Covey, S. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people.
New York: Simon & Schuster, A Fireside Book.
Doll, B., Zucker, S., & Brehm, K. (1999, April). Reliability and
validity of ClassMaps. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of
the National Association of School Psychologists, LA, NV. ERIC document
number ED 435 934 Retrieved from: http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=
ED435934 January 5, 2005.
Fullan, M. (2001). Change forces with a vengeance. Boston:
Telzrow, C.E., McNamara, K., & Hollinger, C.L. (2000). Fidelity of
problem-solving implementation and relationship to student performance.
School Psychology Review, 29, 443-461.
Zucker, S., Brehm, K., & Doll, B. (2000, April). ClassMaps: Making
mentally healthy classrooms promotes academic success. Paper
presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of School
Psychologists, New Orleans, LA.
ISBN: 1 59385 001 8
Reviewed by Ruth Rees, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education,
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Karten, Toby J. (2005)
Inclusion Strategies That Work! : Research-Based Methods for the
Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin
The title of this book can be read a number of ways. Taking the
first phrase, it might be understood that some inclusion strategies
don’t work. The second phrase suggests that the methods detailed in the
book are directly linked to research and perhaps an interpretation might
be that many methods are not research-based. I opened the book to read
wondering what might be in store.
The preface identifies the aim as “to facilitate learning for
students with and without disabilities by jump-starting teachers with
research-based strategies for inclusive classrooms” (p.ix). I
interpreted this as focussing on the needs of practising, qualified
teachers. I expected to read research and strategies for classroom
implementation. What I found within the book was a little different
from what the title and preface conveyed.
Karten’s text covers twelve chapters and four resource sections in
381 pages. Each chapter follows roughly the same format. Each begins
with a clear statement of purpose and this statement is consistent with
the text that follows. Chapters move from background information to
classroom specifics and back to generalised big picture information.
The first two chapters deal with foundational aspects of inclusion such
as philosophy, legislation and definition. Chapters three to nine
articulate classroom oriented teaching methods. They move from the whole
environment of the classroom through plans, social skills, co-teaching,
curriculum, and process skills to assessment and grading of students
with special needs. Chapter ten addresses the close relationship that
is an aspect of including a student with special needs – that of working
with the student's parents. Chapter eleven briefly looks at technology
in the inclusive classroom and the final chapter uses the content of the
book to demonstrate the value of reflection as a learning practice.
The first chapter moves from a definition of inclusion through to
United States legislation on general and educational notions of
inclusion and the rights of people with disabilities. This chapter also
addresses the research theme of the title, quoting snippets from
13 sources (over two pages) and distilling these to "Eighteen Inclusive
The author has indeed covered a good breadth of information on a
complex topic. She moves from philosophy to practicalities and
communication with key individuals involved in the inclusion process.
She is consistent with her approach and elaborates through example in
many instances. The chapter topics are a comprehensive list of aspects
that a teacher needs to be cognisant of in providing facility and
environment for a student with special need, or indeed any student, if
student centred learning is enacted.
The methods conveyed are considered amongst current best practice in
many of the curriculum areas without being labelled as inclusion
strategies. Unfortunately, the majority of content of the chapters does
not link the methods to research. The only direct discussion or mention
of research is the summary of research in the first chapter. I found
this a little disappointing; I was expecting to read some discussion or
at least citation of research that specifically supported the methods
for use in inclusion practices.
Making notes when reading the text, I found myself consistently
being reminded of good practice, and the author has given a variety of
exercises and activities for readers to more fully understand and
interact with the content of the book. However, I wondered whether
these activities would sustain the attention of an experienced general
education teacher for any length of time. Undergraduate students of
teaching methods and those with little experience of inclusion may gain
benefit from reading and referring to this book; however, in my opinion
it didn’t address the needs of experienced teachers or those wanting
more academic justification, which the promise of research implied.
As an Australian educator, I am aware of many of the generalities of
inclusive education legislation in the United States of America; however
I was at a loss to judge the specific validity of interpretation of the
legislation and the breadth or depth of many of the resources listed in
some sections. This is another limiting aspect for the audience outside
the USA. I did think it a lost opportunity - had some information from
other countries been provided, particularly on the legislative front,
there would have been a little more rigour for the critical reader.
