First Look: New Education Books Excellent Sheep and Building a Better Teacher
In Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (August 2014), former Yale professor William Deresiewicz delivers a groundbreaking manifesto for people searching for the kind of insight on leading, thinking, and living that elite schools should be—but aren’t—providing. Spurred by the reaction to his landmark essays “The Disadvantages of an Elite Education” and “Solitude and Leadership,” the book takes a look at the culture of competition and fear in the elite education admissions system, and why young people are losing the ability to think critically and creatively. But they can find their way to a meaningful life, argues Deresiewicz—if we re-focus higher education on the development of self. Deresiewicz is a contributing writer for The Nation and contributing editor for The New Republic and The American Scholar.
We’ve all had great teachers who opened our minds, and maybe even changed our lives. But how can we make every teacher a “star” teacher? Elizabeth Green’s book Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) (August 2014) presents teaching as a complex skill—one that requires infrastructure for support and training. She introduces a new generation of educators who are revealing the hidden science behind their art, and provides a new way for teachers, parents, and policymakers to judge what is needed in the classroom—and how to make every teacher great. Green is co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers educational change efforts across the country.
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