A worthy, comprehensive guide for educators incorporating readings, study questions, and extensive literary analysis.

A manual for high school teachers offers a survey of British literature.

Marlow (The Book Tree, 2008) draws on decades of experience as an English teacher to produce a guide for fellow educators who introduce high school students to British literature, particularly instructors whose pedagogy incorporates a Christian context. The book, which combines suggested readings, an overview of themes and techniques, and discussion questions, is arranged in chronological order, beginning with Beowulf and Chaucer and concluding with C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, and T.S. Eliot. Appendices include a glossary of literary terms, a sample curriculum, guidelines for literary analysis, and sample tests. Marlow addresses not only the content covered in class, but also her techniques for broadening students’ appreciation (“I read the last section of Beowulf accompanied by Dvorák’s Largo from his New World Symphony with classroom lights off”). The author does a creditable job of covering the basic elements of understanding frequently studied classics, and has produced a solid resource for teachers looking to develop a curriculum. The material is useful for instructors in nonreligious schools as well, though the language employed (“the secular professor Harold Bloom”; “the erroneous charge of homosexuality”) and the emphasis on the moral values expressed by works can be off-putting. Though the author criticizes bowdlerization, she has clear views on what volumes are appropriate for 16- to 18-year-olds (“I strongly suggest that teachers avoid The Miller’s Tale”; “One day, they may return to Brontë’s description of married love”). Marlow’s claims that students are “interested,” “impressed,” “amused,” “intrigued,” or “amazed” by elements of literary history may seem somewhat breathless, but her knowledge of and enthusiasm for her subject, as well as for the act of teaching itself, are evident throughout the book and contribute to its value in the classroom.

A worthy, comprehensive guide for educators incorporating readings, study questions, and extensive literary analysis.

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-6489-5

Page Count: 500

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017




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



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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