Monday, October 15, 2012

Wednesday Live - Kirsten Olson on "Wounded by School"

Join me Wednesay, October 17th, for a one-hour live and interactive interview with Kirsten Olson, author of Wounded By School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up To Old School Culture. Kirsten is a leading writer in the U.S. describing education from a student's point of view. Wounded By School was a top-selling book at Teachers College Press last year, and was nominated for Book of the Year by Foreword.  Reviewers have called the book “brilliant, insightful, unsparing, hopeful.”

Kirsten is a founding board member of IDEA, Institute for Democratic Education in America, an emerging national not-for-profit linking youth and Progressive educational activists for educational transformation through community organizing and showcasing what is best in education. A leadership coach and organizational consultant at Old Sow Consulting, Kirsten currently works with school teams and individual school leaders nationally who are attempting to do transformational work in education, and create new conceptions of powerful learning and meaningful school communities. An experiential retreat leader with two-year facilitator training with Parker Palmer at the Center for Courage and Renewal, she frequently leads week-long residential and one-day retreats on mindfulness for leaders, self-compassion, and "permissioning" in leadership and social action.

Kirsten holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an undergraduate degree from Vassar College and is a recent graduate of the Georgetown Center for Transformational Leadership.   She lives in Brookline, MA where her four children attended public school.

Date: Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recordings: The full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and a portable .mp3 recording is at
Mightybell Space: Resources, videos, links, and conversation about the interview can be found HERE.

(From Kirsten's Website):

This controversial book says that the way we educate millions of American children alienates students from a fundamental pleasure in learning, and that pleasure in learning is essential to real engagement, creativity, intellectual entrepreneurship, and a well-lived life.

Based on almost a decade of intensive autobiographical interviews with over 100 "ordinary" students, teachers, and parents, Wounded By School describes some of the dilemmas of those in school now. Students talk about intensive boredom and daily disengagement, while knowing that school "matters" more than ever.  Students and teachers describe a grinding lack of meaning in their work, combined with intensive labeling, tracking and shrink-wrapping of learners based on cursory tests and poor understanding of many kinds of minds.

Wounded By School identifies seven kinds of common school wounds, and tells the stories of those who have experienced them...
  • Wounds of Creativity
  • Wounds of Compliance
  • Wounds of Rebelliousness
  • Wounds That Numb
  • Wounds of Underestimation
  • Wounds of Perfectionism
  • Wounds of the Average
These stories show that while reformers and policymakers tinker with accountability plans and annual yearly progress measures, millions of learners are intellectually and spiritually checking out--and gifted teachers depart the field by thousands--due to inhospitable conditions for learning and teaching.

In addition to exploring seven types of common school wounds, Wounded By School also portrays a few individuals who have healed their learning lives and reclaimed their intellectual territory and self-possession. These stories of healing show that those who have been lacerated must be much more vocal and active in pressuring our educational system for change.

Fundamentally hopeful, Wounded By School finds much energy for reform, and an alignment with the larger business community that says American schools are not producing the kinds of attributes most needed in young adults and future employees.

An old-fashioned, outmoded institution, the American schoolhouse and concepts of learning and teaching were designed for an earlier time. These ideas no longer serve us well. This is a critical moment for individuals to band together to create change and reclaim our learning lives.

Stand up!

A Learner's Bill of Rights

Every learner has the right to know why they are learning something, why it is important now, or may be important to them someday.

Every learner has the right to engage in questioning or interrogating the idea of "importance" above.

Every learner has the right to be confused and to express this confusion openly, honestly, and without shame.

Every learner has the right to multiple paths to understanding a concept, an idea, a set of facts, or a series of constructs.

Every learner has the right to understand his or her own mind, brain wiring, and intellectual inclinations as completely as possible.

Every learner has the right to interrogate and question the means through which his or her learning is assessed.

Every learner is entitled to some privacy in their imagination and thoughts.

Every learner has the right to take their own imagination and thinking seriously.

-From Wounded By School

1 comment:

  1. " Every learner has the right to understand his or her own mind, brain wiring, and intellectual inclinations as completely as possible."

    Genius! Kirsten Olson is an epitome of great mind! I like her book and love to inspired me as a teacher..


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