Of General Interest
After the Lesson Plan, by Amy Emmers (Teachers College Press, 1234 Amsterdam Ave., New York, N.Y. 10027; 207 pages; cloth $19.95, paper $10.95).
English teacher Amy Emmers offers counsel to colleagues on how to put plans into action in the high-school classroom. Three basic practices are discussed as the means to achieve good teaching: gaining students' attention, recognizing degrees of ability in students, and effectively rewarding and penalizing student achievement. "If my ideas appear at last to be more common sense than sophisticated pedagogy, I have found that common sense is often uncommonly long in surfacing to our consciousness," writes Ms. Emmers, who teaches in a New Jersey high school. Mixing personal anecdotes with advice, the author also discusses such issues as student discipline, the first year of teaching, staff relations, the goals of education (specifically, what is good teaching), and the rewards she has found in teaching.
Basic Skills: A Plan for your Child, A Program for all Children, by Herbert Kohl (Little, Brown and Company, 34 Beacon St., Boston, Mass. 02106; 242 pages; $12.95).
Longtime reformer, teacher, and writer, Herbert Kohl tackles the problem of revitalizing public education--a process, he writes, that is "in itself a reaffirmation of democratic principles." Mr. Kohl proposes that education's fundamental goal should be to develop informed, thoughtful, and sensitive citizens. Educators should teach five basic skills: using language well, developing solutions to problems, understanding the use of scientific ideas, using imagination, and comprehending the actions of people in groups. The book includes a historical analysis of the "back-to-basics" movement in public schools over the last 200 years and ends with practical suggestions on how to incorporate basic skills into America's classrooms. Includes an extensive bibliography.
Education in Jeopardy: Problems and Possibilities of Contraction, by W.F. Dennison. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford. U.S. Distributor: Biblio Distribution Centre, 81 Adams Dr., Totowa, N.J. 07512; 168 pages; cloth $19.95, paper $9.95).
In an exploration of the effects of declining enrollments on schools in Great Britain, the author proposes that such "contraction" provides opportunities for schools to improve the quality of education. For example, Mr. Dennison, a former school teacher and now a lecturer at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne's education school, proposes that schools will no be longer able to support ineffective teachers, and will need to pay increased attention to staff development. The book examines the relationships among teachers, administrators, students, and resources in a "climate of contraction" in the schools and discusses the new options of parents. The book is part of a series, the Theory and Practice in Education, published in Great Britain.
Making Desegregation Work: How Schools Create Social Climates, by Robert L. Crain, Rita E. Mahard, and Ruth E. Narot (Ballinger Publishing Company, P.O. Box 281, 54 Church St., Cambridge, Mass. 02138; 304 pages; $22.50).
In this report of a study of 200 desegregated schools, the authors examine what school policies lead to successful schools. "We asked ourselves whether other school administrators could copy the policies of the successful schools, and if they could, whether their schools would really improve as a result," the authors write. In their view, schools should create a "social climate" that pays attention to student development and reduces delinquency. A desegregated school, the authors suggest, should encourage interracial relationships and integrate the concept and teaching of racial equality into the curriculum. The authors offer 10 recommendations and describe specific policies, contributing to a successful school, such as the establishment of human-relations committees to deal with school racial issues. Their research included 10,000 students and 2,000 faculty members; their statistical findings are presented in chapter-by-chapter appendices.
Private Schools and the Public Good, Policy Alternatives for the Eighties, edited by Edward McGlynn Gaffney Jr. (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind. 46556; 242 pages; cloth $14.95, paper $7.95).
Twenty-two contributors examine the role of private schools in today's society and the changes in public policy that can affect them in coming years. Part One explores the value of nonpublic education for minority and handicapped students. Part Two argues the pros and cons of legislation to assist private schools, including tuition tax credits, basic educational grants, and educational vouchers. Part Three discusses the role of Congress and state legislatures in interpreting educational policy. The volume is based on a symposium sponsored by the Institute of Public Policy of the University of Notre Dame in 1980.
For Special Interests
ERR on Education in America: Quality vs. Cost. (Editorial Research Reports, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1414 22nd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037; 202 pages; paper $7.50).
Covers the survival of education programs in the face of Reagan Administration budget cuts and the coming "lean" years, as well as issues of competency tests, the resurgence of private schools, educating gifted children, and tuition tax credits.
Mental Health in the Schools, 2nd ed., by Bruce Kremer (University Press of America, P.O. Box 19101, Washington, D.C., 20036; 340 pages, cloth $20.75, paper $11.75).
For special-education teachers and counselors. Discusses ways to reduce mental-health problems and to promote an environment of emotional stability for students. Addresses areas of mental health and the law, the treatment of disturbed children, depression and child abuse, and discipline.
Migrant Education, An Annotated Bibliography, compiled by Barbara C. Palmer (International Reading Association, 800 Barksdale Rd., Newark, Del. 19711; 63 pages; paper $2.50 (IRA members $2).
An annotated listing of key books and articles in the field of migrant education, including group social structure, characteristics of migrant children, and legislation and recommendations on migrant education. Contains a brief listing of additional bibliographies.
The Nature and Measurement of Competency in English, edited by Charles R. Cooper (National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, Ill. 61801; 176 pages; $12.45 paper; $9.95 ncte members).
The questions of what makes a good competency test and who and what should be tested are addressed by six contributors in essays dealing with social planning, school finance, and curriculum design as they relate to competency testing.