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Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education Hardcover – February 22, 2011
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From the Inside Flap
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
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A collection of short, poignant stories about lessons learned from great teachers and their own teaching experiences. Read morePublished on September 22, 2011 by Emily J. Morris
This book consists of 50 stories of people who have had their lives changed by positive input from teachers when they were in school. Read morePublished on July 17, 2011 by LindaT
Most of us can identify a moment or time when we felt the power of learning or an influential person who encouraged our curiosity or creativity. Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by Julie
The subject of education will always have personal meaning to me as my wife (former teacher now high school assistant principal), mother (former teacher now elementary school... Read morePublished on April 2, 2011 by DACHokie
Faces of Learning are stories of fifty people and their learning experiences. The Rethink Learning Now is a national grassroots effort of nearly forty education and civil rights... Read morePublished on March 31, 2011 by Ginny Mapes
This book is close to my heart. I'm a teacher. I didn't want to teach until I worked as an assistant in a special education classroom and later spent one hour in a school-aged... Read morePublished on March 17, 2011 by TLM
I have always preferred stories of everyday people to those of celebrities or historical figures. For that reason, Studs Terkel was an early favorite author of mine. Read morePublished on February 6, 2011 by N. B. Kennedy
I wasn't really expecting a lot from this book. I have come to regard educators as usually too predictable regarding politics and culture. Read morePublished on January 28, 2011 by Brad Teare