Big, bright life lessons in a pocket-sized package.

WHAT TEACHERS MAKE

IN PRAISE OF THE GREATEST JOB IN THE WORLD

A longtime educational advocate and public speaker praises the noble art of teaching.

Incensed by a flippant remark from a young attorney at a party, teacher and poetry scholar Mali channeled his anger into a poem on the virtuosity of teachers. He posted it on his website, and the verse has been circulating ever since. The author has become a renowned public speaker in recent years with podcasts, a blog and a flashy website. He also undertook an unprecedented journey from standardized classroom instruction to launch his ambitious “New Teacher Project,” an initiative seeking to direct 1,000 people into becoming teachers. In channeling their ability to “see a child’s potential objectively, untainted by family history and parental expectations,” Mali believes teachers energize their students to excel beyond what’s routinely called for; starting this reinforcement process at a young age is imperative, he writes. Obviously passionate about his career as an educator, the author extols the importance of routine calls to parents when children shine. He also encourages a “question authority” mindset in his students while personally remaining humble and progressive with electronic grade books. Through anecdotes, poetry and classroom examples, Mali proves himself a dedicated, caring teacher within what he considers a hobbled American education system. The author’s slim, appealing book delivers a powerfully positive message, but it’s also a valentine to teachers everywhere, as well as a healthy dose of reality to parents who may misguidedly consider their child’s teachers as little more than educational stepping stones.

Big, bright life lessons in a pocket-sized package.

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-15854-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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

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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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