A powerful, rational guidebook to creating genuinely effective education, written in a manner useful not just for...

BUILDING A BETTER TEACHER

HOW TEACHING WORKS (AND HOW TO TEACH IT TO EVERYONE)

Ideas from a former principal on what makes for an exceptional teacher.

Accountability and autonomy are the two guiding lights for prescribing changes in our schools, and as Green notes early on in this book, the two principles are often at loggerheads. Accountability proponents believe in leveraging the power of data to study which teachers’ students are meeting or exceeding goals; opponents claim that it stultifies educators, diminishing the profession, and ineffectively measuring teacher and student “success.” Autonomy proponents believe that if you elevate the profession and let the teachers steer their ships, the trust, freedom and respect will enable them to do their very best. Green gives both of these views credence but goes further to suggest that the reverence surrounding the best teachers is misguided, in that it elevates the “natural born educator” mythos that suggests an inborn talent. Green deflates the “I could never do what they do” aura of the best teachers, but in a good way. In extensive conversations and observations that uncover the approaches that the best educators share, she distills how they apply those approaches in similar ways despite differences in extraversion/introversion, humorous/serious teaching approaches, and flexible/rigid standards. Green goes deeper than bromides about student engagement and motivation, digging into data about student success as well as examining the means used to collect the data. She also chronicles her visits with professionals at multiple levels (administrative, support, frontline teachers) through various successes and failures, gleaning wisdom from both—just as the best teachers would have their students do.

A powerful, rational guidebook to creating genuinely effective education, written in a manner useful not just for schoolteachers, but everyone involved in the care of children.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-393-08159-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

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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