Through lockdowns and physical distancing, the world of entertainment has provided many of us with comfort, escape, and companionship. What if we also looked to it for groundbreaking invention and technological change? In Wonderland, Steven Johnson introduces us to “the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.” As you meet these inventors and creators, consider his proposition: “You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.” If that is true, how can we ensure that the learner-centered movement is one of fun, joy, inspiration, and wonder?
The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain
Annie Murphy Paul
Mental, physical, social, and emotional needs. As learner-centered leaders, we know these all must be attended to if we are to create spaces for thriving, joyful learning. Yet, when we think of that learning and where it is happening, most of us probably go directly to what we assume is the main “source” for thinking and processing: the brain. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul is bringing the latest from neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and psychologists to challenge this assumption, calling attention to our “‘extra-neural’ resources—the feelings and movements of our bodies, the physical spaces in which we learn and work, and the minds of those around us.” A novel way to think about thinking both for ourselves and our young people, The Extended Mind invites us to “learn to take better advantage of the world outside our brains to improve the way we think and help our brains reach their full potential.”
The Human Element
Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal
When bringing a transformational vision to life, we are often met with criticism, skepticism, doubt, and sometimes, outright resistance. And, it can be easy to dismiss these naysayers, deciding they don’t have the best interests of our children in mind or are holding onto the status quo for reasons of greed or selfishness. Yet, when we sit down one-on-one with a skeptic and really listen to their concerns, fears, and worries, more often than not, we discover something new. In fact, they are coming to us with valid concerns that we should attend to in the work we are undertaking. Nordgren and Schonthal’s The Human Element takes a deep dive into how “to identify and disarm these forces of resistance…[and invite us to see how] the very Frictions that hold us back can be transformed into important catalysts for change.”
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
“So, what are your New Year’s resolutions?” How many times have you been asked that question already this year? Whether or not you’ve taken on any 2022 resolutions, entering a new year has a way of making all of us reflect on what’s going well and what we’d like to change in our lives. Yet, making changes to how we live can be incredibly challenging, especially as the ongoing pandemic makes our day-to-day all the more unpredictable and stressful. Luckily, James Clear has good news for us: “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system.” Said another way, your approach. In Atomic Habits, Clear offers tools and strategies to employ in changing your own habits and in helping your young people develop their capacity to build and hone the habits that will enable them to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives of their own.
A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life
Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein
There are many lenses through which to view and make sense of our world. Historical, sociological, anthropological, literary, ecological, economic, to name just a few. In A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, husband-and-wife team Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein suggest we consider our modern world and humanity’s place in it through a lens of evolutionary biology. Their assertion? “The modern world is out of sync with our ancient brains and bodies.” For example, they point to our biological need for community (for purposes of safety, health, and wellbeing) in a society of growing isolation. As we look to bring forth a new possibility for how education cares for, supports, and develops our young people, what lessons can we draw from these evolutionary biologists and the light they shed on our biological history?