The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice

The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice

The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice

The Best Schools: How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice

Synopsis

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:
• An emphasis on play for early childhood learning.
• Theme- and project-based learning for elementary school students.
• Active learning that recognizes the social, emotional, and cognitive needs of adolescents in middle schools.
• Mentoring, apprenticeships, and cooperative education for high school students. 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.

Excerpt

What is the aim of education? Is the primary goal of schooling to train young people to pass tests and get good grades, or is it, as Jean Piaget once put it, “To train young people to think for themselves and not to accept the first idea that comes to them.” This is the issue addressed in this powerful and important book. Armstrong argues that these two aims ref ect different educational discourses that guide and direct pedagogical values, thoughts, and practices. One of these discourses, the Academic Achievement Discourse (mightily aided and abetted by the No Child Left Behind legislation), currently dominates the educational scene. The alternative, Human Development Discourse, is found in some public, charter, and private schools that adapt their curricula to the developing needs, interests, and abilities of the students. Schools that implement the Human Development Discourse are what Armstrong refers to as The Best Schools.

To make his case against Academic Achievement Discourse, Armstrong gives a brief history of this orientation and then lists 12 negative consequences of this type of pedagogy. Some of these . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.