Offering deeply considered philosophy as well as commonsensical advice, historian Banner (formerly of Princeton University) and classicist Cannon (a former dean at Manhattanville College) have created an invaluable book on the art of teaching. The authors, both longtime educators with a wide variety of classroom experience, divide their study into the ``elements'' that go into the making of a good teacher: learning, authority, ethics, order, imagination, compassion, patience, character, and pleasure. All teachers have all these attributes to varying degrees; the important thing is how the traits are developed and used to the students' best advantage. In ``Learning,'' for example, the authors explain the importance of mastering the subject that one teaches while continuing to explore it along with one's students. They offer here, as they do at the end of every section, a case study of sorts—a fictionalized teaching situation where a teacher is seen as either manifesting the ``element'' being examined or failing to live up to the authors' high expectations. In ``Learning,'' a history teacher is disappointed with her presentation of the subject of religion in her American history class. Rather than go on with the curriculum as planned, she decides to devote more time to religion and assigns different areas of the subject to her students, taking an equal amount of additional work on herself. The class becomes so involved in the project that they decide to enter the National History Day competition, which they win. And while the teacher devotes much more of her own time to the class than she would have if she'd dropped the subject of religion after the first failed presentation, her tenacity results in a rewarding exercise for both herself and her students. An important manual for anyone who teaches or needs to evaluate teachers, such as administrators, school boards, and not least of all, parents.

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-300-06929-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1997

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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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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


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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