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The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone's Business
Release Date: September, 2004
Publisher: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development
What is the purpose of education? What kind of people do we want our children to grow up to be? How can we design schools so that students will acquire the skills they'll need to live fulfilled and productive lives? These are just a few of the questions that renowned educator Dennis Littky explores in The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone's Business. The schools Littky has created and led over the past 35 years are models for reformers everywhere: small, public schools where the curriculum is rich and meaningful, expectations are high, student progress is measured against real-world standards, and families and communities are actively engaged in the educational process. This book is for both big "E" and small "e" educators: * For principals and district administrators who want to change the way schools are run. * For teachers who want students to learn passionately. * For college admissions officers who want diverse applicants with real-world learning experiences. * For business leaders who want a motivated and talented workforce. * For parents who want their children to be prepared for college and for life. * For students who want to take control over their learning . . . and want a school that is interesting, safe, respectful, and fun. * For anyone who cares about kids. Here, you'll find a moving account of just what is possible in education, with many of the examples drawn from the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center ("The Met") in Providence, Rhode Island--a diverse public high school with the highest rates of attendance and college acceptance in the state and a dropout rate of less than five percent. The Met exemplifies personalized learning, one student at a time. The Big Picture is a book to re-energize educators, inspire teachers in training, and start a new conversation about kids and schools, what we want for both, and how to make it happen.
||Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development
||0.5 x 7.0 x 8.9 in.
Posted by Todd A. Coston on 12/13/2007
Littky's book is the bridge between theory and reality. There are many theories on how we should be teaching and how students should be learning but The Big Picture takes theory and applies it to the real world. Dennis has a refreshing view of how students learn and takes you on a journey to understand how student directed learning can be made a reality. The success of the Big Picture schools is astounding considering todays climate in education. The book is woven around Littky's ideas and thoughts intermixed with an excellent dose of student and parent comments regarding their experience in the Big Picture schools. The schools rely heavily on student direction, parent involvement, real work in the real world and presentations to demonstrate what has been learned. Dennis does an excellent job of taking the establishment to task for the use of tests as a measurement tool. Overall, this book changed my view of what is possible in education. A definite must read for everyone!
A challenge to American schools, a model that works
Posted by Wally Weet on 9/20/2005
Littky's book challenges the traditional philosophy and practices of American schools. And we deserve that challenge. We are raising kids in dysfunctional schools, dysfunctional even when we believe they are working satisfactorily. At the most fundamental level the philosophy upon which the schools are based, a philosophy laid down in the Nineteenth Century designed to train people to fulfill the needs of industry, has not changed. The problem is that training is not educating. Defining the success of schools by standard tests, the method used to upgrade the dysfunctional system by No Child Left Behind only serves to make the dysfunctional system worse. America's children need a better system.
Littky, after thirty or more years of work in public schools as a principal has turned the old philosophy out the door. His objective is to lead children to love learning and that leads to radically different kinds of schools. In his schools parents are closely involved with the work in every way. Students and teachers work in small groups focusing on projects that cultivate the interests and the skills of the students. School bells do not ring interrupting the process of learning. Students open themselves to the learning process, develop confidence and the needed basic skills of writing and mathematics in the process of doing the projects that fascinate them. Learning becomes joyful. Teachers then become not loaders of information but leaders, fellow learners, who help the child develop the information necessary to the learning process. And, yes, to do this schools must be smaller than we have come to make them in the last fifty years. Huge consolidated, impersonal schools have failed. Littky demonstrates how much more effective small schools are at every level.
The results speak for themselves. Over ninety percent of the children who leave Littky's schools go on to higher education and most of those students when they come into his schools are children who have failed to flourish in traditional schools. For this and a dozen other reasons, Littky's challenge to American education is a powerful book that must not be ignored. Besides, it's a good read. The man speaks to us and we hear his passion for learning. He is his own model for the philosophy and the practice he would inculcate in his students, their parents, his teachers, and us.
American education needs a model that works. Littky offers us that model