Book of the Month

“Ordinary” Children, Extraordinary Teachers. Marva Collins. I first heard of Marva Collins in 2010 at a Tal Ben-Shahar conference. Born in Alabama in 1936, in the middle of the segregation era, after her graduation Collins took one of the few roles an Afro-American woman could choose in Southern USA in the 50s: a teacher. Over the following years, she developed a powerful educational methodology (Marva’s Way, which became the title of her first book) based on positive reinforcement and trust to help her students shine.

To Marva Collins, “school is a miniature society where students learn to be good citizens for the real world” and where a teacher’s mission is to help students to be the best version of themselves. Decades later, at a time where we talk about smart cities, can our current educational curriculums create smart citizens? Each page of “Ordinary” Children, Extraordinary Teachers is truly inspiring. So is the purpose of the Total Learning Experience, summarised in that wonderful Collins’ sentence, 25 years ago: “Not only must students be able to pass tests, perform academically, and work through social situations, but they must also have a sense of humanity and compassion”. I want a school like this for my daughter.

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