-free environment that encourages individuals to ask questions and share ideas.
  • To facilitate positive, academic discussions by using open-ended questions that require thoughtful, creative responses.
  • To involve learners in real-life learning that reflects their investment and their successes.




Application to Employment Skills:

  • “Work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think - to reason, analyze, weight evidence, and problem-solve… “ Wagner, T. (2008), The Global Achievement Gap, New York: Basic Books, xxii-iii.
  • Practice #7 supports the Personal Values, Relations with Others, and Communication Skills listed under The 8 Keys to Employability:

Key #1: Personal Values
Valued Workers:

  • Are honest
  • Are motivated
  • Have personal and career goals
  • Have a positive self-image
  • Reach beyond personal limitations
  • Exhibit a good attitude
Key #3: Relations with Other People
Valued Workers:
  • Are team workers
  • Are friendly
  • Are cooperative
  • Are tactful
  • Have leadership qualities
  • Respect the rights and property of others
  • Accept authority and supervision
  • Respect constructive criticism
  • Respect diversity
Key #4: Communication Skills
Valued Workers:
  • Ask questions and listen well
  • Express themselves clearly
  • Seek help when needed
  • Communicate with supervisor and coworkers

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research

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