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The Unfinished Revolution

Learning, Human Behavior, Community, and Political Paradox

The Unfinished Revolution by John Abbott
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If you believe it is possible for communities, schools, parents, and businesses to come together around helping all children become lifelong learners, then read this book. In The Unfinished Revolution, authors John Abbott and Terry Ryan argue that the so-called crisis in education is really a crisis in childhood and that the unit of change is not the school but rather the larger community. Drawing on their experiences of working with schools, community leaders, researchers, parents, and business leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the authors show how current models of education--based on ideas about learning from the industrial age--cannot by themselves bring out the full potential of all children. They maintain that the schools we have inherited from the industrial age are structured to develop a mass of students who, at best, are equipped with basic skills and the ability to follow orders--but only a small cadre of creative, lifelong learners.

To create learning environments that help all children take control of their own learning, the authors propose a constructivist and apprentice-based approach that takes full account of our current understanding about how humans actually learn. They urge ''going with the grain of the brain'' as a way of breaking down today's highly partitioned system of education.

Abbott and Ryan make the case that communities have the power to help education blend into a seamless web, in which learning opportunities permeate the entire culture. This form of dynamic learning will not be seen as a system, but rather as a way of life. Learning will be something that we all recognize, encourage, and actively support through formal education, community participation, and the power of the connected world of information communication and technology.
A utopian vision? No. The authors describe societies undergoing a revolution in thinking and working that, despite disruptions, offers ways to cope with ongoing social, political, and economic changes. This revolution is unfinished as long as education systems lag behind these larger transformations. In this book, the authors address that lag by charting a course across disciplines to connect learning to what happens outside the classroom, ultimately producing lifelong learners who can take full advantage of today's increasingly open and dynamic societies.

ASCD; March 2001
220 pages; ISBN 9781416604761
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Title: The Unfinished Revolution
Author: John Abbott; Terry Ryan