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Teaching the restless : one school's remarkable no-Ritalin approach to helping c
Mercogliano, Chris.
Adult Nonfiction LC4712 .M47 2003

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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. (Jan.) Forecast: While Mercogliano is describing experiences at one particular school, parents all over will find his critique of contemporary education provocative. Beacon plans a national publicity campaign and ads in education media. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This is Mercogliano's second book about the Albany Free School, a 50-student, independent, inner-city school for children ages two through 14 where he has taught for 30 years and been codirector since 1985. While his first book, Making It Up As We Go Along, examined the history and teaching style of the school, this book applies its core values to the 50 percent of the school's enrollment who have either used Ritalin or other behavioral medication in the past or who were slated to do so in a previous school. Mercogliano contends that children labeled as having ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) do not necessarily have organic brain abnormalities and need not be treated with drug therapy. He makes his case persuasively in a readable, anecdotal recounting of the academic year as observed through nine students. The result is an encouraging success story that demonstrates an alternative to the ever-growing use of drugs for ever-younger children and calls into question the basis for the diagnostic labeling and use of biopsychiatric pharmaceuticals in the classroom. Recommended for all public libraries.-Ari Sigal, Marion, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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