Book Review                                      Online Exclusive


The Self in Schooling 

Theory and Practice — How to Create Happy,

Healthy Flourishing Children in the 21st Century

by Henry Brzycki, BG Publishing, State College, Pa. , 2013, 250 pp., $34.95 softcover


Educators frequently look for ideas on how to create a better environment for students, and The Self in Schooling is author Henry Brzycki’s answer to that quandary.

Brzycki, founder of a consulting firm that develops psychoeducational and counseling programs for students, advocates considering a child’s psychological and physical well-being in order to improve students’ opportunities for success, academic and otherwise.

In conversations with educators or parents, someone inevitably points out that students today differ from students in the past. As society and technology continue to evolve and legislators impose new accountability on schools, a clash between students and educators will develop, leaving the former struggling to see where they fit into society.

The book champions personalized learning plans, developed using the iSelf model in which students’ knowledge is elevated to a higher role and the framework to formulate educational experiences are aligned with student purpose and needs. The author sees this as a way to ensure success for students and educators.

Personalized learning will allow school systems to accommodate the goal of learning in and out of the classroom through extended learning opportunities such as independent study, internships, private instruction, performing groups, community service (service learning) and online instruction. Brzycki emphasizes that personalized learning will allow students, with guidance, to take control of their own learning and take responsibility for their life-course trajectories.

The book is divided into two sections of theory and practice. First, Brzycki takes readers through the complex problems encountered, detailing the possibility of shifting thinking to student-centered education based upon an integrated self-model in order to become 21st century learners. Second, Brzycki discusses different curriculum models of personalized learning that consider student well-being as well as risk factors.

The book’s biggest strength is the amount of research in the areas of positive psychology, educational psychology, mind, brain and education. The iShelf model, for instance, is based upon research woven throughout the book. Using the Self Across the Curriculum with the iSelf will produce young people who are academically and emotionally prepared to meet 21st – century demands.

The Self in Schooling is a good choice for anyone interested in creating a healthier school environment, but it would be best used to teach graduate or undergraduate courses in educational psychology, educational policy studies, counselor education, educational foundations, school psychology and teacher education.


Reviewed by William A. Clark, superintendent, Warren County School District, Warren, Pa.


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