Published Online: October 6, 1999
Published in Print: October 6, 1999, as Books

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Character Education

The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract, by Theodore R. Sizer & Nancy Faust Sizer (Beacon Press, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108-2892; 131 pp., $21 hardcover). Makes an argument in favor of schools that incorporate morality as a pivotal tool in education. "We are fallible, and should not pretend that we are anything else," the authors write. "But we ought to be aware of what we are doing. We have a profound moral contract with our students. We insist, under law, that they become thoughtful, informed citizens. We must--for their benefit and ours--model such citizenship."


Childhood Development

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, edited by John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, & Rodney R. Cocking (National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20055; 352 pp., $39.95 hardcover). Offers new research about the mind and the brain that provides answers to such questions as: When do infants begin to learn? How do experts learn, and how is this different from nonexperts? What can teachers and schools do to help children learn most effectively? The book is the product of the National Research Council's Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning.

The Myth of the First Three Years: A New Understanding of Early Brain Development and Lifelong Learning, by John T. Bruer (The Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 244 pp., $25 hardcover). Challenges popular notions about what neuroscientists know about the developing brain. The author argues that parents, teachers, and early-childhood policymakers have become seduced by the "myth of zero to 3," which centers on the argument that the first three years of life are the most important time for parents to stimulate their children's ability to learn. Subsequent myth-based policies and practices, the book suggests, are dangerous for children and the source of needless anxiety among parents.

Designing Preschool Interventions: A Practitioner's Guide, by David W. Barnett, Susan H. Bell, & Karen T. Carey (The Guilford Press, 72 Spring St., New York, NY 10012; 380 pp., $35 hardcover). Offers a foundation for practitioners to generate strong, workable approaches to learning and behavior difficulties in children ages 2 to 5. The authors describe examples of successful interventions for school, home, and other settings; review the basics of parent-teacher consultations; and delineate step-by-step guidelines for conducting functional assessments using problem-solving interviews, observational techniques, and other methods.


Research

Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities, edited by Ellen Condliffe Lagemann & Lee S. Shulman (Jossey-Bass, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104; 464 pp., $39.95 hardcover). Sponsored by the National Academy of Education's Commission on the Improvement of Education Research, the volume examines the state of education research and highlights some of the trends that have galvanized the field. The authors, who include Jerome Bruner and Deborah Meier, reveal how the results of research--whether scientifically valid or open to debate--have become key drivers of educational policy and practice.

The Teaching Gap: Best Ideas From the World's Teachers for Improving Education in the Classroom, by James W. Stigler & James Hiebert (The Free Press, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020; 210 pp., $23 hardcover). Compares the educational methods of Germany, Japan, and the United States. The authors dissect the information provided by a pioneering effort to videotape instruction in a representative sample of 231 8th grade math classrooms in the three countries. The videotaping was conducted as part of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study.

Teaching for Intelligence I: A Collection of Articles, edited by Barbara Z. Presseisen (Skylight, 2626 S. Clearbrook Dr., Arlington Heights, IL 60005; 408 pp., $30.95 paperback). A collection of theories and ideas presented at the 1998 Teaching for Intelligence Conference in New York City. The articles focus on a wide range of views on pedagogy, achievement, and the state of education: where it's been, where it's at, and where it's headed. Contributors include Linda Darling-Hammond, Jonathan Kozol, Theodore R. Sizer, and Robert J. Sternberg.

Vol. 19, Issue 6, Page 50

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