Publication Date: April 23, 2009
While reformers and policymakers focus on achievement gaps, testing, and accountability, millions of students mentally and emotionally disengage from learning and many gifted teachers leave the field. Ironically, today’s schooling is damaging the single most essential component to education—the joy of learning
How do we recognize the "wounds" caused by outdated schooling policies? How do we heal them? In her controversial new book, education writer and critic Kirsten Olson brings to light the devastating consequences of an educational approach that values conformity over creativity, flattens students’ interests, and dampens down differences among learners. Drawing on deeply emotional stories, Olson shows that current institutional structures do not produce the kinds of minds and thinking that society really needs. Instead, the system tends to shame, disable, and bore many learners. Most importantly, she presents the experiences of wounded learners who have healed and shows what teachers, parents, and students can do right now to help themselves stay healthy.
Kirsten Olson is a writer, educational consultant, national level Courage To Teach facilitator, and principal of Old Sow Educational Consulting. She has been a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kennedy School at Harvard University, and many large public school systems and charter schools.
“This important book is filled with resources and specific ideas for reclaiming joy in learning.... Highly recommended.”
“This wonderful and probing book filled with powerful, poignant, passionate stories.”
“May this splendid book be read, discussed, taken to heart, and put into action.”
—Parker J. Palmer
“A brilliant, original, and important book. Wounded by School makes an eloquent and moving case for the radical re-invention of our schools.”
—Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap and Co-Director of the Change Leadership Group (CLG)
“We need to replace industrial schooling with more genuinely caring and humane ways of teaching, and Olson clearly shows us why and how to do it.” —Ron Miller, Editor, Education Revolution magazine
“ Wounded by School is not merely a technical repair manual for our broken schools, it is a guide to how to revive their purpose, their spirit, and their hope.”
—David H. Rose, Founding Director, CAST (the Center for Applied Special Technology)
“Kirsten Olson’s book is refreshingly unlike the general run of sludge I associate with writing about pedagogy. I can’t imagine anyone not being better for reading this book – Twice!”
—John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down, www.johntaylorgatto.com.
“I invite anyone invested in American public schools (and I hope that’s all of us) to read this book and join hands in building schools that help every student not only heal but thrive.”
—Terry Chadsey, Associate Director, Center for Courage & Renewal
“Whether you loved school or not, whether you blamed school or yourself for your problems, you will think differently about school after reading Kirsten Olson’s compelling book. Olson’s account of the wounds of school is unsparing, but it is also infused with hope.”
—Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds for the Future
2010 Choice Oustanding Academic Title
2010 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist in Education