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An enlightened and civilized examination of teaching (as differentiated from education -- the ""overheated Utopia"" of today which can hardly be required in the few hours assigned to it ever a period of a few years). A book which makes no brief for any current mode or theory of teaching, but which analyzes and illustrates the practices and pitfalls of higher education. Using his own experience as a Professor at Columbia as a basis for his findings, Barzun is critical, caustic, but never captious in his outlook on and overall of modern teaching. He believes that the primary aim is to form an independent, self-propelling student, to eliminate the parrot principle, to instill the habits of thinking and attention. He dissects the methods, -- the lecture class discussion, tutorial method; he analyzes the formation of sound reading and writing faculties; the values -- and inadequacies in presentation-- of science, history, the languages, the arts. He discusses the much debated classics and the over-reaching Adlerian curriculum; the problems of the young teacher, the octopus of the PhD, the delicate student-teacher relationship; the fallacies of I G and similar testings; women's and adult education; the highbrow or college degree tradition; the economic factor for both student and teacher, and so on. Wit and sagacity and a genuinely humanistic point of view combine to make this both serious and stimulating reading. Barzun has retained the best of the classical and the progressive. This is well within the interest and the reach of the general reader.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1945
Publisher: Little, Brown