Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones by Thomas Newkirk

Brandish your highlighter when you read this book. There's lots of quotable material in here.

In the world of "No Child Left Behind" and teaching to the test, Thomas Newkirk sees a disturbing trend in language arts instruction today. In this book he makes the case for effective instruction rather than just state mandated instruction. We need to stop thinking about standardized tests and scientific "sameness" in how we teach, and instead take pleasure in those spontaneous teachable moments that arise from our own students. We need to throw away the state standards that require us to "cover" a ridiculous, unattainable amount of material, and relish in the PLEASURE of expressive writing and independent reading that will motivate students to become lifelong learners rather than resent the institutions of learning.

My only major critique of this book is the large number of typos I came across throughout my reading. It was disappointing because it kind of diminished the power of his message a little bit.

Other than that though, it is a wonderful, career-affirming book to read if you're a language arts teacher.

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