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Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education

Sam Chaltain (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-91014-6
160 pages
February 2011, Jossey-Bass
Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education (0470910143) cover image


Inspirational stories of engaging, real-life educational experiences

Everyone has a personal learning story, a time when they became actively engaged in their own education. Maybe it was an especially challenging teacher, or a uniquely supportive environment, or a collaborative classroom. In Faces of Learning, both well-known public figures, such as Arne Duncan and Al Franken, and ordinary Americans recall the moments when they truly learned something.

  • Includes stories from people of all different backgrounds and from all over the country
  • The stories are grouped into categories by theme like "relevant" and "experiential" to help reveal the common characteristics of what works in education
  • Each chapter ends with five things you can do to improve your own learning, that of your students, and of all Americans
Readers can visit the companion website www.facesoflearning.net to share their own stories of educational success and find out what else they can do.
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Table of Contents



1. Jenna Fournel (Alexandria, Virginia).

2. Mark Rockeymoore (Montreal, Quebec).

3. Jan Resseger (Cleveland, Ohio).

4. Gloria Ladson-Billings (Madison, Wisconsin).

5. Lore a Goodwin (Washington, DC).

6. Bruce Deitrick Price (Virginia Beach, Virginia).

7. Arne Duncan (Washington, DC).

8. Angela Valenzuela (Austin, Texas).

9. Carl Glickman (Athens, Georgia).

10. Andrew Margon (Brooklyn, New York).

Challenging: Five Things You Can Do.


11. Renee Moore (Cleveland, Mississippi).

12. Amy Estersohn (Chicago, Illinois).

13. Maritza Brito (Brick, New Jersey).

14. Kevin McCann (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

15. Margaret Owens (Palo Alto, California).

16. Larry Mya (Boston, Massachusetts).

17. John Goodlad (Seattle, Washington).

18. Sitembiso Ncube Maduma (San Bernardino, California).

19. Elijah Cummings (Baltimore, Maryland).

20. Jill Vialet (Oakland, California).

Engaging: Five Things You Can Do.


21. Al Franken (Washington, DC).

22. Jenifer Fox (Austin, Texas).

23. Michelle Durange (Littlestown, Pennsylvania).

24. Zainab Ali (Los Angeles, California).

25. Susan Oliver (Waterford, Virginia).

26. Gary Cohen (Wayzata, Minnesota).

27. Chantale Soekhoe (Brooklyn, New York).

28. Emily Gasoi (Washington, DC).

29. Cassandra Carland (Keene, New Hampshire).

30. Carrie A. Rogers (Rancho Cucamonga, California).

Supportive: Five Things You Can Do.


31. R. Dwayne Betts (Washington, DC).

32. Robert McLaughlin (Concord, New Hampshire).

33. Deborah Meier (Hillsdale, New York).

34. Jamal Fields (Livermore, California).

35. Jenerra Williams (Boston, Massachusetts).

36. Patrick Ip (Chicago, Illinois).

37. Gerlma A. Johnson (Detroit, Michigan).

38. Anonymous.

39. Ahniwake Rose (Washington, DC).

40. James Comer (New Haven, Connecticut).

Relevant: Five Things You Can Do.


41. Joel Ellio (Limpopo Province, South Africa).

42. Terry Pickeral (Bellingham, Washington).

43. Elizabeth Rogers (South Portland, Maine).

44. Steve Moore (Kansas City, Missouri).

45. Jill Davidson (Providence, Rhode Island).

46. Rachel Barnes (Chatham, Massachusetts).

47. Stedman Graham (Chicago, Illinois).

48. Stephen Vick (Chicago, Illinois).

49. Liz Lerman (Baltimore, Maryland).

50. Maya Soetoro-Ng (Honolulu, Hawaii).

Experiential: Five Things You Can Do.


Ted Sizer (Harvard, Massachusetts).

About the Editor.

About the Campaign.


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Author Information

Sam Chaltain (www.samchaltain.com) is a Washington DC-based writer, educator, and strategic consultant. Sam has also been a classroom teacher; the national director of the Forum for Education and Democracy, an education advocacy organization devoted to restoring the public purpose of public education; and the founding director of the Five Freedoms Project, a national program that helps K-12 principals create more democratic learning communities. He is the author and coauthor of several books, including American Schools: The Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community.
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Press Release

February 18, 2011
Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education


50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education

Greatness, intelligence and personal power are all qualities that teachers can and have inspired in their students.  Teachers are change-makers who can encourage their students be their best selves.  Everyone has a story of a time that they faced a challenge and they turned to a teacher who taught them how to access their own personal power and succeed.

In FACES OF LEARNING: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; February 2011; $19.95; Cloth; ISBN: 978-0-470-92024-6) by Sam Chaltain people like Al Franken share their stories of true learning.  Whether it was reading Shakespeare or climbing to the top of a mountain all contributors reflect upon the power of knowledge, and these insights exemplify what powerful learning is and what’s needed to achieve it.

Diane Ravitch, of The Death and Life of the Great American School System, said “The stories in Faces of Learning remind us of that central truth, and of the difference that teachers make, and how their influence extends far beyond simple scores to shape people’s lives.”

 Readers will discover the elements of impactful teaching and learning through this collection of inspirational personal learning stories from around the country.  Additionally, they’ll learn how they can apply them to their own education experiences and be part of the conversation about improving education in America.

As part of a grassroots coalition of organizations, Chaltain first started collecting people's learning stories in September of 2009 to engage the public in a thoughtful consideration of what powerful learning and highly-effective teaching actually look like. Now, the Faces of Learning campaign (facesoflearning.net) is collecting thousands more personal learning stories, staging public dialogues in cities across the country, and seeding a national discussion about how to improve public education.

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