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Jennifer Little, Ph.D., has a passion for helping students who are difficult-to-serve. She has an extensive and varied experience within education. She has been an enrolled student (full- or part-time) at 15 colleges or universities. As a K-12 education teacher, she has worked with preschool through twelfth grade students for over 35 years in 9 different states. As an adjunct faculty member, she has taught undergraduate and graduate students at 6 different colleges and universities. In her postdoctoral work she was the study director for a substance abuse prevention project with inner city, at-risk students. For five years she volunteered for 20 hours a week in a moderate security juvenile incarceration facility and taught half-time for 2 years in a juvenile detention facility.
Because appropriate materials were not available for her K-12 students, she developed materials to support instruction. Using what she had learned about child development, learning theories, curriculum design and instructional methods, she devised ways to work with students performing far below grade level. Their rapid and sustained growth in academic skills reversed many students’ behavioral problems. The resulting student success showed her not only that what happens in school is what causes student failure, but also the reasons for those failures lie outside the control of teachers and inside the power structures that drive education.
on Jan. 15, 2013 :
Breaking Through the Educational Barrier
In this rather short book, Dr. Little asks hundreds of questions, all hard ones, all prescient ones. Her project here isn’t to reinvent education per se, but ask what it will take to reinvent what was once the world’s most vital system of eduction. As adjuncts to her questions, she delineates a number of obstacles that will likely prevent the best answers: Erroneous assumptions. Resistance to change. Legislative meddling. You get the idea.
Her belief here is clearly that U.S. education can be reformed from the inside out by expanding the responsibilities and impacts of public education to students, parents, teachers, and the communities at large.
Still, her approach here is generalized, as are her proposed tenets for what must be done. Al the same they seem grounded in practicality, she a person who has been the gamut of educational experience, from student to lower grade teacher, to researcher. She espouses limitations - doing “what will work.” Performing valid scientific educational research. Working for the greater good of U.S. society. Expanding our idea of what is possible in eduction.
What seems missing here is some notion of a strategic plan, so that her questions may take root in a focused manner. Perhaps that will be the subject of future works by Dr. Little.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)