Advice for students and teachers rounds out a persuasive plea for creative learning.

THE NEW EDUCATION

HOW TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE UNIVERSITY TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR A WORLD IN FLUX

An argument for why higher education requires radical change to prepare students for an unpredictable future.

Distinguished educator Davidson (Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, 2011, etc.), who directs the Futures Initiative at the City University of New York Graduate Center, believes that colleges are mired in 19th-century pedagogy. In an engaging, anecdotal, wide-ranging look at educational innovation, she argues that students “need new ways of integrating knowledge, including through reflection on why and what they are learning.” They must become active learners, not merely passive absorbers of lectures and rote memorizers. Davidson advocates dramatic pedagogical revisions, much like those instituted by Harvard’s president Charles Eliot in the 1880s, when he proposed a university that would prepare students for careers in an industrial age. Today’s students, writes the author, need skills to ready them for “intellectual space travel.” Davidson praises the nimbleness and flexibility of community colleges, which pioneer learning methods and institute support services (Metro cards, attentive advisers) for nontraditional students. She criticizes both technophobes who bemoan the internet and technophiles who believe computers will transform teaching. Students need digital skills and web literacy, she reasonably contends, but in the context of awareness about how technology connects to “every aspect of our political, personal, and economic lives.” Davidson cites Arizona State University as exemplary in curricular reform, where studies are connected “to community, to the cultural, physical, and socioeconomic conditions of Phoenix, Arizona, and the Southwest more generally.” Among the many educators whose ideas the author highlights is Christine Ortiz, an MIT professor and graduate school dean engaged in creating a nonprofit residential research university featuring project-based learning. Davidson sees current emphasis on STEM fields to be too focused on testing rather than real-life applications. “Youth,” she writes, “are still being graded into passivity and a state of fear by standardized classes.”

Advice for students and teachers rounds out a persuasive plea for creative learning.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-465-07972-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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