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Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education Hardcover – February 22, 2011

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Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education + The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World + Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; First edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470910143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470910146
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Everyone has a personal learning story–a time when they were challenged beyond their usual limits, when they actively engaged in the search for meaning, or when they first discovered the power and uniqueness of their own voices.

In Faces of Learning, fifty individuals–from well-known public figures to ordinary Americans–share inspirational stories about transformational teachers, powerful learning environments, and pivotal moments of self-discovery. Taken together, these authors' stories uncover a common understanding of what it feels like and what it requires to discover one's purpose, passion, and capacity for greatness. Edited by Sam Chaltain, this important book is designed to engage us all in a thoughtful consideration of what powerful learning, highly effective teaching, and equitable school systems must look like – and what they can provide for children as a result.

Faces of Learning is divided into five sections–challenging, engaging, supportive, relevant, and experiential–each of which illuminates a core condition of the optimal learning environment. From social workers to students to the Secretary of Education himself, the individuals whose stories are gathered here help add to the collective wisdom, and help us get closer to answering the only question that really matters: "How can we best support educators in their work to create schools that are more challenging, engaging, supportive, relevant, and experiential?"

To learn more, to get involved, and to share your own story, visit www.facesoflearning.net.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Faces of Learning

"Great learning experiences can't be confined to a textbook or a curriculum; they won't be found in the pages of a standardized test. The men and women profiled in Faces of Learning get that. Their personal stories will move and inspire you to cultivate richer learning experiences not just for the kids in your life but also for yourself."
Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"Faces of Learning is a treasure trove of recollections to remind us that education is most powerful and transformative when it occurs within a supportive relationship and taps into the intrinsically human desire to know and understand. A must read for those who've grown tired of the nation's fixation with measuring achievement and who seek to be inspired by others who appreciate that learning can be about so much more."
Pedro Noguera, author of The Trouble with Black Boys

"The 50 stories here confirm that educational achievement is always intensely personal. As the national debate on education gathers momentum, Faces of Learning is an elegant reminder that nothing counts more in raising the bar than creative, inspirational teaching. It should be read and acted on by anyone with a serious interest in what really makes the difference in education."
Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element

"A great education is not about standardized tests and numbers; it's about helping children learn to use their minds well. The stories in Faces of Learning remind us of that central truth, and of the difference that teachers make, and how their influence extends far beyond simple scores to shape people's lives."
Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System

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Customer Reviews

This was the perfect prelude to the amazing stories that you will want to share with not only kids, but other adults.
Pamela Jarmon-Wade
At a time when American education is being trashed, and a lot of things are genuinely awry, these stories show that there is still a lot of good going in school.
Here's a basic recommendation for publishers: the content of a nonfiction book should match both the title and subtitle.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. F. Smith VINE VOICE on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I liked reading this book. It's a collection of fifty very short narratives from a variety of people who describe a high-impact incident in their educations. In general, these center on the essential idea of the book: Effective education is challenging, engaging, supportive, relevant, and experiential. And for these fifty people, for at least one magical moment in their lives, it really was one or more of those things.

I'm a retired educator (twenty-six years teaching high school English and another nine years as a district-level curriculum and assessment specialist), so I like reading about people who had magical moments in their school experiences, moments when something ineffable happened, when things just fit together. I had similar moments in my own education, and I can honestly say that I facilitated some of those moments for my students, too.

However, once the warm fuzzies faded a little, I realized that something is missing here. In fact, a number of "somethings" are missing.

First, it may well be the case that your real, lasting education is what you have left when you've forgotten all of the specific things you learned in school. That's actually the case for the fifty people in the book who tell us their stories. However, those specific things actually were taught and learned. Those things are, in effect, the bricks that make up the good-looking, long-lasting walls that our fifty people have. It's not enough for a teacher to have a good heart, to be dedicated to his or her students, to go the extra mile to reach out to a forgotten or misunderstood kid. It may be necessary to do those things, but it's not sufficient. A good teacher also has to be the master of a curriculum, and he or she has to teach it well.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The content of the book does not match the subtitle. The book is neither powerful and the majority of the stories are not "defining moments". Here's a basic recommendation for publishers: the content of a nonfiction book should match both the title and subtitle. Deceit by false titles and subtitles tricks the customer and it's an unethical sales and marketing tactic.

This book was poorly shaped; it is all over the place. It is comprised of short pieces from different people. The submissions were uneven. The submitters seemed to be answering some vague questions about what an ideal school would be like if education reform were to happen. The book seems unprofessional to me, it is a project with poor execution. For example some ideas about education were so vague or pointless I didn't think they should have been included. Some writings needed paring down or clarification to explain the ideas more fully.

The main title mentions learning and the subtitle mentions education. I was hoping for interesting stories about people's own learning experiences, in or out of school. I knew these were short stories but thought at least I'd be pulled into the book, entertained and inspired, but, the book is boring and the more I read, the more frustrated I got.

The stories were written by the contributors themselves and their individual voices can be detected, there is a colloquial feel, and it hasn't been over-edited to make every person's story sound generic, which is good. However a major issue for me was the writing by the 50 contributors often seems thrown together casually such as if each contributor threw a quick email together and whatever it said was published (without much editing or shaping for word count or content).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erol Esen VINE VOICE on April 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are many educators and learners in this book who share their experiences in the process of educating and learning. For the large part, they are the lesser known but real heroes of the future. They point to their own `Aha' moments when a synaptic light bulb brilliantly shines over large swaths of their brain, shaping who they have become and how they are shaping young minds. They all have a common goal in teaching and learning: not in the form of indoctrination but in becoming independent thinkers--true agents of democracy.

I am fascinated by these educators' perspectives on the "ideal school". They are as varied as the people interviewed for this book.

In no particular order, safety is a top priority in an ideal school; this is especially voiced by the educators from Brooklyn, New York. Individuality and uniqueness are honored in such a school, while giving equal opportunity to everyone to learn, to explore, to create, to share knowledge. Group brainstorming is encouraged to solve problems. Comfortable physical and emotional environment is provided to learn in peace. Self-esteem is allowed to soar in celebrations of achievement. Needs are assessed and addressed, and strengths are recognized in responsbilities given and taken, and measured in accountability. Physical ambiance is adorned with "objects of interest and beauty all around", as Emily Gasoi observes. Learning through play reminds me of Plato's dictum: "Do not...keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play." Play is exciting, and gravitates people towards it when learners wake up in the morning.Given the time and room to grow, application of skills refuel the learning cycle into greater achievements. Every learner is a caring and respectful leader.
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