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Changing our minds - Naomi Fisher

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Changing our minds - how children can take control of their own learning
Naomi Fisher
Paperback / softback
UK Publication Date

Children are born full of curiosity, eager to participate in the world. They learn as they live, with enthusiasm and joy. Then we send them to school. We stop them from playing and actively exploring their interests, telling them it's more important to sit still and listen. The result is that for many children, their motivation to learn drops dramatically. The joy of the early years is replaced with apathy and anxiety.

This is not inevitable. We are socialised to believe that schooling is synonymous with education, but it's only one approach. Self-directed education puts the child back in control of their learning. This enables children, including those diagnosed with special educational needs, to flourish in their own time and on their own terms. It enables us to put wellbeing at the centre of education.

Changing Our Minds brings together research, theory and practice on learning. It includes interviews with influential thinkers in the field of self-directed education and examples from families alongside practical advice. This essential guide will give you an understanding of why self-directed education makes sense, how it works, and what to do to put it into action yourself.

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Dr Naomi Fisher is a clinical psychologist and EMDR consultant specialising in responses to trauma. She works with adults and children, including those with diagnoses of special educational needs. She has a PhD in Autism. She has hands-on experience raising two children as self-directed learners. Her writing has featured in The Psychologist, Tipping Points, The Green Parent, SEN Magazine, Juno and more.

If your child doesn't mesh well with school, this is the book you've been waiting for. Naomi expertly guides you through the wide world of learning, motivation, child behaviour, parenting culture, alternative schools and home education. Written in punchy, short and easily digestible sections, Changing Our Minds combines practical guidance, research-backed insights and reassuring stories that address parents' most frequent concerns about self-directed learning. Naomi writes with the precision of a scientist, the breadth of a journalist, the empathy of a mother, and the curiosity of a life-long learner. You will not be disappointed
Blake Boles, author of Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School? and founder of Unschool Adventures

Naomi Fisher seamlessly brings together scientific research, life experience and her own extensive personal and professional observations. She walks us gently through both the psychology and adventure of self-directed education.
An essential book for anyone with children who reject the confines of the school system, which will leave you exhilarated about the possibilities before you

Heidi Steel, former teacher turned unschooling parent, mentor and coach for unschooling families,

Dr Fisher has produced a readable, accessible and powerful call-to-arms for all those who know there must be another way when it comes to educating our children. Whether you are an educator or a parent, this book highlights not only the damage we are doing to children in the name of educating them, but also how things can be done differently. If the events of 2020 have taught us anything, it is that the process of education can change quickly and massively when it has to. This book will serve as further ammunition to those who want that revolution to keep going

Ian Gilbert, founder of Independent Thinking

This book ought finally to put paid to the defence of the existing paradigm of modern schooling. Naomi Fisher draws on her extensive psychological knowledge, as well as her experience as a mother of two children, to show that there is an alternative to the damaging effects of current educational practice. Children can - and do - take charge of their own learning and, with the right adult support, experience real education as opposed to narrow, test-driven schooling. Change is necessary and urgent - schooling is not fit for purpose and there are working exemplars of another way. And as Naomi shows, there is no use in patching up the current approaches - only radical, root-and-branch change will do. All parents need to pay attention to this message.
Dr Ian Cunningham, Founder of Self Managed Learning College, Sussex

If you're feeling uncertain about SDE [self-directed education], this book will dispel any fears. This book is helping to pave the way for a self-directed education for more children. I can't wait to share it with our network of families and educators who are thinking differently about education. It is one of the first books out there to describe self-directed education step-by-step. Naomi is helping to lay the groundwork for an education revolution.
Sally Hall, Freedom to Learn Network Lead, Phoenix Education

Naomi Fisher's book is gold dust. It is written for the growing number of parents who feel that 'school' is doing their children more harm than good. It reassures that in most cases the problem lies not with their child but with the controlling, coercive, competitive, test-driven, anxiety inducing experience of school. Fisher sets out, accessibly but with academic authenticity, the science that explains the inhibiting effect of many school regimes on the natural desire of children to learn. She gives courage to parents who conclude that enough is enough and who decide to withdraw their child - either to create a more self-directing environment at home or in a different kind of school. The book concludes with convincing case studies that show that 'education' and 'schooling' are not synonymous.
Derry Hannam, Retired Deputy Head, Inspector and Consultant in Education for Democracy and Human Rights

Changing Our Minds, by Dr Naomi Fisher, is an invitation to all of us to deschool ourselves and think anew about what is best for children. Touching on a range of topics from schooling to parenting to diversity, this clearly argued and compellingly written book is a must read for anyone who wants to conceptualise how schools can better meet children's needs.
Dr Rebecca English (PhD), Senior Lecturer in Education, Queensland University of Technology

Keyword Index
Self-managed learning.|Learning, Psychology of.
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