The book overall has strength of content in many practical areas.
It is easy to read and clearly set out and would be beneficial for
undergraduates and those beginning in inclusive environments.
Price: $79.97 (cloth), $34.95(paper)
ISBN: 1412905249 (cloth), 1-4129-0525-7(paper)
Reviewed by Vickie L. Vance, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New
South Wales, Australia.
Kinnear, Paul R. & Gray, Colin D. (2004)
SPSS 12 Made Simple.
Hove, East Sussex; New York: Psychology Press.
That I was drawn to this book is not surprising: its title is
immensely comforting to someone like me, whose background is in the
humanities but who can always use a hand with SPSS (Statistical Package
for the Social Sciences). Given my historical aversion to numbers and
limited experience with SPSS, I consider myself the target audience for
Kinnear & Gray’s updated and revised text. I have adopted two personas
to review it. The first harkens back to how I would have read the
textbook as I was discovering statistics and started using SPSS for
graduate studies and educational research; the second is me now, more
confident with both statistics and SPSS but still looking to learn about
its range of statistical analytical procedures.
That was ThenTerrific – the preface states that the text assumes no previous
knowledge of SPSS. That’s me. If I am to complete this survey
methodology coursework, I need jargon-free, practical strategies that
will help me make sense of SPSS’ complex set of options.
Chapter 1 is a great start. It offers three guidelines for choosing
a statistical test – research question, research design, and type of
data to be analyzed – and five sample research questions to illustrate
different research situations. The five flow charts help me understand
the different statistical tests that can be run in SPSS – e.g. to
examine the effects of one variable on another (i.e. t-test, ANOVA), the
relationships between variables (i.e. correlations, regressions), or to
find subsets of variables in a dataset that group together in a
meaningful way (i.e. exploratory factor analysis). For the most part,
this introductory overview uses non-technical language – and when
specialist terms are used, they are identified in bold and explained in
such a way that even a quantaphobe like me can follow. I also like how
each of the five research situations are picked-up and developed in
Chapters 2 to 5 are equally as user-friendly with an aim to get
readers comfortable operating in the SPSS environment. Accessible
instructions and numerous examples explain its various buttons, drop-
down menus, and outputs and invite me to enter and explore data, merge
files, and produce graphs and charts. After all, I need to know how to
edit and manipulate data before I can describe it, let alone carry-out
any statistical tests and interpret the results. I like how each
chapter ends with practical exercises for further practice. In fact,
the book includes 24 such chapter-specific exercises in all – and ends
with 6 general revision exercises. That’s great for the self-directed
SPSS learner. All the exercises are fairly easy to follow and each
takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Thankfully, the larger data sets can be
downloaded from the book’s web site. I just wish an answer key had been
provided, either as an appendix or on the web site, so that I could
check my own work. Now that I am somewhat comfortable using the SPSS
platform, let’s attempt to understand and run a few statistical tests
from Chapters 6 to 15….
I think I’m getting this. At least, with what’s covered in Chapters
6-12 and 15. Each focuses on one or two clearly explained examples to
demystify the procedures of running different statistical tests.
Helpful screen snapshots of SPSS output, windows, and dialog boxes walk
readers through the running of statistical analyses to compare
differences between two (Chs. 6) or more samples (Chs. 7-10) of scores;
measure relationships between two or more variables (Chs. 11-12); and
explore the underlying structure to tests and measures (Ch. 15). I was
able to follow all of that – and I like how sample write-ups of results
in APA format are included, which provides much-needed practical
guidance on how to interpret, report, and present the output of
statistical analyses. However, I was way out of my league with Chapters
13 (multi-contingency tables) and 14 (discriminant analysis and logistic
regression). I had a hard time following the instructions and the
advice offered in both chapters.
For the most part, then, SPSS 12 Made Simple meets my needs
as a beginning (and nervous!) student with little understanding of
statistics and a limited knowledge of SPSS. There is plenty of useful,
student-oriented, and accessible material to analyze painlessly
statistical data in SPSS.
