SQUARE PEG by L. Todd Rose


My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers
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A “memoir and a manifesto” by the co-chair of the Harvard Graduate School Institute Connecting Mind, Brain and Education, who references his own experiences as a high school dropout to make the case for a much-needed learning revolution.

Assisted by Ellison (Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, 2010, etc.), Rose describes how he was labeled as an incorrigible troublemaker by the age of 13, when he detonated stink bombs in class. Even as a preschooler he was a problem child, bullying his younger siblings. The author explores his boredom, distraction and difficulty concentrating on schoolwork. His impulsive, destructive behavior alienated his peers as well as school authorities. A diagnosis of ADHD and the prescription of Ritalin (which he refused to take regularly) did little to solve his problem. Rose writes that he was caught in a negative feedback loop, failing in school and bullied by other children. While he traces his problems to underlying neurological problems—a poor short-term memory exacerbated by stress and differences in how his brain processed dopamine—the school system in his community failed to deal with his special needs. Only when his parents moved to another town was he able to begin the difficult process of getting his life on the track to an academic career in the application of advances in biological and cognitive sciences to education. Fundamentally, these are based on using modern technology to allow students to individualize their learning experience with the guidance of their teacher. For example, dyslexic students can use learning aids such as text-to-speech programs (with headphones), and those with problems following complicated instructions can get step-by-step reminders.

An inspiring personal story, but unfortunately, the author relegates his pioneering new methods to a short epilogue.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4013-2427-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2012


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