Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed

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9780807032572: Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed
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ducator Chris Mercogliano has been working with hyperactive (ADHD) children for many years at the Free School in Albany, New York, and has developed numerous ways to help these students relax, focus, modulate emotional expression, make responsible choices, and forge lasting friendships-all prerequisites for learning. In Teaching the Restless, Mercogliano uses the stories of six boys and three girls to share valuable lessons, offering a way to work with these children without assigning them labels or resorting to the use of stimulant drugs like Ritalin.

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About the Author:

Chris Mercogliano has been a teacher at the Albany Free School since 1973 and codirector since 1985. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, and he is the author of Making It Up As We Go Along. Mercogliano lives in Albany, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

Mercogliano (Making It Up As We Go Along) has 30 years of experience in a "privately funded, freedom-based inner-city" alternative school for children ages two to 14 in Albany, N.Y. Half of the 50 students have had behavioral problems in their previous schools, for which medications such as Ritalin have been prescribed or recommended. The Free School doesn't use drugs, asserting that every child is unique, and that the school must be run as a true community with the emotional health not the test scores of each child paramount. At the Free School, children choose what they want to learn and where in the school to spend their time. Freedom works: "kids learn faster and more easily when the motivation comes from inside them [and] behave better when they are expected to be responsible for themselves and for each other." This is especially true for children with a history of oppositional behavior. When a child disrupts a class or disrespects another student, anyone in the school community can convene a "Council Meeting" of the entire school to handle the problem. While teachers, parents and professionals work surreptitiously to address more fundamental problems e.g., absent parents, harsh disciplinary styles at home, etc. the school community teaches children that behavior has very real consequences. This laid-back approach to academics, where teachers wait for the right "mental weather" rather than push children to read or do math before they're ready, may be hard for some parents to accept, but Mercogliano makes a strong case against medicating these children into submission.
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