This is NowBeing fairly comfortable with the SPSS environment, I didn’t really
learn anything new in the first five chapters. Ditto for chapters 6-12
and 15, given my reasonable understanding of statistics, though they
were user-friendly recaps. I guess I was looking to learn more about
the theory behind the application of different statistical options in
SPSS (such as in Chs. 13-14), though this might detract from the book’s
main purpose and audience.
I also found that the so-called “comprehensive index” had one main
shortcoming: it does not reference by data type (i.e. nominal,
ordinal, scale) the various statistical tests that can be run. This
oversight is especially noticeable given chapter one’s discussion of
data type as one of three key considerations when choosing a statistical
test. Though the index does include a limited number of entries for
each data type, it does not list the various data-type specific tests
that can be run in SPSS (e.g. Friedman test for ordinal data). This
limits the book’s referencing capacity for those seeking guidance on how
to apply the very many, but less commonly used, SPSS functions to
analyze different kinds of data.
Consequently, this may not be the textbook for those with some
grounding in statistics and SPSS experience. Their needs might be
better met in a text such as Discovering Statistics Using SPSS for
Windows by Andy Field. It includes both introductory and more
difficult material, which is designed to be read at a number of levels;
and, I believe, better supports the learning and application of more
advanced statistics using SPSS.
Field, Andy P. (2000). Discovering statistics using SPSS for
Windows: Advanced techniques for the beginner. London; Thousand
Oaks: Sage Publications, 2000.
Reviewed by Eric Jabal, PhD Candidate, OISE-University of Toronto,
Lee, Chris (2004)
Preventing Bullying in Schools: A Guide for Teachers and Other
Chapman; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Written from the whole-school perspective on bullying prevention,
Chris Lee’s book, Preventing Bullying in Schools: A Guide for
Teachers and Other Professionals offers a series of activities and
discussion points aimed at increasing awareness about bullying and
informing school policy and practices. This practical guidebook is
aimed primarily for teachers and others working in schools as well as
students of education.
One likely use for this book is for professional or staff
development. It presents detailed examples and specific small group
exercises and includes various perspectives for reflection and
discussion. Content is drawn from the author’s work and conversations
with teachers as well as research. The book could be used successfully
as a tool for professional development groups when accompanied by some
coordination and facilitation.
Anti-bullying policies and projects use a variety of strategies, and
there is no agreement in the field regarding which approach is best for
which type of school environment. This guidebook describes a number of
approaches, but other sources should be consulted for a fuller picture.
This book presents a focused discussion of bullying and prevention.
Activities and information regarding the potential risks of not
preventing or addressing bullying and the harm that it does to many
could be a useful addition.
Some of the details in the book are specific to British schools and
some of the approaches may not fit well for those in other countries.
However, the overall content is likely to be applicable for educators in
Price: $27.95 (paper); $61.95 (cloth)
ISBN: 0-7619-4472-9 (paper); 0-7619-4471-0 (cloth)
Reviewed by Laurel Haycock, University of Minnesota Libraries
McGee, Lea & Richgels, Donald (2003)
Designing Early Literacy Programs: Strategies for At-Risk Preschool
and Kindergarten Children.
New York: Guilford Press.
Designing Early Literacy Programs is a guide for developing
early literacy programs for preschool and kindergarten children who are
at risk for reading failure. This book reflects the current interest in
early literacy instruction that has arisen in response to the Early
Reading First section of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) and the
findings of the National Research Council published in Preventing
Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, Burns, & Griffin,
Designing Early Literacy Programs is divided into ten
chapters and two appendices. The first five chapters lay the foundation
with a discussion of risk factors for reading failure, literacy
development, assessment of early literacy skills, the role of the
classroom environment in literacy development, and the interaction of
language development and literacy. The following three chapters provide
concrete suggestions for early literacy programs with discussions of
classroom activities designed to expand children’s vocabulary and
comprehension, phonological awareness alphabet recognition, and print
concepts. The last two chapters provide illustrations of a
prekindergarten and a kindergarten curriculum that integrate reading and
writing within a themed unit. The two appendices contain a primer on
phonics and sample literacy assessments.
