THE CULTURE OF EDUCATION

This original consideration of the link between education and culture lives up to the Bruner standard of insightful, provocative, and essentially hopeful discourse. Bruner (Actual Mind, Possible Worlds, 1986, etc.), the doyen of cognitive psychology, has two ends in mind in this volume of essays: One concerns education in the narrow sense, and possible remedies for its current plight. The second addresses the larger theme of how we as individuals come to identify ourselves in a particular culture, a process that leads Bruner to the interesting conclusion that the future of psychology lies in a marriage to anthropology. As always, Bruner argues that learning is situated in a context, which for human beings involves the shared symbols of a community, its traditions and toolkit, passed on from generation to generation and constituting the larger culture. Bruner traces the evolution of the study of mind from schools of psychology and philosophy that have variously emphasized mind as information processor, mind as instrumental actor, mind as brain evolved from primate/hominid biology, and mind as a developing organ. How we construe mind influences pedagogy, from the concept that sees information flowing from teacher to fill the (passive) brains of the young to the cultural-psychological perspective Bruner now espouses. In a long first essay he outlines a series of tenets, ranging from the need to foster self-esteem in children to the importance of the narrative mode by which children come to recognize themselves and find a place in the culture. The essays that follow enlarge on these themes with telling commentary on contemporary society. The last chapter spells out why Bruner feels that if psychology is to better understand human nature and the human condition it must master the interplay between biology and culture. No doubt this will elicit ``yes, but's'' and ``no way'' from assorted academic fiefdoms, but the general reader may well find this an exhilarating notion well supported by this wonderfully argued work.

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-674-17952-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more