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Recommended reading for all educators, from starry-eyed neophytes to seasoned veterans.

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A well-balanced combination of classroom anecdotes and educational strategies.

In this debut work, Iaccarino draws upon three decades of experience, primarily at the elementary level, with occasional forays into that special wilderness also known as middle school. The author recognizes her own early sources of inspiration, most notably a high school history teacher who selected her to participate in a Saturday lecture and discussion program at Yale University, despite lackluster grades. By means of this rare opportunity, Iaccarino came upon an insight that ended up guiding her entire teaching philosophy: Apathy is the real enemy. This book is not a treatise on educational reform, but the author is not shy about commenting on the changes—both positive and negative—that she has witnessed over the past 30 years. Certainly among the veiled criticisms is the notion of standardized testing as the ultimate indicator of student achievement and teacher effectiveness. Throughout the text, Iaccarino employs self-deprecating humor and parenthetical asides, keeping the tone light and breezy, without minimizing the importance of her subject matter. She offers practical, tongue-in-cheek advice: If one is going to employ the “talking stick” method for maintaining classroom order, lightweight cardboard materials are preferable in the event of violent outbursts. She also recounts her experiences using Shakespeare, medieval English history and Native American cultures to motivate students, helping them make connections between schoolwork and overarching themes that would shape their own lives. The section on the six basic syllable types is not to be missed, as Iaccarino employs narratives that will resonate with children and enable them to learn pronunciation rules. Observe how “Secret Agent Silent E” furtively appears at the end of a word and allows the previous vowel to speak its own name: “at” versus “ate.” Parents can use this valuable resource not only to familiarize themselves with challenges faced in the classroom, but also to reinforce beneficial educational habits at home.

Recommended reading for all educators, from starry-eyed neophytes to seasoned veterans.

Pub Date: March 20, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479305209

Page Count: 254

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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