"I am not going to teach you any differently!"

Stories

Perhaps the most significant, life-determining learning experience happened in the eleventh grade in Mrs. Eli’s class in my West Texas hometown high school named San Angelo Central High School. I remember the first day of the school year in her class. At first–in the brief moments before class was to start–it seemed like any other eleventh-grade class. That is, pretty … Read More

Dinosaurs

Stories

When I was in third grade, I became fascinated with dinosaurs. Woolworth’s used to sell small, rubber triceratops, tyrannosaurs, pterodactyls and all the rest, complete with names, sizes, and sometimes their prehistoric era on the bottom. Every time we got near the store, I was begging my Mom or Dad for one more to add to my collection. I checked … Read More

A beacon of hope — in apartheid South Africa

Stories

In a Cape Town, South African Colored high school rife with the inequalities of apartheid, Mrs. Hilda Levin, my English teacher, represented a beacon of hope and encouragement. She was a White teacher, venturing each day into the Colored neighborhood where I lived (apartheid’s success was evident in our tendency to think in terms of racial categories); a courageous act … Read More

I want our children to be taught how to think!

Stories

I was educated in England and best remember my High School English teacher, a woman who inspired through enthusiasm. She was in love with language and literature, and her unfailing, bouncing enthusiasm and permanent grin enthused us all.There were no non-participants in that class – the boys at the back of the class sat up, listened, read the texts, and … Read More

Raechel Waddy's Learning Story

Stories

I could never narrow down the path of learning which has led me to this point in life. I can’t pin it all on one defining epiphany that woke me up and made me pay attention. I can tell about all the small things which have added to my experience. These things may be the “…so you can get into … Read More

Deborah Meier's Learning Story

Stories

When I look back upon my childhood I remember all those myriad occasions when I was in the company of people who were in the throes of trying to explain something that they cared about — sometimes half to themselves and perhaps more often in the company of others. The dinner table, for example. Listening in the car to the … Read More

Scott Thompson's Learning Story

Stories

When I was a senior in high school, I experienced an intellectual awakening that prepared me for college and lifelong learning as nothing else had. During my junior year I applied and was accepted into a project-based learning program that was available to seniors. There were various projects and courses within this program, but one in particular revolutionized my mind. … Read More

Kathryn Smeglin's Learning Story

Stories

A large sheet of blank paper hung on the chalk board in my middle school art room. On top of the paper, in front of my quietly puzzled 8th graders, I wrote ISLAM/ISLAMIC ART. When I asked them what words came to mind when they read the paper, they barely paused before calling out in torrents, ‘Suicide bomber! Twin Towers! … Read More

A church basement on the South Side of Chicago

Stories

I grew up going to my mother’s afterschool tutoring program in a church basement on the South Side of Chicago. It is the best learning community I’ve ever been a part of and the best learning experience I’ve ever had. That is high praise because I have been lucky enough to attend extraordinary schools and to have great professional development … Read More

John Goodlad's Learning Story

Stories

Learning is a lifetime necessity that is increasingly subtle with the aging process. Behavioral scientist Ralph Tyler, one of my mentors, was chair of my doctoral committee at the University of Chicago. At that time, he was dean of the arts and sciences division, chair of the department of education, and university examiner. (By passing a comprehensive batch of tests, … Read More