Harvard Educational Review
  1. Winter 2010 Issue »

    Learning to Laugh

    A Portrait of Risk and Resilience in Early Childhood

    Travis Wright
    In this portrait, Travis Wright documents young Goddess’s capacity for strength in the face of trauma and neglect. Goddess, a sixteen-month-old child who has never laughed, is Wright’s first client at his clinical internship during his graduate studies. Drawing on his work with Goddess, her mother, and her teachers, Wright explores the ways in which these many relationships help Goddess learn to laugh. Goddess’s story provides a vivid depiction of the consequences of negative experiences in early childhood and the potential for programs to help children move beyond traumatic beginnings. The author describes how, through Goddess, he learns to see strength in behaviors he previously thought to be maladaptive. In reflecting on Goddess’s agency in her transformation as well as on his own, Wright beautifully documents one child’s journey from risk to resilience.

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    Travis Wright is an assistant professor of educational research at The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development, where he directs the Project on Risk, Resilience, and Urban Leadership. He studies the relationship between risk and resilience in the lives of women, children, and adolescents living in urban poverty and the linkages between early childhood education and community development. His work has previously appeared in the Harvard Educational Review, and he has several additional articles in press. He recently founded the New Legacy School, an innovative community preschool serving families and children from birth to age three in Washington, DC. He continues to provide school-based mental health services to young children in Washington, DC, and serves on the governing board of DC Public Schools Head Start.
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    Winter 2010 Issue


    A Celebratory Pause—The 80th Anniversary of the Harvard Educational Review
    Legacy and Vision
    HER Editorial Board 2010–2011
    Learning to Laugh
    A Portrait of Risk and Resilience in Early Childhood
    Travis Wright
    White Institutional Presence
    The Impact of Whiteness on Campus Climate
    Diane Lynn Gusa
    Unseen Workers in the Academic Factory
    Perceptions of Neoracism Among International Postdocs in the United States and the United Kingdom
    Brendan Cantwell and Jenny J. Lee
    “Education Is All About Opportunities, Isn’t It?”
    A Biographical Perspective on Learning and Teaching English in Sri Lanka
    David Hayes
    Embedded, Emboldened, and (Net)Working for Change
    Support-Seeking and Teacher Agency in Urban, High-Needs Schools
    Lauren Anderson

    Book Notes

    Waiting for “Superman”
    Davis Guggenheim (Director)

    Saving Schools
    Paul E. Peterson

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