None of the educators in these four TED Talks may use the term "powerful learning" to describe how they inspire children to dig deep and flourish. But their approaches—vastly different—achieve just that. We figured they'd make a provocative set of "listens," sure to stimulate thought and discussion.

Belonging and Becoming: Our New Book with Harvard Education Press

"In this engaging new book, Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman capture five compelling cases, teaching us that thoughtful, purposeful integration of social and emotional learning combined with rigorous project-based learning results in high levels of academic achievement, strong attendance, low dropout rates, and a high percentage of students going to college." — Ellen Moir, CEO, New Teacher Center

"When educators ask me for practical advice about how to enhance the social, emotional, and academic development of high school students, I will urge them to read, discuss, and implement powerful strategies from this book. Belonging and Becoming is a game-changer that can improve the educational experiences, learning, and development of millions of high school students." — Roger P. Weissberg, chief knowledge officer, CASEL

ORDER [paper, 248 Pages Pub. Date: September 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-851-1 Price: $31.00]

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The Displaced

Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes by war and persecution—more than at any time since World War II. Half are children. This New York Times multimedia journey in text, photographs and virtual reality tells the stories of three of these children: Oleg in Ukraine, Chuol in South Sudan, and Hana in Lebanon. Where does their resilience come from? Or perhaps resilience is a concept supplied by adults, Jake Silverstein of the Times writes, who would like to believe that children will overcome the terrible experiences we foist upon them.

Youth Voices on a Post-2015 World

This UN-sponsored report is the result of consultations with diverse groups of young people in 12 countries—including young people living in poverty, conflict or post- conflict situations, and those living far from global decision-makers. Heading the list of issues most critical to the youth were equality and freedom. "I see a world where equality is everyone, everywhere, every day," one participant said. Other top issues included fair, responsible, and accountable government; environmental stability; the right to be healthy; peace; and quality education.

Unequal Education Revisited

In 1992, youth at NYC's Educational Video Center produced Unequal Education for national PBS Series, “Listening to America with Bill Moyers.” Their film revealed the stark contrast in resources and opportunities offered to students in two Bronx middle schools—one in a middle-class area and one in a low-income community—in the same district. More than twenty years later, the crew reunited to produce Unequal Education Revisited, bearing witness to the long-term impact that inequities plaguing our society—in education, justice, and healthcare—have on those struggling to survive.

Youth Voices for Justice Rise at Rally

The "Justice or Else" gathering held before hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall on October 10 featured the voices of emerging new leadership in America. Many said the overwhelming success of the gathering had the footprint of youth all over it. In fact, what was striking at the demonstration was the absence of traditional civil rights leaders. The diversity of the young audience participating in the rally included not only Native and Latino faces, but also Asian, African, and the Caribbean. And despite the hue of their skin, many of them wore shirts that read, “Black Lives Matter,” a movement that played an important role in the rally.


In Our Global Village: Youth Documenting Their Communities

Four years after Hurricane Katrina, sixth-graders in a New Orleans classroom gather to list what makes their city unique. A world away, at a community school in the jungles of Nepal, youth of all ages share pictures of their families and homes, in the first two chapters of a book they are creating. What happens when young people are invited to tell their community’s stories? A lot, we've learned. In the past decade, WKCD has helped youth across the globe capture daily life in the places they live. The In Our Global Village series now includes over 60 such books, from youth on five continents. A virtual library, curated by WKCD, gives a worldwide audience to their images and words.

Teachers at Work: Six Exemplars of Everyday Practice

What does teaching look like when it truly centers on the student’s learning needs? What conditions foster and support such teaching? What kind of learning environments give all students, and especially underserved youth, access to an education that results in the skills, knowledge, and habits they will need for a successful and productive adult life in our rapidly changing world? For answers, WKCD's Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman turned to six schools that, each in its own way, are exemplars of student-centered learning. The resulting paper, part of Jobs for the Future's Students at the Center initiative, also appears as a chapter in Anytime, Anywhere (Harvard Education Press, 2013). Download PDF

This collection of short videos, assembled by WKCD, shines a light on how character and grit contribute to student success. Experts in the field—Angela Duckworth and Paul Tough—share their research and experiences. Two New York City school principals talk about teaching character skills and grit in the classroom. High school students talk about persistence, part of WKCD's "Just Listen" series, and an Indiana University basketball player, speaking after his last game as a senior, describes and thanks all of the people who helped him believe in himself, on and off the basketball court. Discussion questions follow each video.

Growth Mindset and Why It Matters

Few ideas about learning have made their way as quickly into the lexicon of educators as growth mindset. WKCD has assembled five short videos that provide a lively introduction to growth mindset and why it matters, for students as well as teachers. At the end of each video we offer suggestions for activities and assignments, for use by teachers (as part of a professional development workshop) and by students (as part of their classroom learning). We encourage you to browse through the presentation and pick those videos that work for your situation and audience—and to amend the suggested activities.

Student and Youth Voice: Asking, Listening, and Taking Action

When WKCD embraced student voice as part of our guiding principles in 2001, the idea that youth should be welcomed as crucial investors in improving their schools and communities had few advocates. The research on the power of student engagement was commensurately sparse. To us, however, it made gut sense to privilege student and youth voice and vision. So for thirteen years WKCD has supported youth as collaborators: in our books and other publications (e.g., our “Fires” series); in survey projects nationwide; in more than 75 grants to student research groups across the globe; and in the feature stories we produce for this website. Here is an inventory of some of what we've created with youth as partners.


iAdvocate: Making the City Livable for Aging New Yorkers

Is New York City a good place to grow old? What issues do seniors face that are neglected by the city? And, what can community members, politicians, activists—and young people—do to make the city more livable for New York’s oldest citizens? These are the questions students in Ms. Barber’s government class at NYC iSchool asked as they set out to raise awareness about the challenges that impact NYC’s elderly. They worked alongside a local intergenerational program (DOROT), with support from WKCD's Youth Research for Actin program. Elderly abuse, elderly scamming, education (beginning with how to use smart phones), and transportation were the top issues, they learned. Course/project syllabus | Student letters to politicians about the issues | PSAs | DOROT report

Transforming East Chicago: A Youth Survey by Greenhouse Fellowship

In East Chicago, Indiana and hundreds of declining cities like it, leaders from businesses, churches, and schools struggle to understand and fix the problems afflicting their neighborhoods. Rarely do they engage the one group with the most hope and the greatest ability to adapt: young people. The Greenhouse Fellowship, started by recent East Chicago high school graduates, decided to do just that. Last spring they surveyed over 1,500 youth across the city about the opportunities they needed most. A $2,000 WKCD Youth Research for Action grant supported their work. Greenhouse Fellows' final report and recommendations for city leaders (PDF) | Survey questions (PDF)

Stress Among Dual Enrollment Students: Thriving or Surviving?

For dual enrollment students, managing school pressures, career decisions, family responsibilities, and after school and summer jobs, while simultaneously enrolled in college, can be—well—intense. This past year, a group of dual enrollment students at Florida State College at Jacksonville, with support from WKCD's Youth Action Research program, tackled the stress factor head on. Drawing on surveys and interviews with their dual enrollment peers, they explored the impacts of stress and strategies for managing it. (The survey questions the team developed about academic stress could easily be adapted to be used in a variety of settings.) Booklet on dual enrollment stress | Prezi presentation | Video on dual enrollment and stress | Survey questions (PDF)




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Fires in the Mind

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