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Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education [Paperback]

by David Perkins
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 28, 2010 0470633719 978-0470633717 1
New in Paperback! Make learning more meaningful by teaching the "whole game"

David Perkins, a noted authority on teaching and learning and co-director of Harvard's Project Zero, introduces a practical and research-based framework for teaching. He describes how teaching any subject at any level can be made more effective if students are introduced to the "whole game," rather than isolated pieces of a discipline. Perkins explains how learning academic subjects should be approached like learning baseball or any game, and he demonstrates this with seven principles for making learning whole: from making the game worth playing (emphasizing the importance of motivation to sustained learning), to working on the hard parts (the importance of thoughtful practice), to learning how to learn (developing self-managed learners).

  • Vividly explains how to organize learning in ways that allow people to do important things with what they know
  • Offers guidelines for transforming education to prepare our youth for success in a rapidly changing world
  • Filled with real-world, illustrative examples of the seven principles

At the end of each chapter, Perkins includes "Wonders of Learning," a summary of the key ideas.

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Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education + Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners + Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions
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Editorial Reviews


“Beginning teacher education students (and their teachers!) should be excited to encounter this commonsensical, eminently readable account of how they might teach, and the reasons for doing it that way.
—R.R. Sherman, emeritus, University of Florida Highly Recommended --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Making Learning Whole

"One summer I participated in Little League baseball . . . Baseball for me was a triumph of mediocrity. I wasn't especially good at it but I wasn't awful either . . . In the years since those days I've come to an odd conclusion about those early learning experiences: The results were only so-so but the process was pretty good . . . It was pretty good because from the beginning I built up a feel for the whole game. I knew what hitting the ball or missing the ball got you. I knew about scoring runs and keeping score. I knew what I had to do to do well, even though I only pulled it off part of the time. I saw how it fit together."
—from the IntroductionIn Making Learning Whole, David Perkins—a noted authority on teaching and learning and senior co-director of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education—introduces a new, practical, and research-based framework for teaching. Using learning the game of baseball as a metaphor, Perkins illustrates how teaching any subject at any grade level can be made more effective if students are introduced to the "whole game," rather than isolated pieces of a discipline.

Filled with real-world examples, Making Learning Whole describes how learning can be organized for deep and lasting impact by using these seven principles:

  • Play the Whole Game

  • Make the Game Worth Playing

  • Work on the Hard Parts

  • Play Out of Town

  • Uncover the Hidden Game

  • Learn from the Team

  • Learn the Game of Learning

At the end of each chapter, Perkins includes "Wonders of Learning," a summary of the key ideas and "I wonder . . ." questions, which can be answered in real contexts of teaching and learning. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470633719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470633717
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond 5--SPECTACULAR--Integrative & Inspiring August 17, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bumped this book to the front of the line after reading the galley of Reflexive Practice: Professional Thinking for a Turbulent World which in turn bumped The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education that I had half-finished. The three together make for a stellar collection, with Reflexive Practice also being a 6+ and World is Open very possibly being 6+ as well. Only 98 out of my 1639 reviews have been 6+, so these are in the top 7% of everything I have reviewed. These are "world-changing" books.

Reading this book has been a real treat for me. The combination of white space and modestly-sized font has allowed a great deal of knowledge to be easily presented. I immediately noticed and especially appreciated the manner in which the author has woven the work (book titles) of hundreds of others into his own work. Early on he identifies five contributing literatures:

1) Thinking and learning dispositions
2) Teaching for understanding
3) Organizational learning and development
4) Causality and understanding science
5) Widescale online teacher development

I cannot help but place this author in the same league as Will Durant (e.g. Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition) as well as E. O. Wilson (e.g. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Play Games - Even Jr. Versions November 10, 2010
I think I can keep my review concise: have students engage in realistic activities that allow them to engage in the process of learning - in truly meaningful ways. Make learning thorough in that students see relevance in what they are learning and are able to construct meanings while developing both critical overarching knowledge and tackling the harder bits. Perkins, once again, has provided a very insightful view on how we should be respecting and helping shape the minds of our students.

