Engaging the Disengaged: How Schools Can Help Struggling Students Succeed

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Overview

Based on Lois Brown Easton's experience working with disengaged learners, this insightful resource helps educators make positive connections with youngsters of all ages who are at risk of failing or dropping out. Featuring the voices of educators and students, this invaluable text covers methods for improving the schoolwide climate in ways that support all students and for creating a learning environment that promotes academic, personal, and social growth. The author illustrates how to make meaningful changes in curriculum and instruction and examines the importance of: Teacher-student relationships, Innovative teaching strategies for struggling learners, Developing self-directed learners, Using appropriate assessments for students with learning difficulties. Easton's book inspires teachers to make a significant change in their school's culture to engage developing minds and champion all learners, regardless of socioeconomic factors.
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Editorial Reviews

Ted and Nancy Sizer
"The teacher who knows how to re-engage a child in his or her own learning is a treasure indeed, as is the school that supports such a teacher. Easton tells the stories of these teachers in one such school. They are stories from which all teachers—and principals, school boards, parents, and students—can learn."
Richard W. Clark
"Principals—particularly secondary principals—should find this book and Easton's earlier work to be all the basic resources required. It is comprehensive and deals with the critical issues of the day."
Dennis Sparks
"An inspiring book! Easton's clear, compelling writing is made more vivid by the wonderful real-life examples."
Horace: The Journal of the Coalition of Essential Schools
"Easton's book shares realistic and inspiring examples of the kind of engagement that transforms kids' lives. "
Sirreadalot.org
“This insightful and invaluable resource is about changing the culture of schools to be more humane for struggling learners. Filled with real examples, it inspires teachers to create an integrated system of support that can make a significant change in their school’s culture to engage developing minds and champion all learners, regardless of socioeconomic factors.”
California Bookwatch
"Should be required reading for any teacher."
Education Libraries
“This is a very practical text strongly anchored in theory. By looking at the ‘so what’ and ‘what now’ sections at the end of each chapter, teachers have an opportunity to practice some of these lessons. Easton presents an excellent analysis of self-directed learners, and looks at constructivist and traditional classrooms as well as project-based and experiential learning.”
Curriculum Connections
"The author defines engagement as what happens when students 'want to learn and keep learning.' She strongly believes that it is central to the purpose of education and can occur for all students when 'challenge and skill are well-matched.' Easton’s book provides a road map for change in school culture, curriculum, and instruction for all grade levels."
Horace: The Journal of the Coalition of Essential Schools
"Easton's book shares realistic and inspiring examples of the kind of engagement that transforms kids' lives."
November 2007 Sirreadalot.org
“This insightful and invaluable resource is about changing the culture of schools to be more humane for struggling learners. Filled with real examples, it inspires teachers to create an integrated system of support that can make a significant change in their school’s culture to engage developing minds and champion all learners, regardless of socioeconomic factors.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412949996
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 10/9/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,373,085
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.96 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Lois Brown Easton works as a consultant, coach, and author. She is particularly interested in learning designs for adults and for students. She recently retired as director of professional development at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, Estes Park, Colorado. A project of the American Honda Education Corporation, Eagle Rock School is a year-round, tuition-free, residential high school for students who have not experienced success in traditional academic settings. The school provides educators who visit the Professional Development Center with experiences in innovative education.

As director, Easton designed and administered the professional development program for preservice and student teachers; practicing teachers and administrators; university and college students, both graduate and undergraduate; and researchers. She designed and administered an internship program for twelve young educators each year and an alternative licensure program accredited by the Colorado Department of Education.

Easton was director of Re:Learning Systems at the Education Commission of the States (ECS) from 1992 to 1994. Re:Learning was a partnership between the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and ECS. The Coalition focuses on school-level restructuring based on the research on American high schools that Dr. Ted Sizer and others performed in the 1980s. ECS, an interstate compact that works with state policy makers to improve the quality of education throughout the country, partnered with CES in Re:Learning to orient reform efforts from “schoolhouse to statehouse” and to effect reform systemwide. Easton was director of the systemic side of the reform.

