The inspirational stories of young learners in this book discredit assumptions behind recent educational reforms, including high stakes testing and No Child Left Behind policies. The experiences of the American Indian children and the author, a kindergarten teacher, challenge the widely held assumption that minority children enter school "at risk." Deficit theory assumes that minority children are responsible for their failure by cultural deficiency or family ineptitude. Fayden vividly shows how truly equitable treatment of minority children can improve students' inherent abilities to learn and can result in higher achievement for minority and all young children.
“Terese Fayden’s How Children Learn: Getting Beyond the Deficit Myth is a book that unfolds Fayden’s experience and analysis of her students’ acquisition of knowledge through their emergent writing, art, language use and development, and actions. Fayden’s book molds theory and practice rooted in a multicultural perspective. … Fayden’s critical look at teaching pedagogy will no doubt open people’s minds to look at their own teaching pedagogy. Teachers, trainers, practitioners, and researchers alike will find some interest in this book. All will find some sliver of information in that culture is a pathway, not an obstruction, to learning.”
—Teachers College Record
“Fayden’s story is an inspiring one of hope, embedded in the poignant detail of her classroom, and eliciting possibilities for all who have taught at this level. A reading of this book will provide a powerful counter-message for all teachers who have been told that the family values and culture of their students are obstacles to learning.”
—Henry M. Levin, Columbia University
“Fayden provides a thought-provoking pedagogical framework that is sure to get teachers to think more critically about their pedagogy and to begin to imagine a more humanistic and emancipatory education for all students.”
—Lilia I. Bartolome, University of Massachusetts, Boston