Sylvia Ashton-Warner (1908 - 1984)
Sylvia Ashton-Warner was born and educated in New Zealand. She developed a revolutionary teaching method while working with Maori children in British-run schools. Ashton-Warner created a classroom culture where individual words were valuable possessions, empowering students who had been chafing under an inelegant, traditional, rote method of learning. Her book Teacher is really about love, though, if you ask me
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian-American psychologist. His seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow—a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation.
R Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)
Richard Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist who wrote a wonderful forward for Education for Human Development, by Mario Montessori.
John Taylor Gatto (1935 - 2018)
John Taylor Gatto was voted New York State teacher of the year in 1991. He worked for 26 years as a New York City school teacher. A friend on the MONTESSORI-L discussion list mentioned him and I found a copy of one of his speeches online. It makes for powerful reading. Also: an excerpt from Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
John Caldwell Holt (1923 - 1985)
John Holt's book How Children Fail was first published in the mid 1960's, sparking an educational reform movement that continues to this day. I found this to be a stunning, thought-provoking book. Here's an excerpt.
Jonathan Kozol's words strike home, whether you teach in public schools or not. His books represent a clarion call to every educator and parent: Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, On Being a Teacher
Chris Mercogliano and the Albany Free School
Making It Up as We Go Along is the story of the Albany Free School, a school based on freedom, community, democratic principles, and authentic partnerships between teachers, students, and parents.
A. S. Neill (1883 - 1973)
Alexander Sutherland Neill was a Scottish educator and author known for his school, Summerhill, and its philosophy of freedom from adult coercion and its community self-governance. His book, Summerhill, is a fascinating read.
Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy had a significant influence on my teaching, especially in the modeling of self-governance for the students.
Lenore Skenazy is president of Let Grow, a non-profit promoting childhood independence and resilience, and founder of the Free-Range Kids movement. Free-Range Kids was an eye-opener, especially after I had children of my own.