"Introducing a spelling test to a student by saying, 'Let's see how many words you know,' is different from saying, 'Let's see how many words you know already.' It is only one word, but the already suggests that any words the child knows are ahead of expectation and, most important, that there is nothing permanent about what is known and not known."
— Peter Johnston
Sometimes a single word changes everything. In his groundbreaking book Choice Words, Peter Johnston demonstrated how the things teachers say (and don't say) have surprising consequences for the literate lives of students. Now, in Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives, Peter shows how the words teachers choose affect the worlds students inhabit in the classroom, and ultimately their futures. He explains how to engage children with more productive talk and to create classrooms that support not only students' intellectual development, but their development as human beings.
Grounded in research, Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives shows how words can shape students' learning, their sense of self, and their social, emotional and moral development. Make no mistake: words have the power to open minds – or close them.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Choosing Words, Choosing Worlds 1
Chapter 2 Learning Worlds: People, Performing, and Learning 9
Chapter 3 Changing Learning Narratives 25
Chapter 4 "Good Job!" Feedback, Praise, and Other Responses 35
Chapter 5 Any Other Ways to Think About That? Inquiry, Dialogue, Uncertainty, and Difference 51
Chapter 6 Social Imagination 67
Chapter 7 Moral Agency: Moral Development and Civic Engagement 81
Chapter 8 Thinking Together, Working Together 93
Chapter 9 Choice Worlds 111
Appendix A 125
Appendix B 127
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In this relatively slim volume, Johnston includes a wealth of ideas and techniques for teaching literacy and language skills in a more just, compassionate and socially responsible manner. He focuses on dialogic instruction—specifically on the language we use when we speak to and with students—and the value of using a dynamic learning frame that emphasizes every student’s ability to learn, grow, and develop not only cognitively and intellectually but also emotionally and socially. Johnston is interested in far more than “just teaching.” He believes that teachers have a responsibility for helping their students mature into responsible and concerned citizens who are equipped with the academic, social, and emotional skills to effect real change in the world. This book will benefit anyone interested in social justice education—that is to say, anyone who is interested in meaningful education.
This book provides cited research and classroom examples of how language impacts student learning.