Book Review: Creating the Opportunity to Learn … by Boykin and Noguera

Jose Vilson Education, Jose

Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap by A. Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera

A. Wade Boykin and Pedro Noguera are amongst the most respected education professors in the nation, but with their book Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap, they seek to turn the extensive research review they’ve done in their careers and turn it into practical solutions for educators. Unlike other research-dense books, they understand the pressing need for people to make sense of what’s happening in controlled environments expressed in papers and the day-to-day experiences that K-12 teachers see happening in front of them. They begin with a framework for understanding the basis for why they write such a book, confronting the intersecting education and race theories present in the zeitgeist of current pedagogy. From there, they take on a variety of topics such as differences in how children of different backgrounds learn best, and the relationship between teacher perceptions of students and the effects they have on students.

To a teacher, some of these strategies seem obvious, but they don’t settle for the seemingly understood or ostensible. They dig deeper into the psychology of these strategies and why they’re so important. Unlike some research reviewers who settle for just aggregating their colleagues’ work, Boykin and Noguera hope to make a meaningful discourse in which all can participate. Unlike some researchers who only speak in professorial language when bringing up suggestions about their work, this duo prefers to clearly define and explicate these rather complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. The one piece that some educators might have asked for from Boykin and Noguera is the how, meaning how the ideas they proffer look like for the average teacher on a day-to-day basis. While there are some specific examples of these models in the book, the day-to-day narratives of how these practices look like daily would be useful if not necessary.

But that isn’t the express purpose of this book. As education researchers well versed in speaking to communities, Boykin and Noguera’s Creating The Opportunity To Learn … makes for a pleasant and informative read that accurately builds the bridge between the research to educators. They rightly left the how up to educators willing to take up the challenge.

Mr. Vilson, who helps build bridges …