A Pedagogical Design for Human Flourishing : Transforming Schools with the McCallister Model book cover
1st Edition

A Pedagogical Design for Human Flourishing
Transforming Schools with the McCallister Model

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 29, 2022
ISBN 9780367458591
March 29, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
464 Pages 95 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In A Pedagogical Design for Human Flourishing: Transforming Schools with the McCallister Model, Cynthia McCallister presents a revolutionary paradigm for education that is practical, conceptually convincing, and grounded in contemporary behavioral science theory. Beginning with the assertion that equality of educational opportunity depends on access to experiences that are sufficiently appropriate and rich to enable the achievement of diverse human potentials, she provides a comprehensive school design for intervention that demonstrates how to achieve it. Grounded in recent advances in learning science, McCallister asserts three necessary conditions for learning: the need for learners to have access to diverse, rich environmental experiences; the need for them to enjoy fundamental freedom and autonomy to direct their own learning; and access to full and free forms of association. In her model, these conditions provide what is necessary for learners to coordinate their minds with others to develop their identities, personalities, and talents. These conditions are animated in concrete procedures that can be adapted to a wide variety of populations in formal, informal, and remote educational settings. The procedures take the form of rules that learners comply with in the exercise of their freedom. When they are followed, the rules provide a grammar for the social norms that govern the moral worlds of learners and compel them to flourish. Tested over two decades in her work as a teacher, scholar, and school reformer in more than 20 NYC public schools, the McCallister Method has delivered an innovative and disruptive approach to schooling that has proven successful in finally transforming low-performing industrial schools into 21st-century learning organizations.

Online support material includes assessments, records, surveys, and more to be used in school design and classroom settings.

Table of Contents

Section I: Background;  1: Schooling the Possible Self: Introduction to a Learner-centered Educational Model;  2: The schools we have;  3: A Positive Learning Paradigm ;  Section II: Practice: A pedagogy for the self;  4: The McCallister Method: Program Design;  5.1: Sparks: A Learner-facing Personalized Curriculum ;  5.2: The Activity Inventory ;  6: The Cultural Capital Curriculum ;  7: The Learning Environment and the Work Time Format;  8: Lessons;  9: The Learning Conference Format;  10: The Learning Share Format;  11: The Writing Conference Format;  12: The Writing Share Format;  13: The Pretend Play Format;  14: The Cooperative Unison Reading Format;  15: The Learning Teams Format;  16: The Integrative Math Format;  17: The Language Games Format;  18: Keepers of the Culture: The Social Norms Curriculum;  19: The Academic and Behavior Intervention Formats;  Section III: Systems: The school ecosystem;  20: Whole-school Transformation: The Ecosystem Design;  21: The Assessment Program;  22: The Civil Rights Program;  23: The Community Education Program;  24: The Curriculum Program;  25: The School Culture Program;  26: The Training Program;  Section IV: Existence Proofs;  27: There are learning cultures;  28: Transforming a large NYC high school;  29: The Urban Assembly’s McCallister-Learning Cultures Initiative;  30. The "Rise of the Phoenix";  31: Conclusion: Shapes

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Cynthia McCallister is an Associate Professor in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University.


"In this work Cynthia McCallister draws from a rich palette of theory and practice, and with a fine bristle brush paints for us a detailed, rigorous, and coherent picture for designing schools as learning cultures. The emphasis on relational process in learning is particularly compelling, and the applicability of the design is impressive."

Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Swarthmore College

"Cynthia McCallister's original and widely tested design for classroom learning  
activities, ‘Learning Cultures,’ meets the mandates of the school curriculum while allowing learners the freedom necessary for them to take responsibility for  
their own learning."

David R. Olson, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto

"Dr. McCallister has designed an approach to literacy education that is highly effective and generating impressive results at the schools where it has been implemented.  In her approach, Learning Cultures, not only do students do more reading and writing, they also learn how to collaborate and provide each other with constructive feedback.  For educators and researchers who are looking for ways to enhance literacy and learning in schools this book will be a tremendous resource." 

Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D.

Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean

University of Southern California Rossier School of Education

"As a geneticist interested in education, I didn’t expect to like Learning Cultures. Genetics research shows that differences in the schools we have don’t make much of a difference in children’s achievement. However, I am impressed with Cynthia McCallister’s book because it fits so well with my findings on the genetic individuality of children in how well they learn. Based on McCallister’s extensive educational experience, Learning Cultures describes practical formats and social norms that give children the freedom they need to discover their appetites and aptitudes."

Robert Plomin, Ph.D.

Medical Research Council Research Professor in Behavioural Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Kings College London

"After more than two decades of action research in NYC K-12 schools, Cynthia McCallister now offers an innovative education model based on what is known about how children learn and how schools operate in large, bureaucratic systems. Her whole-school model, proven to raise achievement in multiple NYC schools, holds promise to address the urgent problem of substantive school reform." 

Shael Polakow-Suransky, M.Ed.

President, Bank Street College of Education

Former Deputy Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

"Cynthia McCallister has achieved something very rare: a design for educational curricula (and their institutionalization) that is firmly grounded in research and theory from developmental psychology. She grounds her educational proposals in what is scientifically known about the nature of children's learning and cognitive development, especially the important role of cooperative social interaction and classroom culture. This book should be mandatory reading for all educators."

Michael Tomasello, Ph.D.

James F. Bonk Distinguished Professor

Duke University