In Teaching the Restless, Chris Mercogliano issues an urgent call for a shift in how our society perceives hyperactive children—away from theories of faulty brain chemistry and toward an understanding of children’s lives.
Mercogliano is the former Director of the Albany Free School in Albany, New York. There, he and his faculty developed numerous ways to help hyperactive children relax, focus, modulate emotional expression, make responsible choices, and forge lasting friendships—all prerequisites for learning-without assigning pathological labels to the children or resorting to the use of biopsychiatric drugs.
Teaching the Restless profiles a handful of Free School students, six boys and three girls. All were either labeled and drugged in their previous schools, or would have been had they not thrown in their lot with the Free School. Speaking both to parents who worry that their kids cannot attend classes without drugs and to educators who wonder how to best teach these hyperactive kids, Teaching the Restless should bring new hope into an overcharged debate.
Chris Mercogliano was a teacher at the Albany Free School since 1973, and Director since 1985. His writing has appeared in numerous publications and he is the author of Making It Up As We Go Along. He lives in Albany, New York.
Mercogliano makes a strong case against medicating these children into submission… While [he] is describing experiences at one particular school, parents all over will find his critique of contemporary education provocative. —From Publishers Weekly
This powerful tale gives us an up-close look at what is possible for America’s schoolchildren when we choose not to drug them into silence. —Yehuda Fine, family therapist and author of Times Square Rabbi
A wonderful contribution to the growing literature on the sad practice of labeling and drugging America’s free spirits. Chris Mercogliano sees past the scientific jargon and deficit-ridden orientation of the ADD/ADHD paradigm, and reveals with great humanistic sensibility the passionate worlds of active kids who don’t fit into the tight little boxes of most American classrooms. —Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., author of The Myth of the A.D.D. Child