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Redefining Smart

Redefining Smart
Awakening Students’ Power to Reimagine Their World

June 2015 | 176 pages | Corwin

Equip Your Students To Create Their Own Intellectual Destiny! 

The best educators are the ones who empower students to ask intelligent questions and persistently seek the answers, stepping in only when necessary. 

Fostering rigorous, inquiry-based learning requires consistent systems backed by research and data. And these are precisely what you’ll find in this book, which details:

  • A groundbreaking new approach to content delivery and instruction, geared towards maximizing student discovery, deep thought, exploration, and creativity 
  • Why educators must let go of student IQ as a concept that influences teaching methods in any way 
  • How to create a protocol-driven environment that fosters deep sharing and reflection 

With this book, you can give your students the two greatest gifts possible: Intellectual confidence and a growth mindset. 

"An urgent call for redefining educational outcomes and a compelling argument for personalization of education.  Markham convincingly explains why education is much more than developing cognitive skills and proposes practical ways to cultivate what matters."

Yong Zhao, Director,
Institute of Global and Online Education, University of Oregon

"This book will resonate with teachers. Joyful learning that engages both heart and brain is not in opposition to today’s rigorous standards. As Markham explains, students will not be prepared to tackle the challenges ahead unless they learn to think, collaborate, communicate, and feel. This book outlines practical steps to create the culture of inquiry that all children deserve."

Suzie Boss
Author of Bringing Innovation to School and Edutopia blogger


Preface: Be the Change You Want to See: Or, Why This Book Is Different
I. Making Children Smarter
1. Be Future-Ready: Entering a Relationship-Driven World
2. Let Go of IQ: Why Beliefs Limit Intelligence
3. Follow the Child: The "It" Factor
4. Reconnect Heart and Brain: Why Love Matters
II. Aligning School and Smart
5. Leverage the Power of Care: From Teacher to Mentor
6. Rethink Rigor: Preparing for Deeper Learning
7. Be a Co-Learner: Coaching Intelligent Behaviors
8. Put Thinking First: Teacher as Designer
9. Follow the Gamers: The Creative Mindset
10. Tap the Future of Smart: Making Collaboration the Norm
Afterword: Become an Agent of Change: Twelve East Ways to Contribute to the Conversation

"This is a ground-breaking book, and should be required for new and practicing teachers. Redefining Smart effectively introduces educators to the world of self-directed learning through the lens of how we ourselves must change as educators. The author has captured the essence of contemporary neuroscience, pedagogy, and cultural shifts and woven them into a cohesive and compelling image of who each of us could become if we redefine ‘smart.’"

Carol Spencer, Director of Curriculum
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union

"Thom Markham passionately engages all students in a positive manner using individualized Inquiry-Based Learning techniques. He includes rigor and relevance as well as extensive research."

Susan L. Harmon, Science and FACS Teacher
Neodesha Junior/Senior High School

"Every idea in this book is critical for educators: from the idea of a classroom functioning as an ecosystem, to addressing creativity, to encouraging and learning from failure, to the ideas of collaboration."

Melissa Weatherwax, Elementary Teacher
Poestenkill Elementary School

"In Redefining Smart, Thom Markham reflects on the latest research in psychology, medicine, sociology, physics, social media, and business to articulate a clear vision for K-12 education.   He synthesizes what we have learned in the past fifty years about human growth, productivity, and creativity to challenge educators at every level to break the mold of an outdated industrial paradigm and systematically rebuild the learning model for today’s and tomorrow’s students and world citizens. On every page he offers convincing evidence, cogent arguments, and actionable next steps for educators, parents, and community leaders who hear his clarion call for system-wide reinvention. This book should be read, discussed, argued about, and referenced by everyone who cares about our children enjoying full citizenship in an increasingly interconnected and dynamic global community. Put it on your short list of must reads."

Frank Livoy, Associate Director
Delaware Center for Teacher Education
Key features
  • Guides educators in engaging in inwardly reflective personal growth in order to develop an agile, communicative, collaborative, and creative self as a means to work with and influence others
  • A Moving Forward section at the end of each chapter offering educators concrete steps they can take to rethink intelligence, instruction, and their role as educators.
  • Reflection Questions for each chapter to encourage educators to stop and think and actively reflect on their current patterns of thinking
  • An Afterword offering suggestions and resources for how to become agents of change

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506301709

ISBN: 9781483358963

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