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Inside Teaching

Inside Teaching

How Classroom Life Undermines Reform

Mary M. Kennedy

ISBN 9780674022454

Publication date: 09/01/2006

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Reform the schools, improve teaching: these battle cries of American education have been echoing for twenty years. So why does teaching change so little?

Arguing that too many would-be reformers know nothing about the conflicting demands of teaching, Mary Kennedy takes us into the controlled commotion of the classroom, revealing how painstakingly teachers plan their lessons, and how many different ways things go awry. Teachers try simultaneously to keep track of materials, time, students, and ideas. In their effort to hold all of these things together, they can inadvertently quash students' enthusiasm and miss valuable teachable moments.

Kennedy argues that pedagogical reform proposals that do not acknowledge all of the things teachers need to do are bound to fail. If reformers want students to learn, they must address all of the problems teachers face, not just those that interest them.


  • An absolutely outstanding book, and a major contribution to the literature on teaching. Inside Teaching advances our understanding of teaching practice by giving a disciplined, empirical account of the ways in which teachers conceive of and enact their practice, and [relates it to] current debates about education reform. Every student in my class will be reading this book.

    —Richard F. Elmore, Gregory Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership, Harvard Graduate School of Education


  • Mary M. Kennedy is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 0-11/16 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press