Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives

Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives

by Peter H. Johnston, Brenda Miller Power


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, February 26
30 New & Used Starting at $3.11


"Introducing a spelling test to a student by saying, 'Let's see how many words you know,' is different from saying, 'Let's see how many words you know already.' It is only one word, but the already suggests that any words the child knows are ahead of expectation and, most important, that there is nothing permanent about what is known and not known."
— Peter Johnston

Sometimes a single word changes everything. In his groundbreaking book Choice Words, Peter Johnston demonstrated how the things teachers say (and don't say) have surprising consequences for the literate lives of students. Now, in Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives, Peter shows how the words teachers choose affect the worlds students inhabit in the classroom, and ultimately their futures. He explains how to engage children with more productive talk and to create classrooms that support not only students' intellectual development, but their development as human beings.

Grounded in research, Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives shows how words can shape students' learning, their sense of self, and their social, emotional and moral development. Make no mistake: words have the power to open minds – or close them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571108166
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date: 01/28/2012
Pages: 152
Sales rank: 239,102
Product dimensions: 13.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 5 - 13 Years

About the Author

Peter Johnston grew up and taught elementary school in New Zealand before coming to the United States to earn his Ph.D. at the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois. At the time his plans did not include staying in the United States let alone getting married and raising a family. He now lives in Albany, New York, with his wife Tina, and a cat left behind by one of his (three) children returning briefly from college.

Peter's research and writing spring from his fascination with children's learning and, no less, teachers' teaching. Perversely, he believes that education is not simply about delivering information to children. He thinks it is more about building a just, caring society and that doing so will not detract from our more obviously pragmatic educational goals. In his most recent Stenhouse book, Choice Words, he uses his fascination with the relationship between language and learning to show how this works moment to moment in the classroom.

A professor at the State University of New York at Albany, Peter and his colleagues Becky Rogers and Cheryl Dozier recently researched their own teaching of beginning teachers in Critical Literacy/Critical Teaching: Tools for Preparing Responsive Teachers. Knowing Literacy, his most recent book on assessment, arose from his interest in the ways assessment teaching and learning are linked. His research on assessment has given him reason to be skeptical of high-stakes testing because of its effects on teaching and learning.

When asked to describe himself as a writer, he says that he "binges." While not recommended, this approach has resulted in some eight books and about fifty research articles, along with occasional awards from professional organizations. Some of this, of course, is accounted for by age. The departure of his youngest daughter into a teacher education program, along with his recent election to the Reading Hall of Fame, asserts his "old fart" status.

Beyond his family, research, soccer, singing, and humor sustain him. Failing that, a glass of chardonnay helps.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 Choosing Words, Choosing Worlds 1

Chapter 2 Learning Worlds: People, Performing, and Learning 9

Chapter 3 Changing Learning Narratives 25

Chapter 4 "Good Job!" Feedback, Praise, and Other Responses 35

Chapter 5 Any Other Ways to Think About That? Inquiry, Dialogue, Uncertainty, and Difference 51

Chapter 6 Social Imagination 67

Chapter 7 Moral Agency: Moral Development and Civic Engagement 81

Chapter 8 Thinking Together, Working Together 93

Chapter 9 Choice Worlds 111

Appendix A 125

Appendix B 127

Notes 129

Bibliography 139

Index 149

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
In this relatively slim volume, Johnston includes a wealth of ideas and techniques for teaching literacy and language skills in a more just, compassionate and socially responsible manner. He focuses on dialogic instruction—specifically on the language we use when we speak to and with students—and the value of using a dynamic learning frame that emphasizes every student’s ability to learn, grow, and develop not only cognitively and intellectually but also emotionally and socially. Johnston is interested in far more than “just teaching.” He believes that teachers have a responsibility for helping their students mature into responsible and concerned citizens who are equipped with the academic, social, and emotional skills to effect real change in the world. This book will benefit anyone interested in social justice education—that is to say, anyone who is interested in meaningful education.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book provides cited research and classroom examples of how language impacts student learning.