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Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.

Reading, Writing, and Thinking

The Postformal Basics

Series:

Paul L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe

In a world gone mad with standardized curricula and the degradation of the profession of teaching, P. L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe attempt to bring sanity back to the discussion of the teaching of some of the basic features of the educational process. In Reading, Writing, and Thinking: The Postformal Basics the authors take on the “rational irrationality” of current imperial pedagogical practices, providing readers with provocative insights into the bizarre assumptions surrounding the contemporary teaching of reading, writing, and thinking. The authors are obsessed with producing an accessible book for multiple audiences—parents, teachers, scholars of education—that moves beyond critique to a new domain of the social and educational imagination. Readers of Thomas’ and Kincheloe’s book embark on a mind trip beginning with “what is” and moving to the realm of “what could be.” In this context they introduce readers to a critical theory of thinking—postformalism—that moves the social and educational conversation to a new terrain of individual and social consciousness.
Tired of the same educational policies and “solutions” in the teaching of reading, writing, and thinking, the authors become socio-psychic explorers who move readers past the boundaries of contemporary pedagogical perception.