Moody. Reckless. Impractical. Insecure. Distracted. These are all words commonly used to describe adolescents. But what if we recast these traits in a positive light? Teens possess insight, passion, idealism, sensitivity, and creativity in abundance -- all qualities that can make a significant positive contribution to society.
In this thought-provoking book, Thomas Armstrong looks at the power and promise of the teenage brain from an empathetic, strength-based perspective—and describes what middle and high school educators can do to make the most of their students potential.More info →
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 →
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 →
"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 →