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Past Event

Making schools work: How the science of learning can help students thrive

Past Event

As the divide between resourced and under-resourced schools grows—greatly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—what’s working and what’s not in education has been debated many times over in popular media and academic publications around the world. Many communities are forced to use a “horse and buggy” model of education, operating according to a “factory model” that emerged in the early 20th century to mold students for the industrial economy.

How can a change in educational mindset—not curricula—help students both thrive in standardized tests and develop a breadth of 21st century skills?

Making Schools Work Book CoverOn November 9, the Center for Universal Education hosted an online event to discuss the release of the book “Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful Classroom Practice,” which was written by teachers, school administrators, and scientists to create a model that will work in classroom. Grounded in insights on how human brains learn, the book examines how to co-construct and reimagine an optimal educational system for all children that is culturally responsive, inclusive, effective, and fun. A panel discussion including book co-author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and leading colleagues offered rich insights through a scientific lens about how to make schools work, and cultivate joyful teaching and deeper student learning.

Viewers submitted questions via email to or via Twitter at #MakingSchoolsWork.


Framing remarks

Moderated discussion

Carol Lautenbach

Former Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Design - Godfrey-Lee Public Schools

Fellow - Steelcase Social Innovation Lab and Grand Rapids (MI) Community Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship

Robert Pianta

Dean - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia

Batten Bicentennial Professor of Early Childhood Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia

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