McGee and Richgels discuss the impact of both research and policy on
designing a high quality early literacy programs. The National Research
Council (Snow et al., 1998) published research findings indicating that
low income, minority status, and low English proficiency are correlated
with reading failure. These findings led Snow et al. to the policy
suggestion that these risk factors should form the basis of selection
for early literacy programs. McGee and Richgels point out that “an easy
mistake is to overgeneralize that all these children have low levels of
literacy knowledge when they enter the program, and therefore require
the same instruction” (p. 12). The authors propose that early literacy
programs need to focus on accelerating learning for children with
McGee and Richgels stress the importance of using assessment to make
instructional decisions. They suggest that children be assessed in six
critical areas of early literacy development: oral language development,
size of vocabulary, concept of story, alphabet knowledge, word concept,
and print concepts. The authors believe that both initial and on-going
assessment is needed for effective instruction.
Teachers will find the chapters illustrating early literacy training
within prekindergarten and kindergarten themed units to be very useful.
McGee and Richgels promote the use of learning centers for
prekindergarten and kindergarten classes. The authors provide examples
of how to incorporate themed units into a variety of class learning
centers. Especially interesting is the example of how a bear theme can
be used to teach Kindergarten Research by showing children how to note
the differences between fiction and nonfiction bear books.
The only weak area of the book involves English language learners
(ELLs). Although speaking a language other than English at home is one
of the main risk factors, this group receives only limited attention in
the book. McGee and Richgels operate on the assumption that ELLs will
develop the necessary literacy skills within the context of a high
quality program, as long as they receive support for language
development in their native language. The authors suggest that teachers
must “actively seek ways to bring speakers of other languages into the
preschool or kindergarten setting” (p. 70). Recent research has argued
that more direct instruction about English needs to take place for ELLs
to learn how to read (McLaughlin, B., August, D., & Snow, C. 2000).
Despite the weakness regarding ELLs this is a well-written and
useful book that provides a research basis for implementing early
literacy instruction for high-risk children. I recommend this book for
early childhood students and educators.
Elementary and Secondary Education Subpart 2 - Early Reading First, No
Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L 107-110. Accessed December 29, 2004 from http:/
McLaughlin, B., August, D., and Snow, C. (2000). Vocabulary knowledge
and reading comprehension in English language learners. Final
performance report. (ED 457696)
Washington DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Retrieved
January 6, 2005 from http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accn
Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., and Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing Reading
Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, DC: National Academy
Reviewed by Cynthia Crosser, Social Science and Humanities Reference
Librarian/Education and Psychology Bibliographers at the University of
Maine. In addition to her M.S. in Library Studies from Florida State
University, she has an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of
Florida with a specialization in language acquisition.
McLaughlin, Maureen & DeVoogd, Glenn L. (2004)
Critical Literacy: Enhancing Students’ Comprehension of Text.
New York: Scholastic.
This book consists of six chapters focusing on different aspects of
literacy. McLaughlin and DeVoogd point out very early in the book that
their concept of critical literacy extends beyond the traditional
definition of comprehension in that it requires students to understand
the text from beyond what appears on the printed page. They further
stress that Critical Literacy is supported by research that
points to the importance of understanding text from multiple points of
view and the relationship between individuals.
The book begins with a good explanation of the authors’ view of
critical literacy. They explain well the concept of becoming critically
aware. Critical literacy focuses on exploring an author’s perceptions
of certain issues and having students reflect on this process. This
reflection will then bring about transformation and may result in
students taking action to address the issue. In essence, critical
literacy focuses on helping students have different perspectives of
subjects presented by authors and understanding these problems and their
Students need to understand the relationship between the author and
the reader. McLaughlin and DeVoogd stress the importance of knowing
that authors have the power to create and present the message; readers
have the power and the right to be critics, by reading, questioning and
analysing the author’s message. This section is well written and
comprehensive. The information given is useful and easy to understand.
