The Game of School: Why We All Play It, How it Hurts Kids, and What It Will Take to Change It
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More About This Title The Game of School: Why We All Play It, How it Hurts Kids, and What It Will Take to Change It


Robert L. Fried is the author of the highly successful book The Passionate Teacher (Beacon Press, 1995) and its follow-up volume, The Passionate Learner (Beacon Press, 2001). He has been an English teacher, school principal and board member. In addition, he consults with schools and speaks to teachers all over the country. He currently is an associate professor of education at Northeastern University and lives in Concord, NH.


Prelude: What’s in a Game?

1. Wasting Time.

Interlude: Elcira Delgado’s Show.

2. The Game of School up Through the Grades.

Interlude: Heidi Thomas’s First Day of First Grade.

3. Being Curious, Feeling Powerful, and Telling the World What You Know.

Interlude: “Something So Good Wuz Neva So Deadly”.

4. Contemplating Our State Religion, and the Types of Learners Who Attend School Within Its Shadow.

Interlude: Abd Al-Maalik, High School History Teacher.

5. Humanizing “School Talk” in Pursuit of Authentic Learning.

Interlude: Nurturing Passionate Teachers: Making Our Work Transparent Randall Wisehart.

6. Getting Stuck.

Interlude: Fried’s Joy and Misery Index for Educators.

7. No Time to Waste.

Interlude: Jenny O’Neil and City Year: Building a Beloved Community.

Coda: A Lesson Before Teaching.




About the Author.



"In this must-read book, Robert Fried shows us that playing the game of school day after day is an intolerable waste of time and while we are told it will lead to a decent paying job, it actually stupefies us for life’s challenges—including being a decent citizen. He shows why we simply cannot keep doing this to our intellectually feisty youngsters, or to their teachers. Fried has it right in theory and detail, and he shows us, in his lively, poignant, often funny stories form the field, how teachers, parents, and, yes, kids, too, can begin to change this dreadful and unnecessary game."
--Deborah Meier, founding principal and director, New Ventures, Mission Hill School

"This critically important book plumbs the depths of productive vs. unproductive learning and finds a seemingly normal, yet insidious, ‘game’ at its core.  Our schools' failure to engage young minds is explained through vivid portraits of teachers who buck the trend Fried is not a nihilist who sees only the dark side. Far from it. He has the courage to describe the Game of School such that readers can accept the metaphor as a tool without which educational reform will continue to be ineffectual."
--Seymour B. Sarason, professor of psychology emeritus, Yale University and, author of And What Do You Mean by Learning?