Spencer Kagan in 1968 began an effort to promote interaction among students. He says it's all about engagement, has about a dozen books listed in Amazon.com on the subject and has an active web site for educators. His Kagan Structures transform how content is taught, producing positive outcomes in academic achievement, thinking skills, character virtues, race relations, emotional intelligence and affirmative attitudes toward learning.
He is involved with learning centers and workshops, promoting grouping strategies and cooperative learning. It is in the mechanism of teaching, not the content. For the student, learning becomes more fun and social skills are enhanced.
Tony Wagner has been a leader in educational innovation, and his book on Making the Grade: Reinventing America’s Schools (Routledge, 2003) and Change Leadership: A Practical Guide to Transforming our Schools (with Robert Kegan, et al, Jossey-Bass, 2006) stand out as prime movers. He is co-director (with Kegan) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Having served as teacher, principal and educational professor, but, more so, providing inspiration and vision, he certainly has the credentials and personality to lead the charge.
As he has on occasion come to Hawaii, I certainly would like to discuss with him how to best re-educate the one marshmallow child and upgrade gifted and talented programs. I wonder, too, how he feels about the “theory” that the future of the country is in good hands because our post-secondary educational system is so superior.