A thoughtful look at addressing students’ emotional needs in a classroom setting.


A manual for empathic and trauma-informed teaching.

In her latest book, Desautels, an assistant professor in Indiana-based Butler University’s College of Education, builds on her work in Connections Over Compliance (2020) to offer a framework to create an effective learning environment for students while also optimizing teachers’ mental health. Drawing on applied educational neuroscience and polyvagal theory (which foregrounds the role of the vagus nerve on emotions and reactions to trauma), Desautels explains how to approach and maintain emotional regulation, help students achieve stability, and create a supportive environment that allows space for learning. The book encourages teachers to coregulate with students, modeling such behaviors as deep breathing, taking breaks, and mindfulness, while also understanding that the methods they find most useful may not be the ones their students prefer. Desautels addresses the specific problems that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the learning experience but reminds readers that there’s always been a need for welcoming approaches to teaching. The book responds to common objections to coregulating practices, including claims that they coddle students or reward bad behavior. The book includes several “Guest Reflections” by other teachers, which offer additional perspectives on trauma-informed teaching and provide concrete examples of implementing this book’s highlighted techniques. The writing is generally solid, explaining complex topics in relatively simple language. However, readers may find some of the book’s quirks grating, such as the excessive use of the term shares when introducing quotations, instead of says or writes. At times, the tone of the prose tends a bit toward melodrama: “The highly irrational middle school and high school TikTok challenges might have been driven by the developmental need for attachment to others, at the cost of an adolescent's need for authenticity.” On the whole, however, the book is informative, making a coherent argument for an emotionally intelligent approach to classroom engagement. Desautels acknowledges that her methods may require a fundamental shift in classroom management, but she persuasively presents the work as worthwhile.

A thoughtful look at addressing students’ emotional needs in a classroom setting.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781954332331

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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