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The Genius in Children: Bringing out the best in your child Paperback – May 20, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rick Ackerly is a nationally recognized educator and speaker. With a master's in education from Harvard University, Rick has served as principal of four schools-Notre Dame de Sion in Kansas City, The Cathedral School in New York City, St. Paul's Episcopal School in Oakland, and Children's Day School in San Francisco-and has been a consultant to schools, school leaders and parents since 1999. Rick began his career in 1967 teaching high school and middle school mathematics and history, and has devoted the last 36 years to building thriving learning communities. Rick speaks to parent and school groups and presents at numerous education conferences around the country including the People of Color Conference, the California Association of Independent Schools, the Coalition of Essential Schools, the Symposium on Students with Learning Disabilities, Progressive Education Network, the National Association of Episcopal Schools, and the Pacific Rim Conference. He has been an active participant in the annual "Call to Action" conference sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools' Office on Diversity and Multicultural Education. His articles about education and diversity have appeared in The Independent School, Multicultural Education, Education Week, and the New York Times. This is his first book.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452827524
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452827520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,185,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
"Be obscure clearly." I can't stop thinking about E.B. White's quote.

The author found his genius in writing, and once he wrote, "I can't remember any time in my life when I wasn't busy writing."

But is genius so often spelled out like the words woven into Charlotte's Web? True magic reveals itself in mysterious ways, so why should genius be any less extraordinary?

When you allow yourself to see genius through the lens of Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, a whole new world comes to life. And it's not one that's dominated by tests and time limits.

It's a world of...play. Some of us like to play with words, some with numbers, others with music or art, and some with dance or tennis. We may not all be geniuses in the intellectual sense of the word ( and this type of genius needs to be nurtured just like any other type of genius), but we all have a spark - something unique within us - that is a gift waiting to be shared with others.

Some of us never discover that gift, but that shouldn't stop us from helping our children to find theirs. How can we do that, when the clues might not exactly be spelled out for us?

Well, according to Rick Ackerly, author of The Genius in Children: Bringing out the best in your child, we need to "treat children as if they know what they're doing." Instead of rushing in to teach, we should watch, listen, and follow their leads. See what they come up with on their own before we rush in to solve a problem for them. It makes a lot of sense to me. As a matter of fact, I wish more teachers would follow this philosophy as well.
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Format: Paperback
What I most appreciate about Rick Ackerly's perspective in The Genius in Children, is his clear understanding and respect for kids. He knows that THEY know an awful lot about who they are and what sparks their interest and imagination. Schools do their best for students when they provide each child with the inspiration and tools to construct a path toward their own unlimited future. Parents best serve their kids by doing the same. The Genius of Children is a powerful reminder and resource for adults who live and work with kids, that we must help them see their own light and make it shine brightly.
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Format: Paperback
The accounts and learnings in The Genius in Children are so deep and layered, you feel in your bones Rick Ackerly's forty years of teaching kids and parents how to grow their brilliance. This book, and Rick, have so much heart and wisdom, you'll not only read their words gratefully, you'll return to them again and again. This just might be the only book on parenting you'll ever need.
--Rebecca Lawton, author of Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capital Discoveries)
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Format: Paperback
Don't let the word "genius" in the title mislead you. Rick Ackerly's book, The Genius in Children, is not about children with "extraordinary intellectual power" - the definition you might find in the dictionary. He does not suggest that all children are geniuses. Instead, Rick returns to a lesser used definition of genius: "the tutelary spirit of a person, place or institution." He makes the case that each child has a genius, a spirit, spark, or as Rick call it, "a unique me that is becoming." By nurturing that genius, we can help children to "maximize their potential academically, socially, physically, and personally."

Reading Ackerly's book resembles a conversation with the author himself. The Genius in Children is full of engaging personal stories from Ackerly's forty-plus years as a teacher, principal, and parent of young children and young adults. Each of these stories illuminates the underlying values of the book which include personal responsibility and accountability, self-discipline, perseverance, and resilience. His primary message is that parents and teachers who display these characteristics and provide children with an environment that offers space for self-discovery will end up with adult children who are also responsible, disciplined, resilient, self-reliant, and who know their own genius.

Rick Ackerly is in the same camp as Wendy Mogul, author of Blessings of a Skinned Knee, and "Free Range Kids" blogger Lenore Skenazy in his belief that children need to be allowed to take risks, make mistakes, chart their own paths, and self-advocate without the constant intervention of well-meaning but meddlesome adults. In addition, he provides clarity on how parents and teachers can divide and conquer rather than duplicate the roles they play in kids lives.
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I've already recommended The Genius in Children to every young parent I know. As the mother of four grown children, I found myself saying "so true" with every chapter. As a professional in the leadership/bullying prevention field, I found myself saying, "Every adult who takes care of kids in some capacity -- principal, parent, teacher, aunt, uncle, coach, school psychologist, mentor -- should read this book." It's wonderful insights will make your job more fulfilling, hopeful and successful and will help children blossom under your care.
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