The book provides some usable strategies to help enhance critical
literacy in the classroom. It must be noted that these strategies are
based on the assumption that the students using the strategies do not
have any reading disabilities and are first language learners.
Therefore, it is important for novice teachers to note that these
strategies may not be suitable for their classrooms if they have
learning disabled students.
The later portion of the book explains the details of carrying out
some of the strategies suggested by the authors. It discusses the
activities that can be carried out in the classroom to help students see
beyond the literal level of the text. The authors suggest using probing
questions to help students think and learn about the text. Students are
brought a step further in their critical thinking by activities helping
them to explore identities within the text. The authors use sample texts
to illustrate the manner in which this can be carried out. The texts
suggested range from grades K-8. All texts, according to the authors,
are biased to a certain degree because they are written from the
perspective of a particular author or group of authors. McLaughlin and
DeVoogd argue that it is important for students to see beyond the bias
for critical understanding. This will enable students to feel empowered
to make an argument for their perceptions of the story. The final
chapter of the book gives a summary of teachers’ reflections and
students’ perspectives to support the effectiveness of critical literacy.
Critical literacy is without question an important part of the
learning process for students. It is important to bear in mind that the
strategies offered in this book are mainly for students who are not
learning disabled and who speaks English as a first language. The book
on the whole is informative and well written with many practical
suggestions. It is good resource material for teachers although some of
the strategies suggested may have to be tailored to suit its use is
other types of classrooms, like an English as a second language class or
special education classes.
Reviewed by S. Chee Choy, P.hD., Tunku Abdul Rahman College, Perak
Branch Campus, Perak, Malaysia
Mooney, Margaret E. (2004)
A Book is a Present: Selecting Text for Intentional Teaching.
Katonah, NY: Richard C. Owen
How can a teacher determine the suitability of a reading text for
their students? What are the factors that influence the readability of
a particular book? What supports can a teacher provide to insure that
all students benefit from required readings? All these questions focus
on the importance of text selection and utilization within the classroom
and constitute the focus of this book by Margaret E. Mooney. Mooney’s
interest here is in helping teachers take an in-depth look at the books
they use in the classroom; specifically the text of the books, the
illustrations of the books, the overall design of the books and how each
of these factors influence student learning. Along with knowing the
books, teachers must know their students and their reading abilities,
says Mooney. Together, these two sets of knowledge, allow classroom
teachers to effectively instruct students through texts, both fictional
A native of New Zealand, Mooney now travels between there and the
state of Washington, working with teachers to develop their skills of
text selection and classroom utilization. Long a strong proponent of
guided reading, Mooney, in this text, takes teachers one step further
and asks them to discover the individual texts they use in the classroom
and learn how to analyze and utilize the texts for maximum benefit to
each student. Mooney recognizes that each person brings unique insights
and understandings to text, but she provides general principles teachers
can work with in analyzing texts. She also examines how teachers can
ascertain the motives and desires of authors and illustrators and how
both words and illustrations direct the interaction between student and
Mooney considers good books a present, as indicated by the title,
and begins her book by suggesting ways teachers can evaluate a book,
both its content and its format. She calls Part 1, “Finding the
Present,” which looks at how books are leveled, how books are
categorized, how to link books to student abilities and how books and
All of the following, according to Mooney, are important components in
book evaluation and selection: cover, title page, table of contents,
content, form, language, style, illustrative material, typography.
Through the ten short chapters in part 1, Mooney explores these areas
closely, helping teachers understand why each is important and the role
they play in supporting student success in reading.
In Part 2, “Using the Present,” Mooney moves to the area of
application. Through the use of specific examples, she examines how to
use texts effectively in reading instruction, linking text features to
student preferences and abilities. For examples, in Chapter 12, “The
Hungry Sea Star—Encouraging Inferential Reading of Text and
Illustration, Mooney explores how the book The Hungry Sea Star
supports inferential reading through its text and illustrations. This
chapter includes pictures from the book with leading questions for the
readers that allow them to discover how to use the text to encourage
inferential reading. Chapter 13 looks at the story Dear Red Riding
Hood and explores the idea, as noted in the subtitle, “There is More
to a Good Text than the First Reading.” The remainder of the book
examines three other texts: The Birds at My Barn, Minibeasts,
and A Storyteller’s Story, and the reading skills they support.
