Teachers and Classrooms
Accelerating the Learning of All Students: Cultivating Culture Change in Schools, Classrooms, and Individuals, by Christine Finnan and Julie D. Swanson (Westview Press, member of the Perseus Books Group, 5500 Central Ave., Boulder, CO 80301; 190 pp., $22 paperback). Describes what happens at the school, classroom, and individual levels when people attempt to extend efforts to accelerate learning to all students. Beginning with a definition of accelerated learning, the book offers vivid descriptions of such efforts among three populations of students: those identified as gifted, those identified as low-achieving, and all students. The authors examine assumptions they say currently shape efforts to accelerate learning for all students, and offer insight into why schools continue to fail so many students. They propose a way of cultivating change in schools, classrooms, and individuals, which is, they say, the only way educators will be able to extend to all the kind of enriched, challenging learning experiences typically reserved for those identified as gifted.
The Color of Teaching: Educational Change and Development, by June A. Gordon (Routledge/Falmer, 29 W. 35th St., New York, NY 10001; 128 pp., $27.99 paperback). Addresses the need to recruit and attract more people of color to the profession. Features in-depth interviews with more than 200 people from four racial or ethnic groups: African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos. The interviewees, many of whom are teachers or education professors, discuss the practice of teaching and offer insights into why minority students may not be attracted to it as a career. Regardless of their academic or socioeconomic standing, the author writes, minority students tend not to be encouraged by their families, communities, and peers to enter the field. In its concluding call for a reconceptualization of the role of teachers, the book argues that only when teachers themselves help create a fundamental change in attitudes toward education within communities of color can this happen.
Creating Highly Motivating Classrooms for All Students, by Margery B. Ginsberg and Raymond J. Wlodkowski (Jossey- Bass,Wiley Company, 350 Sansome St., 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104-1342; 311 pp., $29.95 hardcover). Offers practical ways to understand a motivationally based theory of instruction and gives readers a framework to align and apply teaching strategies that help all students learn. The authors present ways to develop teams of school-based instructional leaders to serve as their school’s professional-development experts, and offer advice on facilitating professional-development institutes for K-12 teachers.
Everyone a Teacher, edited by Mark Schwehn (University of Notre Dame Press, 310 Flanner Hall, South Bend, IN 46556; 260 pp., $25 hardcover, $15 paperback). Challenges the reader to question assumptions about teaching and learning and to reflect on what will lead to improvement in his or her own teaching practices. The book contains a lengthy introduction on teaching, commentary from many sources, and 27 readings that focus on great teachers in the act of teaching and students in the act of learning. Excerpts are gathered from a wide variety of people, times, and places.
Teacher Evaluation To Enhance Professional Practice, by Charlotte Danielson and Thomas L. McGreal (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1250 N. Pitt St., Alexandria, VA 22314; 156 pp., $20.95 paperback for members, $24.95 paperback for non-members). Presents a three-track evaluation system designed to make teacher evaluation a form of professional development. By giving concrete examples, useful forms, and assessment tools, the book aims at providing a road map to effective evaluation systems that combine quality assurance with skills enhancement.
Teacher in Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy, by Colin Burgess (University of Nebraska Press, 233 N. 8th St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0255; 139 pp., $24.95 paperback). Christa McAuliffe’s name is permanently engraved in U.S. history as the teacher who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in January 1986. Described in this new book as innovative and devoted to her profession, she is celebrated chiefly for her ability to bring to her own life and to her students the joy and excitement of learning, exploration, and accomplishment. The author takes pains to show that this pioneering teacher’s dreams did not die with her, chronicling the many foundations, institutions, and learning centers that were set up after the disaster to honor the Challenger crew. In exploring her life and legacy, the book suggests that Christa McAuliffe’s goal of involving children in large educational enterprises is being fulfilled even today.
Teachers and Educational Change: The Lived Experience of Secondary School Restructuring, by James Nolar Jr. and Denise G. Meister (State University of New York Press, State University Plaza, Albany, NY 12246; 237 pp., $19.95 paperback). Tells the story of five secondary teachers involved in a school restructuring initiative focused on interdisciplinary curriculum development, team teaching, and block scheduling. Five interlocking and mutually reinforcing themes, the authors write, dominated these teachers’ experience and affected their understanding: uncertainty; intensification; lack of administrative leadership; subject allegiance vs. team loyalty; and craft pride, caring, and moral purpose.
Teaching From the Inside Out: The Eight-Fold Path to Creative Teaching (and Living), by Sue Sommers (Authority Press, 10970 Morton’s Crossing, Alpharetta, GA 30022; 131 pp., $19.95 paperback). An artist and educator argues that when personal interests are used as a source of creative imagining about how and what to teach, teachers develop a natural enthusiasm for their work that translates to the classroom. Examples from the author’s own and others’ experience are used to show the many forms such creativity can take to produce lively and challenging classrooms. The stories also demonstrate how using artistic approaches to learning can support self-expression and self- discipline.
Up Drafts: Case Studies in Teacher Renewal, edited by Roy F. Fox (National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL 61801-1096; 194 pp., $21.95 paperback for members, $28.95 paperback for nonmembers). Explores the question: How do successful teachers renew themselves for the classroom? Presents the personal narratives of eight teachers whose strategies for renewal re-energized their teaching, as well as their lives outside the classroom. The final chapter outlines four main themes that the editor sees as intrinsic to the renewal process: social context, passion and “flow” experiences, the developments of teachers’ own voices, and the relationships between teachers’ dual identities. Those whose writing is featured in this book suggest a new model for teacher renewal, one whose implications may reach far beyond the classroom.
Winning Strategies for Classroom Management, by Carol Cummings (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311-1714; 158 pp., $17.95 paperback for members, $21.95 paperback for nonmembers). Presents suggestions to help teach the skills and work habits students need to reach high levels of performance on state and national standards. The author identifies the kinds of intellectual, emotional, and even physical threats present in every classroom and gives examples of how to help students overcome those challenges. Offers thoughtful advice on arranging the classroom, diagnosing student behavior, and responding to students’ emotional needs, and gives practical examples showing how to motivate students, encourage self- discipline and perseverance, and enable students to take responsibility for learning. The approach to classroom management detailed aims at proactively addressing discipline and behavior problems.
For more information on these books, contact the publisher or your local library or bookstore. To order, call (888) 887-3200.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2000 edition of Education Week