Book Review : Joe Stark

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Book Review: Joe Stark Wounded By School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up to Old School Culture Kirsten Olson Olson’s premises for the book are that engagement in learning is the key to a happy life and that school separates many individuals from that possibility. School practices that wound and make students hesitant learners have to be investigated so they can be changed. If we understand what school wounds are, why they occur and what can be done about it, we don’t need to harbor these wounds forever. The “average” child is possibly the most wounded child in our school systems. These students often come away feeling that they are not smart and that their abilities are set in stone. Many experience shame that results in …show more content…

Students who once had passion become burnt out with no curiosity. • Wounds of underestimation occur when students face low expectations based on who they are. Students almost as soon as they enter school are classified, tracked, and categorized. They know it and lower expectations become self-perpetuating. These wounds were the most commonly confronted during Olson’s research. • Wounds of perfection happen to students who continually chase the highest grades by doing precisely what the teacher wants. They may be reluctant to take risks due to fear of failure. Pressure takes the enjoyment out of learning. • Wounds of the average happen when students are made to feel stuck in the middle. They are squarely between programs for the gifted and handicapped since they qualify for neither. They put in the time, do the least they can, and are not challenged. They spend their time trying not to be noticed and don’t see themselves as unique in any way. They see their abilities as rigid and not able to be improved through effort or focus. All of these wounds are produced in school environments that are intolerant of cognitive, emotional, or identity differences. They produce alienation for the learner, and reduce pleasure in learning. Olson sees the basic problem as schools not changing much since they were invented. Students are sorted and tracked, resulting in schools bolstering

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