Two of these titles are actually included in shrink-wrap with Mooney’s
book: The Birds at My Barn, a fictional story and
Minibeasts, a small informational magazine.
Mooney’s text challenges elementary teachers to move beyond just
knowing about a book to really examining a book’s content, both the
words and drawings on the pages. She asks teachers to reflectively
consider the material they are using in their classrooms and to
thoughtfully understand how this material is designed and how this
design impacts reading instruction. A Book is a Present offers
teachers a useful tool for growing in the choices they make when
teaching students to read. The book is easy-to-read and attractively
organized; supporting the concepts presented in the text. It includes
both a bibliography and index.
Reviewed by Stephanie DeLano Davis, Spring Arbor University, Spring
O’Hara, Mark (2004)
ICT in the Early Years.
London: Continuum Publishing
Educators are faced with the question of whether information and
communications technology (ICT) can offer developmentally appropriate
learning for preschool ages. Mark O’Hara discusses the developmental
appropriateness of technology and offers pedagogical and practical
suggestions for how to use ICT in the early years, primarily ages 3 to 5.
He includes in his definition of ICT not only computers, but also a wide
and diverse range of technology such as audio, video, television,
telephones, fax machines, personal organizers, programmable and remote
operated toys. Practitioner pedagogical knowledge and understanding of
young children’s needs and characteristics related to ICT is as
important as technical know how. The author offers practical examples of
how to use ICT in the early years and favors the inclusion of
communications media in practice. The examples involve ICT integration
in nursery (3-4-years-old) and reception (4-5-years-old) preschool
settings taking place during autumn, spring and summer terms. The
premise of O’Hara’s book is to help educators move beyond time-filler or
drill and practice use of computers to a more developmentally
appropriate inclusion of ICT characterized by play-based and imaginative
first-hand experience to learning.
The book is divided into four sections. The first section includes
the reasons and drives to integrate ICT in the early years as well as
pedagogical doubts about incorporating it. This section discusses
important policy developments, curriculum design and the current
practice primarily in England and Wales for the use of ICT in the early
years. O’Hara concludes this section with a commentary explaining the
reasons for the lack of ICT and inappropriate use of ICT in the early
years. The second section examines cognitive, social, emotional
development of young children as learners with a brief background of
Piaget, Bruner, and Vygotsky’s works. It explains how integration of
ICT can help children’s growth and development as individuals at diverse
and differing rates of development. Practical examples are included and
discussed; for example, young children’s adoption of male and female
roles at early ages. The third section reviews planning the curriculum,
organizing and managing computers, selecting software and importance of
adult guidance using the Internet. The fourth section discusses the role
and importance of early year educators in creating an environment that
stimulates and supports children’s learning through and about ICT. It
includes suggestions on planning the environment, managing and mediating
the learning and play, and assessing the early age child’s skills in ICT,
knowledge and understanding of ICT, and attitudes and dispositions
O’Hara offers a creative approach incorporating a diverse range of
play-based examples for integrating information and communications
technology in and outside the classroom. His book is not only a valuable
source for teachers, administrators and policy makers but also for
parents who would like to include a well-founded ICT integration in
their guidance to learning and interactions with their children.ICT
in the Early Years enables us to rethink our concerns and practices
of information and communications technology, and opens new venues for
investigating developmentally appropriate integration of ICT in
Reviewed by Selma Vonderwell, Cleveland State University
Queen, J. Allen & Queen, Patsy S. (2005)
The Frazzled Principal’s Wellness Plan: Reclaiming Time, Managing
Stress, and Creating a Healthy Lifestyle.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin
Dr. and Mrs. J. Allen Queen, a vibrant husband and wife practitioner
team, have collaborated on The Frazzled Principal’s Wellness Plan.
