With the end of 2022 just around the corner, we asked several Macmillan Learning leaders what their favorite blog was this past year and why they enjoyed it. With nearly 50 to choose from, the answers varied as much as the blogs themselves. Favorites included interviews with authors, highlights from our research on equity in education, the impact of our Employee Resource Groups and more.
Take a look at some of the Learning Stories blogs that struck a chord. We look forward to sharing new Learning Stories with you in the coming year!
It was hard to choose just one. While this year’s most useful and tangible deals with active learning strategies, I decided to choose the one that featured our author Dr. Eric Chiang because it didn’t get as much attention as it deserved to. In particular, I like how he relates his travel experiences to writing and teaching. Encouraging students to gain a better understanding of the human experience -- no matter which society, ethnicity or nationality -- couldn’t be more important.
Dr. Cannon notes that Toni Morrison's Beloved played an important role in her education, introducing her to African American novels--Beloved was also my inspiration to take an undergraduate course that centered on the great African American women novelists! I especially appreciated Dr. Cannon's point in her blog that reading from diverse perspectives is the most powerful way to introduce students to important DEI concepts: "How can we expect students to know or understand things which they haven’t experienced or perceived?" Based on Dr. Cannon's recommendation, Kiese Laymon's Heavy is at the top of my reading list for 2023!
In this blog, David Berri notes that there is a long history of girls and women being explicitly banned from sports. Though the discrimination he describes is one that we can see playing out on our televisions and iPhones on a daily basis, the reality is bigger than just that. The discrepancy between the treatment of and pay differential between men and women transcends sports. It’s a topic that I care about deeply and is one of the many reasons why I’m so passionate about the work that I get to do at Macmillan Learning.
There have been so many moments where I have keenly felt the import and gravity of what we do as an educational publisher; why working to ensure that learners have the opportunity to engage, question, and explore diverse perspectives matters so much to our society. When we witnessed legislation passing in nearly 20 states that restricted content, banning books and learning materials due to coverage of specific topics, I felt it viscerally.
This post, in response to those attacks, filled me with pride and purpose. It was a powerful statement about our commitment to free speech and our unwavering belief in our authors, in classrooms remaining secure learning environments, and the inherent human dignity of every person. “We promote the free exchange of ideas, oppose censorship, and denounce efforts that place politics ahead of pedagogy.” Yes. Just yes.
Inclusion is a choice we make every day is one of our core values, and giving LGBT employees a sense of belonging is critical to achieve this goal. Through outreach, allyship, mentorship and social community we continue to embrace diversity in the ML community. We also must ensure the students who use our products are able to see their authentic selves reflected in the materials we publish, and we want to ensure the creation of those materials have input from people with LGBTQIA+ lived experience. Project Open Books is a small way of ensuring that everyone can see themselves in content no matter what age.
Community. Education. Opportunity. At no other time during my twenty plus year tenure at Macmillan Learning has our responsibility to the classroom to educators to students and to our communities been both greater and more achievable. We have broadened the ways that we can reach students from its foundation in helping students acquire new knowledge and skills to being a catalyst for deeper inquiry, contributing to their sense of belonging in their educational journey, and through our authors' works and digital products helping them aspire to achieve what is possible in their lives. Each of these themes lives in the words that Coltrane Stansbury shares in his moving Learning Stories blog about revisiting the Trenton, NJ neighborhood of this youth.
I appreciate this blog post because it illustrates so much of what I value from Coltrane and the friendship that we have developed since he came to Macmillan Learning, from stories we have shared over a memorable lunch in Newark last summer to the collaboration we have had chairing the DEI Executive Committee: an unflappable focus on the positive influence that we have and may further develop with individuals, families, and communities through the work that we do every day at Macmillan Learning.
To me paying attention to student metacognition is a bet on early learner enablement and ultimately empowering learners. Supporting implicit and explicit means of supporting metacognition in our platform and products I think demonstrates ML's commitment to the learner. On top of this, I believe metacognition helps build identity for a learner, allowing them to internalize learning outcomes and overall academic success as part of themselves. Best quote "It’s completely normal to struggle."
Growing up with a mentally handicapped sister, this blog really hit home for me. I know firsthand that having more information available to demystify how to interact with people with disabilities would have been wildly helpful for her. As we continue learning how to become more supportive of our colleagues with differences, we are not only expanding the opportunities available to the disabled community but also enriching our perspectives beyond our own. Favorite quote: "Many of the strategies for working with autistic employees are generally good management tips and advice for working with all types of employees."
As the author of many Learning Stories blogs, it’s difficult to choose a favorite. But if I had to pick, it would be this one. We created the author spotlight series this year to showcase not only the breadth and depth of knowledge of our brilliant authors, but their passion for learning and teaching. Our authors are what makes our textbooks so special, and each of them took a different path to get to where they are today. It was a delight getting to better know our Biology: How Life Works Author Jim Morris, and discover more about his incredible and unexpected career.