Season 3, Episode 13 of FocusED with John Almarode #FocusED

by | May 4, 2022 | 0 comments

6 min read

John Almarode Joins FocusED to Discuss How School Leaders and Classroom Teachers Can Focus on Clarity for Learning

This is Season 3, Episode 13 of FocusED, and it features our guest, John Almarode. It was originally recorded live for a studio audience in Delaware, provided as a professional development experience for Delaware teachers and leaders. Don’t miss what Dr. Almarode says about the importance of clarity for learning, evidence of learning, the science of teaching…and so much more. 


John Almarode Brings Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners

When John was 10-years-old, he walked down the hallways of Stuarts Draft Middle School to find his locker and classes on what he believed was a normal “back-to-school” night. However, the moment he walked through the door frame of Room 30, he met his sixth-grade science teacher, Ms. Cross. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to be a teacher – not just any teacher, but a teacher as influential as Ms. Cross. 

That moment in Room 30 where he met Ms. Cross still fuels his drive as a teacher. Yet, his single greatest accomplishment, if asked, is his family. If you have ever worked with John via Zoom, WebEx, Google Meets, or Teams, you have almost certainly met each member of his immediate family through their impromptu cameo appearances. 

John lives in Waynesboro, Virginia with his wife Danielle, a  fellow educator, their two children, Tessa and Jackson, and Labrador retrievers, Bella, Dukes, and Ollie. Oh, and Tessa and Jackson affectionately call Ms. Cross, Grandma Sally.

Outside of being a husband and father, John is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education at James Madison University and works with preservice teachers and graduate students across multiple teacher preparation programs.

John is a bestselling author (of 11 books) and has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world on the translation and application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments, and what works best in teaching and learning.

Today, we discuss John’s book, Clarity for Learning and what that means for teachers and students as well as school leaders who are looking for instructional excellence in the classroom. 


FocusED Show Notes with John Almarode 

Don’t miss what John says about clarity of learning for teachers but also students. 

What do we want our students to learn? 

How do we want them to learn? 

How will they know if we’ve learned? 

Relaying feedback to learners is important but it’s also important for learners to relay feedback to us. 

Having learning intentions and success criteria is one thing, but they can’t just be practices on the board. 

Teachers need to pay attention to the verbs in the standards: “compare and contrast” versus “explain” and other behaviors that we want students to communicate and display. 

Don’t miss the secret that John tells us about what separate teachers who have the highest degrees of learning and growth. 

The science learning has been around since 1885. Once you learn something, if you don’t practice retrieving it, you’ll forget it. Unfortunately, we don’t always use the science. 

Our work now: how do we support teachers with the science of learning to apply it in the context of the classroom so that we can learn more about the science of teaching. 

John talked about his other book, How Learning Works, as a place to go to support teachers now in terms of where we might start with the science of learning. 

It is very difficult to learn in an environment where you don’t feel like you belong. ~ John Almarode 

Listen to John describe what happens in a threatening environment; students will simply not care about what the teacher planned for them to learn. 

John ends the episode with a message about focusing on what really matters most versus what we don’t have any control over. 

John Almarode Quotes 

It is very difficult to learn in an environment where you don’t feel like you belong. ~ John Almarode 

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 


FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next.

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