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The Age of Identity

The Age of Identity
Who Do Our Kids Think They Are . . . and How Do We Help Them Belong?

  • Dennis Shirley - Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA, Boston College, USA
  • Andy Hargreaves - Boston College, USA, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, Canada

A co-publication With Learning Forward

November 2023 | 200 pages | Corwin

There’s more to all of us than what meets the eye

A perfect storm is upon us and educators are in the middle of it. Identity issues often incite and divide us, but they are actually our way out of the storm. No one should be oppressed or have to hide who they are, and young people need to be prepared for a future where they can learn to live together and help others belong.

In their beautifully written book, Dennis Shirley and Andy Hargreaves brilliantly show how we can and must engage with young people’s identities in their fullness and complexity. Rooted in classical and contemporary theories of identity, extensive research, and in sheer common sense, their book takes us from bitterness to belonging and includes:

  • Examples of how schools seek to address identity and belonging
  • Strategies to deal with the raging identity controversies in our schools and societies
  • Charts and graphics to help build inclusive professional communities
  • Constant invitations to readers to apply ideas to their own work
Chapter 1: To Be, or Not to Be
Chapter 2: The Developing Self
Chapter 3: The Self and Others
Chapter 4: Including Identities
Chapter 5: Multiple Identities
Chapter 6: Intersecting Identites
Chapter 7: Learning to Live Together

Shirley and Hargreaves have written the right book at the right time. They bring the voice of reason to the current heated ‘culture wars’ and battles over ‘identity politics.’ If we heed their wise counsel, we can learn to listen to one another and forge a collective identity of respect.

Diane Ravitch
Public Education Network

This essential book shows how all educators can and should address issues of identity in their schools with candor and civility. Carefully researched, it offers a clear conceptual framework and practical guidelines that can be followed in all schools everywhere.

Patrick Tutwiler

Shirley and Hargreaves call for universal inclusive education that promotes dignity, generosity, and self-determined learning. They advocate for education that truly values and understands every individual, noting that what is essential for some children is good for all of them.

Dame Alison Peacock
Chartered College of Teaching
London, England

This is an excellent book and one that I will purchase for all our central leaders and school principals. It moves from academic theory to a real-life practical guide with stories that humanize our students, school staff, and communities.

Tom D’Amico
Ottawa Catholic School Board
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

We find ourselves in a time where being inclusive and welcoming to all students is a political issue as opposed to a human one. Shirley and Hargreaves engage readers with their collective brilliance and heart to offer clarity in thought and action to ensure that
students thrive, regardless of how they identify.

Peter DeWitt
Albany, New York

This book will help us figure out how to name, interrupt, and educate when students experience anything that does not help them feel safe, included, respected, and cared for. It gives educators practical tools with which to lean into the difference between intent and impact.

John Malloy
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Danville, California

This is a work of courage and truth in the midst of a world that can be challenging. The content of the book fills my heart.

Nicola Ngarewa
the Teaching Council of Aotearoa
Wellington, New Zealand

Incisive, insightful, and inspirational. Shirley and Hargreaves present a compelling argument for schools and educators to work with students on the issues of identity. Moreover, they present practical and evidence-based guidelines that can be implemented in schools.

Yong Zhao
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas

Every child needs to feel that they belong in order to feel safe enough to learn. The Age of Identity is an inspiring antidote to school systems that measure children with standardized tests. This compelling book is an overdue dose of radical common sense.

Jim Knight
the UK House of Lords and Former UK Schools Minister

This brilliant and profound book is at the heart of education across the globe. Shirley and Hargreaves show how learning triumphs over ignorance when students are confident in who they are. They provide teachers with tools to navigate confidently one of the most controversial topics in education today. The Age of Identity is essential reading for all teachers.

David Edwards
Education International
Brussels, Belgium

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ISBN: 9781071913130