Book Review                                      Online Exclusive


Teaching That Changes Lives

12 Mindset Tools for Igniting the Love of Learning

by Marilee Adams, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc., San Francisco, Calif., 2013, 216 pages, $18.95 softcover


Marilee Adams was never a K-12 teacher, but she creates a vivid allegorical account of a beginning teacher’s journey from burnout to success using a model she developed at American University’s School of Public Affairs and The Inquiry Institute.

Teaching That Changes Lives creates three-dimensional educators and students at a school that is struggling with change and with reaching unmotivated and troubled students. The teacher and paraprofessional in the classroom learn to alter their own mindsets and then how to help their students, and their colleagues, “switch lanes” from what Adams calls the Judger mindset to the Learner mindset, using a tool called The Choice Map.

Allegories that read like memoirs, even including comments about what the key players did after the story, need to make readers care about the people in the story. The book works because Adams makes the reader feel the pain, the struggle and the joy as the characters grow using her system. When readers finish the story, they feel as if they’ve seen the program in action and are eager for more details.

To meet that need, the book concludes with several chapters that provide the mindset tools mentioned in the title and encourages educators to try one or all of the tools to change the learning environments in their classrooms and schools. She includes probing questions to consider and to use for reflection as the tools are implemented. She also references a website readers can visit to see her demonstrate the core principles in a video.

Reviewed by Bob Schultz, adjunct faculty member, Brandman University, Irvine, Calif.


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