30 January 2011

Alan Shapiro, 1926-2011

Alan Shapiro, a leader in student-centered education and teacher-educator for almost half a century, died Friday, January 28, at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut after a short illness, at the age of 85. 

My friend, my mentor, my teacher.

He taught for many years in the New Rochelle (NY) Public Schools and founded The Program for Inquiry, Involvement, and Independent Study in 1970, a high school alternative program based on theories he developed with friends Neil Postman and Charlie Weingartner. He had written, for more than a decade, for the educational idea site, Teachable Moment.

The family has requested that those wishing to honor Alan Shapiro’s life and legacy consider contributing to
The Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
publishers of TeachableMoment.org  

475 Riverside Drive, Suite 550
New York, New York 10115
212.870.3318 | fax: 212.870.2464

I might request that the best way to honor his memory is to do everything you can to insist that our educational systems be student-centered learning and inquiry communities.

- Ira Socol


Josh Karpf said...

It's hard to be thankful for such sad news, yet I am. Alan was the finest teacher and mentor I've ever had; I wish I could've done better by him. I'd welcome any more updates, which I'd be happy to share with other alumni.

Josh Karpf '84, 3i@foody.org

Scratchie said...

Very sorry to hear such news Ira. I read many of his articles and work on the 3Is program thanks to your blog and links. His passion to his work and philosophy on learning has helped me in my commitment to personalised learning.

Leslie said...

I will never forget the time Alan gave his LANGUAGE AND REALITY class a puzzle to solve: "There is a full-grown goose in a bottle. How do you get it out without killing the goose or breaking the bottle?" Over the next five days, dozens of students (including many who were not registered for the class) were running up to him all day long with solutions; none of which, of course, was correct.
Finally, at the appointed time, Alan gave us the solution. He smiled, paused dramatically, then yelled gleefully "It's out!"(to much groaning)
This was a lesson on the nature of language that I never forgot, and one that I use from time to time with my own students.

Leslie (Smith) Mignault
3Is 1975