Teaching in the Cracks: Openings and Opportunities for Student-Centered, Action-Focused Curriculum

Teachers College Press
Free sample

This engaging book shows how teachers and schools are creating emergent, democratic, progressive education amidst the current context of high stakes accountability. In this follow-up to his bestseller, Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way, Schultz explores how today’s rhetoric and restrictive mandates result in curriculum that fails to capture the attention of students. For meaningful learning that develops transferable skills and engages students, teachers and sometimes whole schools need to find spaces to “teach in the cracks” so that students can connect with issues relevant to their lives. Teaching in the Cracks provides both a theoretical and practical foundation for incorporating an action-focused curriculum that meets academic standards and provides students with opportunities for agency and to use their voices in their own learning.

“Through compelling examples, Brian Schultz shares how educators can help students use their powers.”
—From the Foreword by Deborah Meier, teacher, principal, and advocate

“This book is an invitation to rethink teaching from top to bottom, to dive into classroom life as a passionate adventure in discovery and surprise.”
—From the Afterword by William Ayers, education activist

“For teachers who genuinely seek to make a difference through their work, this book will be a helpful resource.”
—Pedro A. Noguera, University of California, Los Angeles

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Additional Information

Publisher
Teachers College Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2017
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Pages
127
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ISBN
9780807775684
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Curricula
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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This celebrated narrative shows how a teacher, alongside his 5th-grade students, co-created a curriculum based on the students’ needs, interests, and questions. Follow Brian Schultz and his students from a Chicago housing project as they work together to develop an emergent and authentic curriculum based on what is most important to the 5th-graders—replacing their dilapidated school. The persuasive storytelling that captured the attention of educators and the media depicts the journey of one teacher in an urban school and his students juxtaposed against the powerful and entrenched bureaucracy of Chicago’s public education system. In this second edition, Schultz examines how school reform continues to fail students in urban contexts, reflects on his teaching and writing from a decade ago, and offers compelling updates on students and what became of the school. A lot can be learned from the young people of Room 405, then and now. Not only did these particular 5th-graders push back against the city and school board in their pursuit for a better learning environment for themselves and their community, but they also learned about the power of using their voices in purposeful ways.

“We can only hope that educators will read the new edition and be inspired to make similar choices themselves.”
—From the Foreword by Pedro Noguera, UCLA

“In this eagerly awaited second edition, Schultz has reiterated what it means to be a courageous and caring teacher.”
—From the Afterword by Sonia Nieto, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

“A compelling read that continues to remind us how much a better world depends on our ability to foster learning and teaching experiences that nurture young people’s capacity to think deeply.”
—Denise Taliaferro Baszile, VP, AERA Division B

“This second edition highlights the ongoing dismantling of urban public schools in the name of ‘reform,’ even while fueling our sense of possibility and hope.”
—Kevin Kumashiro, author, Bad Teacher!

Throw off the shackles of formal schooling and embark upon a rich journey of self-directed, life-long learning

After over 100 years of mandatory schooling in the U.S., literacy rates have dropped, families are fragmented, learning "disabilities" are skyrocketing, and children and youth are increasingly disaffected. Thirty years of teaching in the public school system led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling is to blame, accomplishing little but to teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.

He became a fierce advocate of families and young people taking back education and learning, arguing that "genius is as common as dirt," but that conventional schooling is driving out the natural curiosity and problem-solving skills we're born with, replacing it with rule-following, fragmented time, and disillusionment.

Gatto's radical treatise on public education, a New Society Publishers bestseller for 25 years, continues to bang the drum for an unshackling of children and learning from formal schooling. Now, in an ever-more-rapidly changing world with an explosion of alternative routes to learning, it's poised to continue to shake the world of institutional education for many more years.

Featuring a new foreword from Zachary Slayback, an Ivy League dropout and cofounder of tech start-up career foundry Praxis, this 25th anniversary edition will inspire new generations of parents and students to take control of learning and kickstart an empowered society of self-directed lifetime-learners.

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