Learn practical techniques to improve your teaching

"If I were to select a single tool to put in the hands of all teachers to assist them in raising student achievement, it would be this most recent edition of The Skillful Teacher…This book should be required reading for every undergraduate student preparing to enter the profession. It should be in the hands of every school principal who hopes to have a positive impact on teaching. It should be the encyclopedia available to every collaborative team of teachers, a powerful resource they can turn to when members have taught a unit the very best way they know how, yet students continue to struggle. The Skillful Teacher makes an enormous contribution to the profession, and any organization committed to improving teaching should make it available to its members."

– Richard Dufour, Educational Author and Consultant

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Book Overview

Designed as a comprehensive resource and reference tool for both novice and experienced educators, The Skillful Teacher contains a unique synthesis of the vast knowledge base of generic pedagogy that is foundational for excellence in teaching and learning.

Combining theory with practice, the authors identify 18 critical areas of classroom performance that include classroom management, instructional delivery, student motivation and engagement, and lesson and curriculum design and assessment. Each is accompanied by concrete, practical guidelines and examples of tools and strategies to skillfully address each of the 18 areas.

Now in its 7th edition, this text has been used extensively in school districts, colleges and universities across the U.S. and around the world by teachers who are invested in continuously improving their practice, as well as those who support teacher learning, growth and development. It is the ‘go to’ reference for principals, mentors, instructional coaches, and anyone who is engaged in observing and analyzing teaching to support teacher learning, and improve educational outcomes!

Book Videos

Criteria for Success: Katie Nichols

Detailed steps for including students in creating crystal clear criteria for success and then having them use those criteria for self-assessment.

Modeling Thinking Aloud: Elementary

The complete set of steps necessary for making “Modeling Thinking Aloud” a powerful explanatory device and vehicle for teaching thinking skills.

Differentiation/Framing Re-teaching: Zach Hermann

Zach Hermann shows how skillful framing and key use of language makes re-teaching a risk-free opportunity rather than a confirmation of lack of intelligence.

What Readers Are Saying

Increasing my awareness of cultural proficiency and using that awareness to sharpen my teaching practice has created a positive change in the academic achievement of my students. From my high-end learners to my special education students, I am beginning to see them perform at levels I did not expect with far less work on my end.

Kim Cowperthwaite

Grade 6 English Language Arts & Social Studies Teacher, Maine

Timely, relevant, packed with powerful tools and wisdom!! A must-have book for any teacher administrator seeking to improve student learning.

Dr. Katherine K. Merseth

Director, Teacher Education Program, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education

The Skillful Teacher wasn’t just about how to teach. It gave us a common way of thinking and talking about teaching and learning and experiencing it together.

Jerry Weast

Former Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools

Meet the Authors

Jon Saphier


Jon Saphier founded Research for Better Teaching, Inc. (RBT) in 1979, after 10 years as a teacher, instructional coach and administrator. RBT is an educational consulting organization dedicated to improving classroom teaching and school leadership throughout the United States and internationally. He has led large-scale district improvement projects, forging working alliances among superintendents, teacher union leaders and school boards in school districts such as Montgomery County, Md.; Eugene, Ore., and Brockton, Revere and Attleboro in Massachusetts. He is an annual guest instructor for The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Achievement Gap Institute and is a well-known keynote speaker on high-expertise teaching, school leadership and related education topics. Dr. Saphier is an author of eight books on education, including The Skillful Teacher, now in its 7th edition. Other publications include High Expectations Teaching, How to Bring Vision to School Improvement and John Adams’ Promise.

Mary Ann Haley-Speca


Mary Ann Haley-Speca is a founding consultant and former director of training for Research for Better Teaching, Inc. (RBT). During her tenure with RBT, Ms. Haley-Speca has worked with teachers and administrators in urban, suburban and rural public school districts and private institutions throughout the world, focusing on the study of instruction, school and organizational culture, coaching, supervision and evaluation practices; and professional development planning. She is the co-author of two other popular RBT publications: Activators and Summarizers. She has served as a classroom teacher, staff developer and program supervisor in the Hudson and Concord, Mass. public schools. She is currently working as a full-time consultant with RBT on long-term projects in several urban and suburban school districts throughout the United States.

Robert Gower


Robert Gower is retired as Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) where he helped develop the doctoral program in Leadership in Schooling and was on the Advisory Board of the Graduate School of Education. He still teaches The Skillful Teacher online course at UML. Bob’s distinguished career includes being an elementary teacher, a principal, a researcher, a pioneer in the study of teaching and a standout instructor and mentor for generations of graduate students. In 2007, he received the Faculty Excellence & Service Award and was recognized as a 2007 Honors Fellow by the University of Massachusetts.

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