The outstanding forward by Elliot Eisner succinctly outlines the six theses of this collection of previously published essays by Kieran. These are further distilled into the three major headings presented by the author. Section l focuses on the thinking of children and how it has been misunderstood and misrepresented through the commonly accepted developmental theories of Piaget and others who consider intellectual growth a cumulative act. The second section deals with the largely under theorized terrain of children’s fantastic and imaginative thinking and the way it offers significant insights into both how formal curricula can function to restrain and limit thinking, and how creative forces in the child are ignored and held suspect by the dominant discourse of schools. The closing section addresses mainstream social science research in education, where methods and theories constructed for inanimate objects are applied to living social organisms. The resultant misconstructions offered up as “objective research” have led to continuing methods and programs that are built on suspect theory. (BD)
Egan’s approach is not based on the usually accepted concepts of learning (going from concrete to abstract, simple to complex), which are deadening to the learner’s imagination. Egan suggests a new planning model that uses storytelling to provide children with the power of the imagination and engagement with the learning experience. This book is useful to teachers of young children in rethinking their approach to curriculum and in constructing learning experiences based on John Dewey’s and Jean Piaget’s theories of how children view the world. (SR)
Recognizing that physics is often perceived, as being highly abstract, Ehrlich provides a collection of simple and inexpensive physics demonstrations and experiments that will be useful and effective for teachers and students. He also lays out the basic principles of designing successful demonstrations.