- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Oxford; Edition edition (18 April 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199643261
- ISBN-13: 978-0199643264
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.3 x 11.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#2,14,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #106 in Books > Textbooks & Study Guides > Higher Education Textbooks > Teaching & Education > History & Theory
- #120 in Books > Textbooks & Study Guides > Higher Education Textbooks > Teaching & Education > Special Education
- #190 in Books > Textbooks & Study Guides > Higher Education Textbooks > Teaching & Education > Educational Philosophy
Education: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 18 Apr 2013
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In easy-going prose peppered with illustrations, examples and anecdotes, Education: a very short introduction provides readers with a basic overview of philosophy, history, theory, scientific research and contemporary policy in field of education in the United States and the UK, from Plato to No Child Left Behind. The book manages to cover all the bases, including every major thinker, researcher, and policy that youd want, without devolving into encyclopedic minutia. Highly recommended. (Choice, Ben Justice)
It's a real gem of a book that pulls ideas together, that challenges and inspires - and that makes you laugh. Highly recommended. (Times Higher Education Supplement)
...an elegant and engaging work. Gary Thomas has sketched key issues with admirable economy and insight. (Professor Chris Husbands, Director - Institute of Education, University of London)
About the Author
Gary Thomas has spent his career working in education, first as a primary school teacher, then as an educational psychologist, then as an academic in five universities. He is currently a professor in education at the University of Birmingham.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I gave this book five stars for good reason, it is simply the most comprehensive, least biased, and succinct writing about the incredibly complex, horribly misunderstood, and costly topic most of us offhandedly refer to as education.
Am I qualified to award this book with a five-star rating? I’ll let you be the judge.
I am a Ph.D. candidate researching a specific aspect of K-12 education in the US. I am not a K-12 teacher or school administrator. I am someone who views the education system through the lens of organizational/institutional change. As a Ph.D. candidate, I have read numerous journal articles, books, blogs, academic presentations, and the like attempting to broaden my base of understanding about this extremely complex topic.
I can say unequivocally, this book gave me the ability to visualize the subject matter within the context of time, major influencers, world events, and multiple ongoing examples of theoretical approaches to teaching-priceless perspectives.
I think if this masterfully written book (meaning most who read it will understand it) is strategically distributed to decision-makers of all stripes, it has the potential to inspire meaningful and widespread deliberative dialogue about what is probably the most important topic of our time.
And, unlike some other in the VSI series, this is pretty well written.
Personally, I found Mr. Thomas' "very short history" of education to be meaningful in two specific ways. The first is as an educator and the second is as a parent. As an educator, the synopsis of education helped me to put in perspective what it is I'm trying to accomplish as an instructor. This introduction took me on a professional journey and showed me the immense value of not assuming that teaching equals learning. The focus of education should be on the manner in which students learn and the experiences students can have to assist with learning. Graduating or "earning" a passing grade does not mean that education has occurred. The goals should not be pressuring to get high test scores, frightening people into "learning," or boring students into submission; it should be on creating an environment where students have the highest chance of elevating themselves and their knowledge.
As a parent of two home-schooled children, Mr. Thomas helped me to further see the benefits of strengthening the learning environment at home. Not every parent is in a situation where a structured home-schooling situation is an option. But even if home has not become a "school" for a child, it is always a place of education and learning. Sadly, home has to often "fix" the impact of bad teaching on children. One of my children had a bad experience with a teacher in kindergarden that carried over to at least his first two years of schooling at home. He was frightened to learn, afraid to make a mistake because of a rigidity and hyperfocus on the negative he encountered from a teacher. There are fabulous teachers within school systems who encourage and support students. These are teachers who are hard-working, dedicated, and compassionate. Mr. Thomas' review of education reinforced that although schools and classrooms are places designed for learning, that they don't all encourage learning to take place, and education occurs at almost all times in different situations, various locations, and around all kinds of people. A parent's role in education of their children - home-schooled or not, will not only be impactful and memorable, it can offset a negative educational experience.
This book may have been a "very short history," but it will benefit me, my family, and my students for a long time to come.