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

HOW TO TEACH BRITISH LITERATURE

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

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An ambitiously original but uncorroborated theory.

PSYCHOCONDUCTION

A sweeping new theory that puts forward a way to rejuvenate a damaged brain without using surgical or pharmacological methods. 

Clinical psychologist Litvin (Litvin’s Code, 2011) proposes what he calls a bold “new neuropsychological discovery” about ways in which a chronically underperforming brain may be improved with carefully managed mental exercises. According to the author, the brain processes information via an internal mapping system, in which received data is directed to a “book of addresses.” When the brain malfunctions, he says, it’s largely the result of damaged complex brain cells receiving “incomplete or distorted requests,” which results in the improper distribution of information. However, he asserts that the brain has a kind of organic plasticity that allows it to respond to willfully enacted repairs. Litvin argues that simple cells in the body can be stimulated in a way that either rejuvenates or replace damaged complex cells; this stimulation can overcome what he calls “neuropsychological barriers” and result in the release of a newly “balanced amount of brain chemicals”—a vague formulation that typifies the author’s overall mode of discussion. This is achieved, he says, by activating the brain’s response to various stimuli in quick succession, including tactile, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and olfactory stimuli. Litvin calls this theory of repair “psychoconduction,” and he includes a detailed series of mental exercises that ask readers to translate simple mathematical equations into various modes of expression; for example, he shows how a visual pattern may be translated into a knocking sound, or a clamping of a hand. Litvin has discussed psychoconduction in a number of other works, but here, he furnishes his most thorough and systematic explanation of it, largely in accessible, nontechnical language. However, this volume also replicates the principal vices of the others: It’s remarkably general, and it doesn’t present any empirical, experimental evidence for its claims. Also, Litvin’s promises regarding the scope of its application are equally unsubstantiated, as well as implausible; he claims, for example, that the exercises can remedy dyslexia, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder, anger issues, and even help people who have hallucinations. It’s never clear how it’s all possible, and the author offers no solid proof. 

An ambitiously original but uncorroborated theory. 

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4669-1254-0

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2019

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A much-needed review of the American educational system and an examination of the techniques needed to improve the teaching...

"MULTIPLICATION IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE"

RAISING EXPECTATIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN

A call-to-action book on how to close the racial achievement gap in the American educational system.

Despite having an African-American as president, MacArthur winner Delpit (Education/Southern Univ.; Other People’s Children, 1995, etc.) writes that African-American students are still not being treated as equal to their white peers. Using numerous examples from school situations and her own daughter’s experiences, the author shows that stereotypes and racial prejudices still abound, with many teachers teaching “down” to their black students. To counteract this negative effect, teachers need to understand the cultural backgrounds of their students and connect the curriculum to this background so that learning has relevance to the student. Instead of asking “do you know what I know?” Delpit says the question to ask is “what do you know?” “This is the question that will allow us to begin, with courage, humility, and cultural sensitivity the right educational journey,” she writes. When good teachers incorporate this method and learn to identify with each individual child, test scores and self-esteem rise and disobedience and absenteeism fall. Delpit feels her work in education is two-fold: She is “charged with preparing the minds and hearts of those who will inherit the earth…as a sacred trust…and the second purpose…is to build bridges across the great divides, the so-called achievement gap, the technology gap, class divisions, the racial divide.” If all teachers adopted these ideas, the American educational system would be vastly improved for all students. Covering age groups from preschool to college, Delpit offers advice to new and veteran teachers, advice that applies not only to African-American students but to all ethnic and minority groups.

A much-needed review of the American educational system and an examination of the techniques needed to improve the teaching methods of all involved in that system.

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59558-046-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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