Archive for the ‘Book Summaries’ Category

Class Rank Weighs Down True Learning by Thomas R. Guskey

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Class Rank Weighs Down True Learning by Thomas R. Guskey – Phi Delta Kappan, March 2014, V95 N6, pp. 15-19. This is my summary of this fine article, which makes the point that teaching and grading schemes that work to select the most talented students often fail to benefit all students and to notice promising students. This may cause you to rethink what your high school is doing regarding this matter. Here is the link to the abstract. You will probably need a subscription if you want to view the full article, or you could hit your nearest college library.

Thomas R Guskey, PhD

  • Thomas is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Kentucky. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, and began his career in education as a middle school teacher. He served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools, and was the first Director of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching and Learning, a national educational research center. He is the author/editor of 18 books and over 200 articles published in prominent research journals as well as Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan, and School Administrator. You can find him on Twitter @tguskey or email him at guskey@uky.edu
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Creating A New Teacher Profession – edited by Goldhaber & Hannaway

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Here is a review of an Edited book by Goldhaber and Hannaway that looks at a wide variety of human resource issues in education. Everyone who does any teacher hiring, evaluation, or staff development should have this book. It is also essential for policy makers. The bottom line is that we have an outmoded system and that we won’t know what works unless we try the type of alternatives discussed here.

Click here to see my review of this book.

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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World – Book Summary

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner (© 2012, Scribner: New York, NY) explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. Tony profiles innovators to identify patterns in their childhood that made them what they are. He shows how to apply his finding to education and tells parents how to compensate for poor schools. Keys include collaboration, interdisciplinary problems solving, and intrinsic motivation. Sixty original videos are included that you can access via a smart phone. Go to Creating Innovators for a trailer, then click the icon below to purchase this vital book from Amazon.

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Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica ©2015 offers advice for educators and policy makers that can bring rigorous, personalized, and engaged education to everyone. As a leading voice in education, it’s vital that any one interested hear with Sir Ken has to say. If you haven’t seen his number one TED Talk check that out too. Click at the bottom on any page to purchase this necessary book.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD and Lou Aronica

  • Sir Ken is an English author, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts to governments, non-profits, education, and arts bodies. He was Director of The Arts in Schools Project (1985–89), Professor of Arts Education at the University of Warwick (1989–2001), and was knighted in 2003 for services to education. He is the author of The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Ours Minds. His 2006 TED Talk How Schools Kill Creativity is the most watched in history with over 33 million views. Originally from a working-class Liverpool family, Robinson now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Marie-Therese and children James and Kate.
  • Lou Aronica is the author of three novels and the coauthor of several works of nonfiction, including the national best sellers The Culture Code, The Element, and Finding Your Element.

Introduction: One Minute to Midnight

  • The current reforms are being driven by political and commercial interests that misunderstand how real people learn, and how great schools work. As a result they are damaging the prospects of countless young people. The standards culture is harming students. In response, Sir Ken continues to push for a more balanced, individualized, and creative approach to education. Instead, schools take children with voracious appetites for learning and see to it that their appetites are dulled as they go through school. Current efforts focused on raising standards through competition and accountability do not work, and compound the problems they claim to solve. If you design a system based on standardization and conformity, you suppress individuality, imagination, and creativity. Schools that were designed to produce factory workers resemble factories with their assembly line approach. Current reforms stick with this approach only to be less in tune with the circumstances of the 21st century. Sir Ken thinks that schools need to be transformed not reformed, and that we know how to do it even though we aren’t.
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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants is Malcolm Gladwell’s fourth best selling book to be summarized here. I’ve been a big fan ever since I summarized The Tipping Point. If you like to give books as gifts, please click below and get copies for yourself and your favorite book worms.

Malcolm Gladwell

  • Malcolm has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper’s New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.
  • He is also the author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, (2005), and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008). They were all number one New York Times bestsellers. Click the above links for my summaries.
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Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Heath Bros.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (©2013) by Chip & Dan Heath, Crown Business: New York, NY shares research and cool stories that show how our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities. They go on to introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these problems. Their fresh strategies and practical tools will enable you to make better choices at work and beyond. If you want to increase your chances of making the right decision at the right moment, this book is for you. Click the icon at the bottom of any page to buy this important book for yourself and your key colleagues.

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Denialism – Irrational Thinking is Common – Michael Specter

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter deals with how large sections of our society are in denial about things that science supports. Included are topics like child immunizations, genetic engineering of our food supply, alternative medicine, and race-based medication. The following quote should give you some idea of what to expect:
“Denialism is not green or religious or anti-intellectual, nor is it confined to utopian dreamers, agrarians, or hippies. It is not right- or left-wing; it is a fear expressed as frequently and with as much fervor by Oxford dons as by bus drivers.”
Although the book is science centered, you don’t have to be a scientist to follow it.

Click here to see the excerpted summary of this book.

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Discipline Survival Guide – Get One For Your School

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

In the Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher, 2nd Ed, (©2011, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA) Julia Thompson takes on what may be the most unpleasant part of the profession and a top reason why teachers leave. She draws on up-to-date research and theory that can help students become more self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and successful learners as teachers enhance leadership skills. She focuses on student motivation, classroom management, relationships, instructional techniques, safety, and high expectations. This 350 page effort is easy to read and can be used as a desktop reference. My summary contains key ideas, but there is a lot more I left out. Every student teacher, beginning teacher, and veteran teacher with discipline problems should have this at their side. Lots of advice for parents too. As a former secondary teacher and elementary principal, I can assure you most of this applies to students of all ages.

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Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? A Student’s Perspective by Stephen G. Peters

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? A Student’s Perspective by Stephen G. Peters (©2006, The Peters Group Foundation: Orangeburg, SC.) provides insight from students he gathered during extensive interviews and uses this perspective to let teachers know what they may have missed in college. His goal is to help teachers learn how to care for all students by listening with all their hearts to the voices of students. Click the icon at the bottom of any page to purchase this fine book.

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Drive by Daniel Pink

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (Riverhead Books: New York, NY ©2009) is a must read for educators and parents alike. Dan summarizes current research and does a great job turning it into interesting and understandable prose. Every school should have this on the shelf.

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