If the essential acts of teaching are the same for schoolteachers and professors, why are they seen as members of quite separate professions? Would the nation's schools be better served if teachers shared more of the authority that professors have long enjoyed? Will a slow revolution be completed that enables schoolteachers to take charge of their practice--to shoulder more responsibility for hiring, mentoring, promoting, and, if necessary, firing their peers?
This book explores these questions by analyzing the essential acts of teaching in a way that will help all teachers become more thoughtful practitioners. It presents portraits of teachers (most of them women) struggling to take control of their practice in a system dominated by an administrative elite (mostly male). The educational system, Gerald Grant and Christine Murray argue, will be saved not by better managers but by better teachers. And the only way to secure them is by attracting talented recruits, developing their skills, and instituting better means of assessing teachers' performance.
Grant and Murray describe the evolution of the teaching profession over the last hundred years, and then focus in depth on recent experiments that gave teachers the power to shape their schools and mentor young educators. The authors conclude by analyzing three equally possible scenarios depicting the role of teachers in 2020.
Gerald Grant and Christine Murray have interviewed and observed more than 500 teachers and spent a decade studying schools, colleges, and universities. The book that grew out of that research, Teaching in America describes a paradox made apparent by their work. Schoolteachers and professors do the same fundamental work--teaching students--yet the respect, compensation, and working conditions of schoolteachers often fall short of those traditionally accorded to professors...Those separate histories have created misleading images of each profession, [Grant] adds: To see professors as bookish scholars is as much of a distortion as to see schoolteachers as little more than baby sitters.
Teaching in America is an engaging book. For the reader who is or has been an educator in the schools, the historical narratives and the contemporary issues ring true. But the book lends itself to a much wider audience that includes all those interested in our schools and in education who want to understand the complexities of where we are and how we got there by listening to the voices of teachers in a relatively jargon-free story.
Readers concerned with the condition of public schools and the status of schoolteachers will find that Grant and Murray not only provide them with solid ammunition for debate but also give them reason to keep up their spirits.
By sharing the thoughts of famous teachers and some ordinary ones too, [Gerald Grant and Christine Murray] thoughtfully review the teaching profession. Their in-depth focus on recent experiments that give teachers the power to shape their schools and mentor new recruits to teaching is insightful. Grant and Murray conclude that the educational system will be saved not by better managers but by better teachers. These new teachers' talents and skills must be developed and their teaching performance assessed through better means and the involvement of other teachers.
Grant and Murray base their work on years of research in grade schools, high schools, and higher education institutions. They address the positive aspects of teaching and explore questions dealing with the empowerment of U.S. schoolteachers. The authors argue that teaching is a multi-skilled activity that involves knowing the learners, engaging and motivating the students, imparting knowledge, modeling appropriate behavior, and evaluating student progress...Teachers, parents, and those preparing themselves for teaching as a vocation will be inspired by this true analysis of their profession. Recommended for all libraries.
Teaching in America not only poses many questions about the state of education in the next generation--How will teachers think about themselves and their profession? Will teachers be able to meet the nation's changing educational goals? How will a new generation of creative, talented people be drawn into the field of education?--but also provides the information and inspiration needed in the search for answers to those questions.
Gerald Grant and Christine Murray have written a classic study of teaching. In powerful, often lyrical profiles they take the reader up close to the everyday experiences of teachers, the professional and ethical decisions they make, the satisfactions and challenges they find in their work. They also step back to see the profession in historical perspective and project alternative futures. The book cuts through the cant and hype that pervade much talk of educational reform while it offers hope for a 'slow revolution.'
In this admirably inclusive history of the marvels and malaise of our public school system, a portrait emerges of its unsung heroes. For all the broad sweep of reform movements and power struggles at the top, Grant and Murray are most intrigued and inspired by the dreams and disappointments of those individual schoolteachers who dared to challenge the hierarchy and follow their own visions toward a more exciting classroom life for themselves and their students. It is this quest for self direction that may define the next century of teaching in America. If the authors' radical notion is valid, that the art of teaching is the same whether practiced in grad school or the university, then we as a nation must decide: How is the dignity of the teacher-child relationship to be enhanced and valued? Teaching in America helps us gain the necessary perspective with which to debate these and other urgent issues concerning the future of our schools.
- 288 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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