During the last three decades, education reformers have pushed standardized testing and policies like No Child Left Behind and Common Core to improve test scores and proficiency in basic skills. However, during this period that author Thomas Armstrong calls the "miseducation of America," a number of troubling trends have surfaced, including a decrease in creative thinking scores among children in kindergarten through third grade.
Rather than focus on what's wrong with the education system that has produced these outcomes, Armstrong lays out what creative thinkers know about how children should be educated. In an extended thought experiment, he asks what would happen if we turned the reins of educational policy over, not to the politicians and educational bureaucrats, but to eminent thinkers and creators like Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jr., Rachel Carson, Doris Lessing, Jane Goodall, and other seminal culture-builders. What might they say about the best way to educate a child? If Einstein Ran the Schools suggests that the answers to this intriguing question should guide future efforts to reform our nation's schools.More info →
Reading instruction (as well as remedial reading) typically uses words, word, and more words. In this ground-breaking work, based upon Dr. Howard Gardner's famed theory of multiple intelligences, Dr. Thomas Armstrong reveals that some of the most effective learning strategies for teaching reading and writing are actually methods that reach beyond the linguistic (or word) brain and into other non-linguistic areas of the brain, such as the musical brain, the kinesthetic brain, the naturalist brain, the social brain, and the emotional brain.
Dr. Armstrong provides hundreds of examples to illustrate his method. So, for the musical brain, students learn the music of words by chanting stories. For the kinesthetic brain, kids create gestures to go with every one of the 45 phonetic sounds of the English language. For the social brain, students de-construct the implicit social messages of a text (e.g. is this text an advertisement, a political speech, an instructional tool, or a literary effort?). For the naturalist brain, students look for the ''roots'' of words by engaging in etymological excavation. For the emotional brain, students learn to read words that express emotion and activity (like SPLAT! POP! BOOM! CLINK! etc.).
As Dr. Armstrong demonstrates, the most effective reading programs are those that combine phonemic awareness with actively reading real books. But to learn those crucial phonics skills, students need to link phonetic sounds to music, physical experiences, social events, emotional states, logical analysis, and more! That way, the otherwise ''boring'' teaching will transform into dynamic and exciting lessons that students will always remember.
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"Every student is a genius," declares author Thomas Armstrong, and an educator's most important job is to discover and nurture the "genius qualities" that all students were born with but that may no longer be obvious. Urging readers to look beyond traditional understandings of what constitutes genius, Armstrong describes 12 such qualities: curiosity, playfulness, imagination, creativity, wonder, wisdom, inventiveness, vitality, sensitivity, flexibility, humor, and joy. He cites research in various fields that supports this broader understanding of genius and explains how influences in the home, the popular media, and the school itself "shut down" the genius in students.
Combining thoughtful insights and practical information, Armstrong offers guiding principles to help educators awaken genius in the classroom--beginning with awakening the genius in themselves. Readers will find dozens of suggested activities and helpful resources to provide "genius experiences" and create a "genial climate" in the classroom. In addition, suggestions for further study at the end of each section provide starting points for personal and professional reflection and growth.
As it celebrates the potential brainpower waiting to be unlocked in classrooms everywhere, Awakening Genius in the Classroom inspires educators to look at their students from a different perspective and to reinvigorate their teaching with a new sense of excitement and possibility. The result, Armstrong concludes, could extend far beyond the classroom and transform not only our schools, but the entire world.More info →