What we’re reading

Each new year brings the opportunity to explore fresh perspectives. As you embark into 2022, check out these reading recommendations from our team.

The Hidden Lives of Learners

This book comes recommended by two members of our team. Dr. Jim Heal, Director of Special Initiatives, explained, “This book explores the all-important distinction between what learning looks, sounds and feels like from the outside, versus the reality of the inner experience.”

Callie Lowenstein, Program Manager, added, “In Nuthall’s words, this is a book ‘about how students experience classroom learning activities and how they learn from that experience’. In a moment in which (more than ever?) many adults are making big claims about what students need, Nuthall’s approach is remarkable and thought-provoking.

What if we start by paying close attention to what’s happening in the classroom, what the learners themselves have to say about it—and then unpack that in dialogue with data and other research on learning? I’m just getting started on this book, after long last, and it’s giving me lots to chew on!”

The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

Senior Director of Finance Tripti Thapa found this book to offer a thought-provoking extension to learning science. She said, “This was a very interesting read. We typically associate our mind with only the brain, but in this book, the author talks about how thinking with our bodies (using sensations, movements, gestures), thinking with our surroundings (using natural and built spaces), and thinking with our relationships (experts, peers, groups) has the capacity to expand our mind. In our work, we talk a lot about learning science (which mostly means brain science), and I am wondering what it means to add this concept of the extended mind.”


The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America

The Deviant’s War follows the path of Frank Lameny, an astronomer who was dismissed from his job with the U.S. Defense Department in the 1950s after disclosure of his homosexual identity. It describes his ensuing fight against the systematic persecution of federal employees who are gay.

Patrick Steck, Senior Director of Policy, recommends this book. He explained, “Students, especially those from routinely marginalized communities, deserve to understand the complicated history of America. Teachers do this day in and day out, which is why I imagine Dr. Eric Cervini dedicated the book to “the teachers in [his] life.” In this book, Dr. Cervini takes on the monumental task of researching and sharing Frank Kameny’s story—an intricate story of queer persecution and perserverence that began long before Stonewall.

At a time when facts and history are called into question and directly attacked (e.g. anti-CRT legislation) by those in positions of power, Dr. Cervini’s book is a refreshing, thoroughly researched book dedicated to elevating the truth— a truth that could allow so many young Americans to see how powerful it is to live authentically, to fight for each other.”

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