At first blush, this self-help book reminded me of an old army exercise
manual from the 1960’s, the one my father used to show me over and again
as a child. It was essentially an instruction booklet on the correct
way we should stand, sit, and breathe. He wanted me to grow up strong,
healthy and exuberant, able to live life to the fullest. I studied yoga
as a teenager and the Queens cover that also—with several picture
demonstrations by Dr. Queen. What I really found so entertaining about
this piece was the fact that Dr. Queen chose himself for the principal
model. He appears on several pages, demonstrating a myriad of exercise
postures. I assume he deliberately chose himself to draw our attention
to the material and the idea wholly worked. This is a script that is
geared towards the discerning principal educator. This paperback kept
my interest and I am confident that it will keep yours.
This volume would make a great gift for any principal and the many
principal “wannabees.” Reasonably priced, it covers helpful tips that
work fantastically towards “nipping in the bud” some common stress-
related woes. The Queens confront head on the issues that result from a
principal having to constantly negotiate with so many different people
(parents, students, teachers, and board members) whose thoughts and
timetables may differ immensely.
The first three sections deal with stress management. Any
principal is held accountable to a multitude of vocal groups. An
excessive amount of stress just seems to come with this territory.
Undue stress can cloud one’s thinking and wreak havoc on one’s personal
life and health. If it is not controlled early, burnout is likely and
then the principal just won’t be effective. The Queen’s offer some
suggestions to help manage stress.
The next several sections cover physical responses to stress. We
learn at an early age how being physically fit can aid us in positive
ways to become more productive. Simple stress relievers can include
walking, stretching, and yoga. A few alternate, but popular, exercise
forms are also discussed. Different yoga postures and techniques are
offered, and Dr. Queen as the model seems very proficient in
demonstrating the craft.
The authors contend that today’s principal is by and large
overworked. The principal is the person who is charged to rectify a
myriad of concerns that will arise, often on an unexpected basis. They
offer assistance to help principals prioritize what to do and how often,
and to decide who and what to handle first. Being human, we each have a
unique personality that sets us apart from other people. A principal
needs to use his personality—habits and the like-to work toward and not
against goals. The principal must learn that it’s ok to occasionally
Principals in their capacity as school point persons are the unsung
heroes of their schools. Stress (distress especially) is an unwelcome
culprit that creeps up unexpectedly and at the most inopportune moment.
Yet, the principal needs to meet all stressors head on to survive and
ideally to thrive. I believe that Dr. and Mrs. Queen provide a good
start toward a much needed remedy. I strongly urge you to purchase this
book for anyone currently in, or seriously thinking about, assuming the
multifaceted role of a school principal.
Price: $49.95 (cloth), $21.95 (paper)
ISBN: 076198884X (cloth), 0761988858 (paper)
Reviewed by Marla Mutis, MBA, MSOM, Doctoral Student, College of
Education, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL
Rose, Karel & Kincheloe, Joe L. (2003)
Art, Culture, & Education: Artful Teaching in a Fractured
New York: Peter
In a short space--152 pages--Karel Rose and Joe Kincheloe have a
complex set of interconnected stories to tell. The story that inspired
Art, Culture, & Education was that of a course the authors taught
together to undergraduate honors students at Brooklyn College. "High and
Low Art: Good and Bad Taste" occurred in Fall 1999, which coincided with
the "Sensation" controversy. This concerned the outcry inspired by this
exhibit of edgy and extreme art, particularly Chris Ofili’s “Holy Virgin
Mary,” whose breasts were painted with elephant dung. Controversy
returned later, with Renee Cox’s “Yo Mama’s Last Supper,” a photograph
depicting herself, with bared breasts, as the central Jesus figure.
Then-mayor Guiliani publicly criticized these works and pushed for
revoking funding for the Brooklyn Museum of Art for showing them.
Rose and Kincheloe are to be credited, first and foremost, for
displaying the pedagogical flexibility to take advantage of current
events and integrate them into their course. Secondly, they are to be
credited with producing a compelling example to follow by writing and
presenting this book.