If you are an educator, and have a passion for teaching (I hope that if you are you do) you should appreciate this easy to read book that will transform how you think and how you instruct. And - if you have lost your passion, this book may indeed bring it back. Although the book, and in general Perkins writings, are very easy to read, it is because he composes thought with a majestic style through the use of metaphor and cases (examples) that keep you in the game - in the game of reading. He simply introduces/addresses profound ideas with very digestible and thought provoking strokes of his pen.

Previous reviews have laid down quite a bit of detail - so I will simply add - what a great gift for education - don't hesitate.

His other books are as equally brilliant: Smart Schools
King Arthur's Round Table : How Collaborative Conversations Create Smart Organizations
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Transform Education October 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every teacher, school, district, and government searches for the best way to educate the children in their care. If there were one magic way to accomplish this daunting task, we would have implemented it long ago. David Perkins' wonderful Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education addresses the problem of how the whole picture of education, from Kindergarten through University, fits together: how it interacts, connects, and becomes meaningful.
Perkins begins with the basic premise that most formal education in our world approaches ideas, concepts, subjects, and disciplines in a piecemeal approach instead of looking at the big picture. We are subject, in school, to what he calls "elementitis" and "aboutitis," or breaking down learning into discrete, unconnected bits that frequently - usually - never do get connected. It's a fractured curriculum, with a narrow focus on standards which are frequently based on disjointed accumulations of facts. We teach what's relevant to what's going to be tested. Perkins says we go through our years of schooling in this lurching, broken way, "with the whole game nowhere in sight."
So what to do about it? Perkins, along with Howard Gardner, is a co-director of Harvard Graduate School's Project Zero, which aims to investigate education and learning in a holistic way. Project Zero has supported the concept of Teaching for Understanding. Its researchers are in the forefront of studying what education can look like for the 21st century. Perkins proposes that we look at education with an eye for bigger goals than just accumulating disconnected pieces of knowledge, without discounting the need for skills and foundational knowledge.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Education as Baseball Game August 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It would be redundant for me to detail how David N. Perkins cleverly uses baseball as a metaphor for education -- other reviews here have already done so at great length. I'll focus more on the theory-to-practice ratio and state that this book is decidedly one of theory, as you might expect of a Harvard professor. Not that this is a slight. Books of theory and books of practical teaching strategies and activities each have their place. This book, then, provides a good research base for many of the practical ideas floating out there by people like Rick Wormeli and Jeff Wilhelm and Kelly Gallagher.

Given its theoretical blood, the book can thank its author for at least having a conversational tone. Perkins is an engaging "speaker" and, based on the book, one would predict his classes would be entertaining and erudite at once (not a bad combo!). At times he can drift a bit too much into abstractions, but overall, the book reinforces the importance of giving students "junior versions" of "whole games," that is, start-to-finish assignments that replicate authentic practices seen in the real world. Students will buy in if the work is worthwhile, shown to be relevant to THEM, and challenging. They actually WANT to work under those circumstances. And yet so many teachers continue to play the school games their OWN teachers played twenty and thirty years ago. Bits and pieces. Work and assignments you would only find in a school. That sort of thing.

If you haven't read a lot of modern educational theory, this is a great way to be introduced to many of the trends. And if you have, it will be a great way to see the foundational bases (another baseball metaphor for you) of all of your beliefs going forward.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What public education should be
By following David Perkins's prescription for education we could teach children to think more deeply and gain a greater appreciation for the learning of many concepts presented in... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jim Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written
I expected a stilted academic read, but instead found this book to be written with passion. It is academic literature. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Barbara Madden
5.0 out of 5 stars The most powerful ideas for education, clearly explained
If someone posed the question to me of "If you could take just one book with you to a desert island, an island where you'd open up a school," then I'd choose this book, without... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Moscow Writers Group
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for teachers
I think the push toward "teaching the test" has really left actual learning behind. This book is a must-read for all teachers -- especially those who want to really teach... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Rebecca Burch
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I couldn't put this book down. It is so insightful as to why kids don't make connections and why certain common classroom lessons don't work. Read more
Published on April 29, 2010 by R. Callahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book for people not tied to established education
I loved this book! It explains why I hated school and yet have had a lifelong love of learning. I resonated with every page as it explains my own frustration with why public... Read more
Published on February 16, 2009 by C. Caton
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