About Passionate Learners: Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students (eBook)
Read the Foreword by Diana Laufenberg at the Reviews tab above
Breaking the rules is scary within the public school system, no matter how few or many years you have taught. We are indoctrinated about how a traditional classroom should look, starting with our own school days and then on through college classes and early professional careers. When we bring new ideas, or even just trust our instincts, we often think that what we want to try will never really work.
Pressure from schools and districts to conform — from the government and the tests — and sometimes even from colleagues who want us all to just stay the same — none of that helps as we think about changing our practice. Sometimes we give up before we even make the attempt, because we are pretty sure the barriers and pushback will be insurmountable.
In Pernille Ripp’s own teaching practice, what she discovered was this: Even the smallest changes can make monumental differences. And then you keep on until you create something new. Trusting yourself and your students and sharing the power of the classroom with them can lead to great teaching and learning even within the boundaries of our confining standards, testing obsessions and mandatory curriculums.
In Passionate Learners: Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students, Pernille shares what and how she changed—and how her students changed with her. We learn about the little and not-so-little things she did over the course of a transformational year, so that she could shift the responsibility for learning – the joy and wonder of it – to the kids themselves.
"I believed that I knew exactly what the students needed, if only they would listen. Now I know that a classroom has to be vibrant for students to invest their time and effort. We cannot force children to learn. They have to discover things and be teachers too." -Pernille Ripp
Whether you are just beginning or well on your way in your teaching career, this book can inspire you to break rules, take risks, and eagerly pursue your journey toward a classroom filled with passionate learners.
At the very least, it will let you know that you are not alone when you think your secret thoughts—that there really are better ways to teach, and that others who believe the same thing want to connect with you to make it happen.
Note: you will receive this digital book in PDF and ePub formats. The PDF can be read easily on laptops and other devices and the ePub version is perfect for iPads & iPhones (using the free iBooks app) or Android devices (using the free Aldiko app).
Pernille Ripp is a 5th grade teacher in Middleton, Wisconsin, co-founder of EdCamp MadWI and creator of the Global Read Aloud Project. Follow her at Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension and on Twitter @pernilleripp.
Posted by Brian Annen on 13th Aug 2014
Pernille gives some great reminders about how to engage learners at such a critical time in education. As more testing and administrative work is being required by teachers, this book highlights some important tasks we can do to keep our kids at the center of our classrooms.
Posted by Unknown on 13th Aug 2014
I really enjoyed this book because it represented the handcuffs we put on new teachers through college training and "helpful advice" from friends. When this teacher freed herself to do what she felt in her gut was the best way to reach children, she became a better teacher and probably guaranteed herself a few more years on the job. By making the students in charge of learning, she is doing them a favor as well as herself.
Posted by Meg Ouellette on 4th Jul 2014
This book came at the right time. I have been following Pernille's blog for the past year. She is an inspiration to all teachers. Sometimes we get lost in the weeds. This book helps us to be better teachers. It is a book for new teachers as well as veteran teachers. I highly recommend this book.
Posted by Diana Laufenberg on 29th Apr 2014
Whenever I meet with Pernille Ripp, she gives me a sense that I am sitting with a kindred spirit.
We first met online a few years ago. It's how I meet many teachers these days. Luckily, I was able to spend some face to face time with her over the past two years. She is tireless, committed, and calls it like she sees it. When she mentioned that she was writing this book, I was thrilled. As a long-time reader of her blog, I knew that she has so much to share about the lessons she has learned in her classroom.
Passionate Learners is an important read for all people connected to teaching and learning. The narrative Pernille weaves is that of student, teacher and mother. Specifically, she makes transparent her own process of transformation as a teacher and lets us into the day to day life of a professional educator. While I believe all members of the educational ecology can benefit from reading Passionate Learners, this book holds a special power for the practicing teacher who looks at the faces of students every day, determined to create an engaging and caring learning environment.
Passionate Learners asks incredibly important questions of teachers. One of the most difficult pieces of the profession today is keeping up with the pace of change and adjusting classroom methods to reflect the tools and resources available now. Early on, the reader is challenged to consider one of the most important questions any teacher can be asked: Would you like being a student in your own classroom? Pernille’s own answer to this question cracked open the space to approach her students and the minutes of the day very differently. Her honesty and willingness to be changed is refreshing.
Passionate Learners also takes up the critical discussion about giving student voice a prominent role in the classroom. The days of students quietly sitting in rows and listening as the teacher talks are over. Pernille lays out exactly why and how a teacher must approach this important topic. She offers her reasoning for this necessary shift and provides practical examples and suggestions for achieving this goal of giving the classroom back to the students.
Giving up our total control of learning continues to be one of the toughest teacher conversations to have. Pernille has blazed a clear trail for us as we seek to honor student voice and choice and bring it into balance with our own classroom responsibilities.
Passionate Learners also considers the role of relationships with students as an integral part of any robust and healthy classroom. She recounts her own struggles to shift from teacher as lawgiver to teacher as relationship builder. This is not an easy transition and she heart-warmingly tells about her own journey, with its twists and turns, and how she found her way to a more caring and thoughtful environment.
Pernille does not pretend that these transitions are easy. Instead, she inspires us by laying bare the struggles that led her to a better place in her teaching practice AND how that professional transformation impacted the students in her care. What is glaringly apparent in Passionate Learners is the paramount importance that Pernille places on reflection as a core part of her professional growth. In each chapter, she invites us into her own thought processes and revelations as she considers her learning journey thus far. None of the work she has done over the past six years would have been possible without this deep and intentional reflection.
This book provides a framework to begin reflecting on our own classroom practices. It is complete with heartfelt stories, helpful suggestions for shifting our own practice, and the wisdom of an in-service teacher who recognizes the importance of sharing, connection and reflection as she continues to develop into a master educator.
We need more teachers in the world like Pernille, who question, challenge and sometimes break the rules – pushing all of us to be better versions of ourselves. She is a force to be reckoned with, and this book will give readers a close-up look at the energy and thoughtfulness she brings to all facets of her life.
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