Prior to that, Easton served in the Arizona Department of Education as English/Language Arts Coordinator, establishing the role in the School Improvement Unit and directing the development of the Language Arts Essential Skills, the state’s first standards-based curriculum framework. She became Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and then, as Director of Curriculum and Assessment Planning, designed and implemented the Arizona Student Assessment Program (ASAP), which focused on systemic reform on the basis of curriculum standards aligned with state performance assessments. A middle school English teacher for 15 years, Easton earned her Ph D at the University of Arizona. Her dissertation was a policy analysis of the ASAP. She has held state and national offices, particularly in language arts organizations. She was President of the Arizona English Teachers Association and was elected to the Secondary Steering Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English. She was cochair of the 2001 Conference of the National Staff Development Council in Denver. Easton has been a frequent presenter at conferences and a contributor to educational journals. Her book The Other Side of Curriculum: Lessons From Learners was published in 2001. She is editor of and contributor to Powerful Designs for Professional Learning, which was published in 2004.

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
A Portrait of Struggling Students     ix
A Nation's Problem     xiv
The Focus of This Book: Engagement     xix
Experience With Struggling Students     xx
Voices in This Book     xxi
The Reader's Responsibility     xxi
The Organization of This Book     xxii
An Overview of the Chapters     xxiii
Acknowledgments     xxvii
Introduction: The Importance of Culture     xxix
Culture as Mission and Vision     xxxiii
Culture as Beliefs     xxxv
Examining Beliefs     xxxvi
Examining Culture Using Metaphors     xliii
Examining Culture Through Artifacts     xliv
Examining Culture Through Practice     xlvi
Students and Culture     l
Ensuring That Culture Is Lived     lii
So What     liii
Now What     liv
About the Author     lv
List of Vignettes     lvii
Improving the Culture for Struggling Students
"What About Test Scores?" From a Testing to a Learning Culture     2
Testing Today     4
An Example of Doing No Harm     9
Reasons Students Might Do Poorly on Tests     11
Reasons Students Might Do Well on Tests     12
Testing and Learning     13
Conclusion     16
So What     16
Now What     16
"What Do You Mean, Build Relationships? My Job Is to Teach History:" Relationships Are as Important as Content     19
Why Relationships Are Important     20
How to Focus on Relationships     25
Different Kinds of Smallness     26
How to Build Relationships Whether You're Small or Not     32
Conclusion     37
So What     37
Now What     38
"What's Community Got to Do With Learning?" Intentional Learning Communities Foster Learning     41
The Importance of Community     42
Students in Community     44
How Well Learning Communities Work     47
Adults in Community     49
Organizations That Support PLCs     53
The Next Step: A Whole-School Learning Community (WSLC)     57
Conclusion     59
So What     60
Now What     60
"So, What About Discipline?" How Principles Govern a School Better Than Rules     62
Principles     62
System of Use      69
Why Principles Work     79
Conclusion     84
So What     85
Now What     85
"What's Democratic About Schools?" A Democratic School Helps Students Learn     86
Schools and Democracy     88
Democratic Schools in Action     91
Conclusion     106
So What     106
Now What     106
Improving Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Struggling Students
"What About Standards?" Developing Curriculum According to the Right Standards     110
Using Standards as the Basis of Curriculum     112
The Process of Developing Standards-Related Curriculum     121
Benefits of a Standards-Related Curriculum     131
A Few More Examples     134
Conclusion     136
So What     136
Now What     136
"How Do You Get Them to Learn?" Innovative Instructional Strategies Help Students Learn     138
The Instructional Impact of Previously Mentioned Strategies     139
What We Really Want: Self-Directed Learners     144
Conclusion     160
So What     161
Now What     161
"How Do You Know They've Learned?" Learning From Assessing Learning      163
Two Ways of Evaluating Learning     169
The Presentation of Learning     172
Documentations of Learning     180
What Happens When Assessments Show That Students Haven't Learned?     185
Conclusion     187
So What     188
Now What     188
Conclusion: The Importance of Looking at the Student as a Whole Person     189
A Whole Student     191
Thinking About the Whole Person     197
How Schools Promote Personal Growth     201
The Bottom Line     207
Conclusion     207
So What     210
Now What     210
About Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center     211
Purposes of Eagle Rock     211
Bare Facts     212
History and Background     212
The Students     214
Admissions Process     215
Test Score Data From Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center     218
References     222
Index     230
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