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One Size Does Not Fit All: A Student's Assessment of School Paperback – September 5, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Goyal paints a fairly clear picture as to what his ideal educational experience looks like."
-- Forbes

"What a wonderful book! I nominate Nikhil Goyal for the U.S. Secretary of Education!"
-- Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education

"Nikhil Goyal is a leader among young people who are changing the world of education. Once you read this book, you will never view education the same way. Goyal represents the future -- which looks nothing like the past."
-- Michael Ellsberg, bestselling author of The Education of Millionaires

"Nowadays, nearly every educator-pundit, Wall Street tycoon, and Hollywood mogul has his or her recipe for education in the 21st century. It's high time to learn the views and recommendations of a thoughtful young person. And what high school student Nikhil Goyal has to say, on the basis of his research, interviews, and reflections, is well worth pondering."
-- Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

About the Author

Nikhil Goyal is an activist and author. He lives in New York.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Alternative Education Resource Organization (September 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974525219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974525211
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was pointed to "One Size Does Not Fit All" by a talented and entrepreneurial high school student who shares Nikhil Goyal's views that education as it works today is not effective, either in deep learning now or in creating lifelong learners in the long run. Given that nearly every bit of conversation about education is adult-to-adult, it is refreshing to finally hear the views of students who have thought deeply about what they need from education.

Overall, I can's say I learned a huge amount from the book, but that is mostly a function of Goyal and I sharing a similar reading list. He is an extremely well-read young man - which I would of course say given the overlap of our interests :) - and interviewed many of these people for the book. For the kind of education reform that he describes in this book, there are a set of people who are truly worth listening to and/or talking with, and even if this book were just to introduce you to them, it would be worth reading.

However, what really makes this book is Goyal's inside perspective as a current high school student. Living through the tests, the teachers, the SATs and the standardized testing, and taking the AP classes, and then sharing his experiences with us makes this book a lens to examine what our kids are going through. And given that this is the experience of a very sharp young man in a high performing high school should give us pause when it comes to considering the experience of kids who are not in that kind of advantaged situation. In this way, he speaks not only to we adults who want to again look at education from our "customer's" point of view (and make no mistake these kids are our customers), but to students of all ages who might want to know that there are others out there who feel as they do.
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Format: Paperback
Nikhil Goyal wants to scrap the entire educational system as we know it and rebuild it from scratch. Enough with boring old textbooks taught in stuffy old classrooms by windy old teachers. The world should constitute the classroom and students should be free to learn without constraints in their own way and time. Information is readily available online, so there's no need to carry around 10 pound textbooks. Teachers are not the ultimate experts in their fields, and with electronic communication readily available, students have direct access to the experts. Teachers should step aside into a guiding/facilitating role. "Innovative disruption" can turn the practice of education on its head.

Ah, to be seventeen and know more than your elders! I remember those days. I too wanted to change everything in the world that those near-sighted, misguided or just plain stupid adults had screwed up. It's funny though how much smarter my elders got once I graduated and began facing the real world. And, remarkably, the older I get - and the deeper into the real world - the smarter they continue to get.

I suppose I should back up a bit. It's not exactly that I think Goyal is wrong. I am a 42-year-old mother of two young daughters and I'm quite progressive for an old woman. My older daughter is just starting out in a progressive school (her sister will join her in two years) that practices much of what Goyal preaches. The school utilizes very hands-on, project-based, student-centered, collaborative learning methods. Play and exploration are heavily emphasized. The students themselves have a powerful voice in even basic matters of curriculum, and they are encouraged to use that voice to develop a healthy, vibrant, democratic community of learners.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book could have used a more attentive editor. There are a few instances of the wrong (but similar sounding) word being used, and when encountering one, it would be tempting for someone so inclined to write off the book. That would be a mistake.

Nikhil tackles his subject with equal parts passion and research. When he calls BS on standardized testing, pay for performance, NCLB/RttT, and other modern "education" practices, he not only tells you how much they stink, but why.

I hope Nikhil hasn't "gotten it out of his system," and that this book represents only the beginning of him helping us find our way to a sane and effective approach to education.
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As a high school English teacher, I found this book fascinating. It's not perfect, there are some errors, but despite the warts, I really appreciate the efforts that went into this book; not many high schoolers can say that they were so interested in an important issue that they wrote a book about it. It inspires my students, it's a great start, and it's an inspiration to both my students and me. I'm very happy to have made this purchase!
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I applaud young Mr. Goyal's efforts on this important topic. He brings the most valuable perspective to the issue of public education, that of the learner. It is the learners who are the actual consumers of the lessons, curriculum, and standards we hear so much about. I find it very interesting that businesses spend millions of dollars in marketing research on young adults to assure market share of their products while researchers, administrators, educators assume they know what is best for this same population. This book is an exemplar of what project-based learning could do for learners.
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