TNTP Publishes Essays on Risk and Rigor in the Classroom by Four Award-Winning Teachers

One-of-a-Kind Resource Includes Essays from Winners of TNTP’s $25,000 Fishman Prize

BROOKLYN, NY – TNTP, a nonprofit organization working to ensure that all students get excellent teachers, today released the latest in its one-of-a-kind series of essays on effective teaching written by and for practicing teachers.

Titled Going Deep: Empowering Students to Take Risks, Make Mistakes and Master Difficult Material, the new paper was written by some of the nation’s best teachers—this year’s winners of TNTP’s $25,000 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.

Going Deep focuses on a common challenge many teachers face: How can teachers encourage students to take the intellectual risks necessary to master rigorous academic content? At a time when teachers nationwide are striving to achieve the increased instructional rigor required under new Common Core standards, it’s a crucial topic.

This is not just another teacher guidebook. In the essays, practicing teachers share their expertise in their own voices, writing vividly about their own students and classrooms. Collectively, they offer a range of strategies that are helping students succeed in some of the nation’s most challenging school settings, including:

  • Javier Velazquez, a 6th grade math teacher in Chicago, Ill., walks readers through the in-depth questioning method that he uses to help students experience the joy and challenge inherent in the problem-solving process.
  • Jennifer Corroy, an 11th-12th grade English teacher in Donna, Texas, describes how she uses children’s books and college-level literary theory to introduce her high school students to sophisticated analysis.
  • Josalyn Tresvant, a K-5th grade special education teacher in Memphis, Tenn., illustrates how she meticulously guides her special education students through a process of reflection and goal-tracking, which helps them take ownership of the behaviors and academic objectives that will steer them toward their college goals.
  • Keith Robinson, a 9th grade Algebra teacher and co-founder of People’s Prep Academy in Newark, N.J., writes about forging a classroom culture that values hard work over natural ability—by putting an international soccer star at its center.

“Even excellent teachers often struggle to help students master challenging concepts,” said TNTP President Timothy Daly. “Yet it’s rare to hear them describe that process in their own words. These essays give us a glimpse into the classrooms of four incredible teachers who faced those same struggles and found ingenious ways to overcome them. It’s a chance to see into the process of the very best teachers we have.”

The paper is the second in an annual series from TNTP, written each year by a new cohort of Fishman Prize winners on a topic related to best classroom practices. The application period for the 2014 Fishman Prize will open in mid-November.

To download the full paper or request a print copy, visit

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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