“First and foremost, I publish science education resources for parents and teachers. These resources must address three things: the nature of the adolescent learner; an adequate model of science itself; and an effective pedagogy to connect them both.
Why did you become a book publisher? In 1986, there was a lack of organized resources for de-streamed* science. Getting no funding from their school board, Mike Lattner and Jim Ross published a de-streamed science document that was used in 70% of Ontario's schools. As student needs were more closely identified, Jim and Mike continued to develop resources for teachers and students that focused on the student. Ross Lattner published over twenty titles in that time. Mike Lattner left the company in 2011. Since then, Jim Ross has continued publishing innovative materials for Chemistry, Physics, Biology and General Science for grades 9 through 12 in secondary schools. Recently, Jim has broadened the company's interests to include freelance editing and publishing for others. * no streaming into advanced, academic, general, applied, or any other kinds of levels. We believed that grade 9 was too early to assess the capacity of a student to mature.
What do you like best about publishing? The best part of independent publishing is the freedom to investigate the needs, research the possibilities, and produce the solutions that larger companies simply cannot address. Teaching science is my vocation. To those unfamiliar with a Christian understanding of the world, my vocation is my calling. Science text resources are my first concern. How can this generation adequately educate the generations to follow? I do not see current secular political system even recognizing that they have a problem. My joy is to publish to address that need.
What do you publish? First and foremost, I publish science education resources for parents and teachers. These resources must address three things: the nature of the adolescent learner; an adequate model of science itself; and an effective pedagogy to connect them both.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? At this time, I am not very good at marketing. I joined the Independent Book Publisher's Association to address that need. Dear Reader, I appreciate any guidance you may provide.
How do you define a successful title? My instinctive response is that the adjective phrase "successful title" is properly addressed to the quality of the content of the book itself. Not everyone sees the world in this way. That fact, unfortunately, has not made me a successful publisher. While some titles have been enthusiastically received by the small audience to which they were presented, none have been translated into a "successful" economic venture. I would consider one of my titles "successful" if it met both of those criteria.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. Table Manners - A Civilized Introduction to the Periodic Table is my favourite title. It presents a representation of the periodic table of elements that corresponds to the way that teenagers actually think. Each element has three fundamental variables, easily represented in simple drawings. Following the "teacher-as-researcher" model of educational research, I demonstrated that teenagers who learn the three fundamentals are able to progress farther and faster than senior chemistry students who used the traditional "ChemStudy" approach. In fact, I observed many grade 9 students exceed the capacity of my university-bound grade 12 students in predicting the behaviour of various elements and compounds.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? The greatest problem is state-sponsored standardized testing regimes. States and provinces (in the USA and Canada respectively) use these tests to measure student "achievement" against a pattern of previous student responses. These expensive programs can only look to the past. They have no capacity whatsoever to imagine the future. Standardized testing cannot imagine new ways of teaching and learning. Furthermore, the regimen of standardized testing appears capable of harnessing the combined resources of the educational district, the state, and the nation - all to suppress innovation. And to punish those inventive teachers who do spend their lives investigating new possibilities. This has lead to the rejection, and even suppression, of much of my work in the province of Ontario, Canada.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? PAY ATTENTION TO MARKETING.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? We will be selling our resources to small independent schools, home-schooling parents, and home-schooling associations.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I love having dinner, conversations, watching movies, and more conversations with my wife of 42 years. I love helping one of our children or grandchildren with a challenge. Today, I helped my son-in-law solve this problem: "Why does the water flow through my kitchen faucet slow down for no apparent reason?"
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