Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., an award-winning educator and expert on human development, offers a cross-cultural view of life's entire journey, from before birth to death to the possibilities of an afterlife. Dr. Armstrong cites both clinical research and anecdotal evidence in a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities we face at every stage of our development. His accessible narrative incorporates elements of history, literature, psychology, spirituality, and science in a fascinating guide to understanding our past as well as our future.More info →
Being smart is more than getting good grades or passing tests in school. It's more than reading well, solving math problems, memorizing facts, and having a high IQ. Psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner studied how kids and adults learn. He discovered many different ways people can be smart. You can be Music Smart, People Smart, Body Smart, Logic Smart, Word Smart, Self Smart, Picture Smart, Nature Smart, and Life Smart. Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences has changed how teachers teach in schools around the world. Now, kids can use the same approach to develop their own smarts!More info →
Educators, politicians, parents, and even students are consumed with speaking the language of academic achievement. Yet something is missing in the current focus on accountability, standardized testing, and adequate yearly progress. If schools continue to focus the conversation on rigor and accountability and ignore more human elements of education, many students may miss out on opportunities to discover the richness of individual exploration that schools can foster.
In The Best Schools, Armstrong urges educators to leave narrow definitions of learning behind and return to the great thinkers of the past 100 years—Montessori, Piaget, Freud, Steiner, Erikson, Dewey, Elkind, Gardner—and to the language of human development and the whole child.
The Best Schools highlights examples of educational programs that are honoring students’ differences, using developmentally appropriate practices, and promoting a humane approach to education that includes the following elements:
Educators in “the best schools” recognize the differences in the physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual worlds of students of different ages. This book will help educators reflect on how to help each student reach his or her true potential, how to inspire each child and adolescent to discover an inner passion to learn, and how to honor the unique journey of each individual through life.More info →
What does it mean to a kid to be labeled attention-deficit disordered (ADD)? Or to have "hyperactive" added to the label (ADHD)? What can teachers do to boost the success of students with attention and behavioral difficulties? Are we relying too much on medication for these kids and not enough on new perspectives on learning, child development, the child's socioeconomic and cultural background, biological and psychological research, and the learner's emotional and social needs?
In ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, Dr. Thomas Armstrong urges educators and parents to look for the positive characteristics in learners who may carry the ADD/ADHD label. Are they bursting with energy? Are they intensely creative? Do they enjoy hands-on learning? Are they natural leaders? Are they unusually introspective and reflective?
We need to look beyond a "deficit" approach and embrace a more holistic view of learners that includes teaching to their multiple intelligences, learning styles, and other brain-friendly approaches. For example, here are some classroom activities for kids who "can't sit still": Learning spelling words by having kids jump up out of their seats on the vowels and sit down on the consonants. Mastering the multiplication tables by forming a conga line, moving around the classroom counting from 1 to 30 out loud, and on every multiple of 3 shaking their hips and legs. Showing patterns of molecular bonding in chemistry class through a "swing your atom" square dance.
For information on ADD/ADHD for parents, see my book The Myth of the ADHD Child: 101 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion.More info →