Customer Reviews of The Big Picture: Education Is Everyone's Business
A Must Read for Teachers, Administrators, Parents, Students and anyone wishing to impact Today's Education System
Dennis Littky truly understands the education system and HOW it SHOULD be run! The Big Picture is well written and an easy understandable read! Littky's book focuses on his life endeavor and efforts to change our failing school system. Littky shares personal stories throughout his teaching and administrative career and the development of the Big Picture Schools. These schools have had a profound impact on all students with 98% of students going on to college. He believes that students should be educated "one student at a time, evaluating students with multiple forms of assessment and measuring students' progress against real-world standards" (Littky, 2004, p. xvi). Each chapter ends with a set of questions to help you further your thought and apply it to your workplace. If you want to make a difference in the education system, this book is a MUST READ!
A must read for educators, parents and others who are looking for an alternative to the current system.
This was a very interesting read for me; I highly recommend it to parents, teachers and anyone who is interested in alternatives to the public school system. I was rapidly losing my trust in the current educational system. What's most disturbing for me is all of the professionals who write about urban education, its causes and how to repair it. Often, these professionals are so far removed from the problem its incomprehensible how they can propose to interpret the real life issues that exist. Littky's common sense approach that he introduced to The Met starts with treat every child with respect; give value to their dreams and their interest. Help them discover THEIR talents. Help them find the connection in putting their talents and interest towards building a life goal. Hire only educators who embrace this vision, and recognize that as teachers they are also part of the learning experience. I was most inspired by Littky's belief that all of the children who walk through the door of The Met will graduate, will succeed and will do something great with their lives. Believing in them, makes them believe in themselves. To quote Franklin Covey "begin with the end in mind".
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!
Littky's view of education
This book opened my eyes to the endless possibilities, and opportunities of learning for students. It is an easy read that is hard to put down. Dennis Littky is a person that is not just talking about change in education, he is making change. He takes the focus off of the schools and puts it on the students. Littky has found that by focusing on students interest's, they are able to reignite students excitement they once had for learning. He also believes that we must act now and become involved if we plan to have an impact in these students learning opportunities, and their future. Students are encouraged in Met schools to pursue personal interests, and then a curriculum is designed around that to guide the student through their learning process.
I would highly recommend this book to any parent, teacher or administrator that wants to begin on the path to get their child or student excited about their own education.
A challenge to American schools, a model that works
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