A conversation with Kathleen Cushman and Shari Saunders.
What does it take for young people to get really good at something? Teenagers from diverse backgrounds explore that game-changing question in Fires in the Mind. As they describe what fuels (or quenches) their interest and effort, they offer exciting new perspectives on why students choose to engage and persist with challenging work. WKCD writer Kathleen Cushman—whose landmark book Fires in the Bathroom brought youth voices to the national stage—here asks adolescents and their teachers to think more deeply about how we develop mastery, both in and out of school.
Starting with what youth already know and do well, Fires in the Mind uses the latest research on cognition to help students and teachers together gain insight into motivation, practice, and the need for high standards. Filled with thought-provoking exercises and resources, this book lights new fires in the minds of both teachers and students, and galvanizes them toward more powerful learning for all.
Kathleen Cushman is a writer who has specialized in education and school reform for almost two decades. Her work has appeared in the Harvard Education Letter, Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, and many other national magazines. Cushman has been writer and editor of two school reform journals, Horace and Challenge Journal. She is the author or co-author of ten books, including Fires in the Mind, First in the Family (Next Generation Press, 2005, 2006), Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students (New Press, 2003), Schooling for the Real World with Adria Steinberg and Rob Riordan (Jossey-Bass, 2000) and The Real Boys Workbook, with William S. Pollack (Random House, 2001). She lives in New York City.
Shari Saunders is a clinical faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She has a master's degree in learning disabilities from Northwestern University and a PhD in education from the University of Virginia. She works with prospective teachers in the university classroom as well as in school sites. Her primary responsibility is facilitating the development of future K-12 teachers to become empowered educators who are committed to addressing educational issues that limit opportunities for all students to experience a quality education. Some of her areas of interest include: teacher education for social justice, preparing prospective teachers for advocacy and activism, whole child education, place-based education, school climate, school lunch reform, and restorative justice. She also has work experience in student affairs and multicultural faculty development.The Author's Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.
Additional sponsorship for this event provided by the U-M School of Education and Washtenaw Intermediate School District.