The coincidence of the “sensation” exhibit and Rose and Kincheloe’s
class was mirrored by another coincidence: as this book was being
prepared in late 2001 the terrorist attacks of September 11 loomed over
all attempts to understand and construct political and aesthetic
experience. This coincidence provided the most direct referent for their
subtitle, Artful teaching in a fractured landscape.
The authors hope to draw a connection between their vision of
teaching art and that of artful teaching. These two goals converge in
“democratic art education,” which refutes a cultural elite’s “paradigm
enforcement” (p. 54) that imposes a canon and expects passive students,
as well as that elite’s hypostatization of that canon into something
timeless and context-free. Kincheloe describes in contrast “a
democratic aesthetic that refuses to surrender artistic judgment to an
elite pantheon of arbiters of taste” where “artistic production and
aesthetic evaluation become the province of everyone” (p. 55). Such an
artistic teaching and learning demands “rigorous scholarship” that leads
to an understanding of the power structure, the sociohistorical context,
in which a work of art is produced and received.
One recurring effect of an undemocratic establishment and
perpetuation of an artistic canon is racial bias. Western artistic
elites have historically marginalized the racial and gender other and,
accompanied by the likes of Giuliani, continue to do so today. Cox’s
and Ofili’s work was berated not primarily for its form or content, but
for being the works and perspectives of the Black other, particularly at
a time when the mayor was engaged in a racially-charged and devisive
"clean-up" of the city. The charge of continued racial bias pertains to
the artistic establishment as well. Even where art from other groups
has been admitted to the canon, it has had to meet White standards to be
deemed worthy of this inclusion. Rose and Kincheloe claim that Guiliani
reflects conservative, White-victimization sentiments that seek to turn
back what few gains have been made in admitting non-Whites into the
artistic establishment and other public spaces.
Another recurring theme is the challenge and possibility of
postmodernism. Like multiculturalism, postmodernism works to erase the
boundary between what is considered “high” and “low” art. A postmodern
artistic education allows students to see the aesthetic possibilities of
common experience and view with irony attempts to separate off a high,
elite genre of art. Furthermore, embracing what Kincheloe refers to as
“cognitive cubism,” (pp. 95 ff.) involves seeing reality as inherently
multiplex. We must learn to view the world from multiple perspectives
all at once.
Despite their commitments to democratic education the main voices we
hear in the book are the authors', particularly Kincheloe's. The voices
of the students in Rose and Kincheloe’s class, however, don't appear
until over two-thirds of the way through, at which point we hear them
for only two pages (pp. 112-114). (Later, Rose also includes commentary
from students in a different course, pp. 128-131.) The book closes with
a brief commentary by the artist Dread Scott. We get the benefit of his
authentic voice without, however, seeing him tie his call for art
leading to political action with the authors’ concern for education.
Because of these omissions, we are left without guidance concerning the
practical question we are likely to face in enacting Rose and
Kincheloe’s artful teaching. How do we overcome students’ resistance to
pluralistic, postmodern, artful learning? Overcoming this resistance is
a daunting challenge. We cannot tell from the text if they successfully
met this challenge, let alone how they did so.
In their efforts to promote engagement with the political and social
aspect of artistic expression and education Rose and Kincheloe, perhaps
unintentionally, marginalize the purely aesthetic. While criticizing an
educational functionalism focused on job placement, their emphasis on
art for social critique and political change could be accused of its own
breed of narrow functionalism. Unfortunately, an appreciation of the
aesthetic as such is one more element that has gone missing in
contemporary curricula. Kincheloe does not provide us much ammunition in
the fight to bring it back; Rose addresses an expanded notion of beauty
and the aesthetic briefly, near the end of the book (p.123).
As noted, there are significant omissions to what could have been a
well-developed (while not prescriptive) call to engagement in “artful
teaching” and “democratic art education.” Nevertheless, this book can
serve as a case study and source of inspiration to teachers and
instructors, at the college or high school level, who remain committed,
despite all the obstacles, to having the aesthetic and the critical hold
a prominent place in their curricula.
Reviewed by Brian Burtt, a PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh.
His primary interests are the role of education in political theory and
the philosophy of educational research.