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Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think And What We Can Do About It Paperback – October 15, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684856204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684856209
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Louise Bates Ames Gesell Institute of Human Development Provocative, scholarly, and timely. Society may actually be changing our children's brains for the worse.

Priscilla Vail author of Smart Kids with School Problems Endangered Minds is a masterly blend of scientific knowledge, educational expertise, psychological insight, and common sense....Jane Healy sounds warnings we should all heed, and offers priorities and strategies compatible with the nature of childhood and the flowering of intellect.

Educational Leadership A fascinating exploration of today's much-deplored decline in school achievement....[Healy] clearly conveys the relationship between language, learning, and brain development, then explains why television viewing and present-day lifestyles sabotage language acquisition, thinking, and personal success.

About the Author

Jane M. Healy, Ph.D. is a teacher and educational psychologist who has worked with young people of all ages, from pre-school to graduate school. She has been a classroom teacher, reading and learning specialist, school administrator, and clinician. She is currently a lecturer and consultant, and the author of three books about how children do (and don’t) learn, Your Child’s Growing Mind, Endangered Minds, and Failure to Connect. She and her work have been featured in national media such as CNN and NPR. She has twice been named “Educator of the Year” by Delta Kappa Gamma, the professional honor society of women educators.  Jane and her husband claim they have learned most of what they know from raising three sons and enjoying six grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 101 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book over 8 years ago. It really opened my mind to how I wanted to raise my children with respect to television, family time, over commitments, and developmental learning. I have two children ages 8 and 10. They are both at the top of their respective classes, they love to learn and they love to read. They are able to carry-on intelligent conversation at the dinner table and with others that they deal with. They had very little TV exsposure as pre-schoolers, and now TV is limited to the weekends only. I credit this book with guiding me to be a better parent in regards to their academic development. I recommend this book to any new parent. Gain control of the TV and computer games before they take hold of your children's minds.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By John Winter on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend this book to both parents and teacher alike. Healy maintains an interesting writing style throughout the text, and actively engages her audience. While I do feel the text is rather long, it doesn't dissolve into random banter. The book stays focused until the end, providing many provoking lines of thought. For instance: Since the introduction of standardized schooling over a hundred years ago, the rate of literacy has radically declined. How did we go from a nation of unschooled but highly literate people, to a nation of overschooled and illiterate people? Such illuminations, beg discussion.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Sandi Jones on May 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are an advocate of letting your children watch "good TV", like PBS, this book will be a hard pill to swallow. I read it years ago, and loved it. I occasionally go back and reread a passage or two.
She discusses brain development in children at great length. She cites some of the studies that indicate that children who view Sesame Street on a regular basis, express shorter attention spans than those who do not view such programming.
I liked much of the in-depth physiological brain developmental information.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Coleman Yee on April 23, 2004
Format: Unknown Binding
Healy's basic premise in this book is that human minds undergo actual physical changes with external stimuli, with different kinds of learning and stimuli producing different effects. She also attempts to show that while the human mind is pretty plastic, it is not infinitely so in that some physical characteristics of the brain are more or less fixed by the time the child reaches adolescence.
With this premise, she attempts to relate how a juvenile mind constantly exposed to fast-paced but unmeaningful visual stimuli (the average TV show) is not prepared adequately to face the demands of school. Thus the worsening of reading skills of today's schoolkid, the increasing prevalence of ADHD and tuned-out kids, or kids who just don't think.
Her arguments are often backed with scientific research, although a good amount of the evidence is anecdotal where scientific data is lacking, mostly gleaned from neuro-scientists and educators with strong suspicions. Her case on the whole is rather strong and convincing.
The solution in short for parents: good ol' fashioned reading and spending time on meaningful communication with your kids, and turn off that TV! Okay, at least severely limit TV-time, since Healy does name a couple of suitable children's shows (Sesame Street is NOT recommended!).
I would recommend this book for parents and educators.
For parents, if you REALLY care for your kids, and are willing to make sacrifices for them. Otherwise don't read this book.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a physician I urge every parent to read this book.Turn off the TV!! Spend time with your children. MAKE THEM READ, FOR HOURS AT A TIME! (just like they now sit in front of the TV or nintendo,for hours at a time.) I love her conclusions,and if every one is not YET proven scientific fact, I believe most of her conclusions will eventually be supported by research. It is all good advice and observation in any case.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By C. Bordman on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
The difficulty I had with this book is the impression I got that the author did research on a variety of areas relating to brain development and then loosely connected these areas in broader sections. I got lost in some of the data and conclusions, and would sometimes forget what the point of a given section was. She seemed to take too many different directions to prove her point, as opposed to having information that built upon itself.
Having said that, I did find many of Healy's conclusions important, e.g., what is taught in school today is not what is important, but what is easy to measure. She also educated me on the importance of "Whole-language" learning for children, which I don't necessarily agree with and is controversial in my state, Massachusetts. Concerning television, she devotes a whole chapter to condemning Sesame Street. I agree with this assessment, but thought the subject was better exposed in Marie Winn's "The Plug-In Drug" mainly because the latter described the marketing techniques employed by the program.
My favorite chapter was the last, where she explores the future of human brains. Some provocative food for thought is mentioned like: "now, with a flood of data available, the educated mind is not the one that can master facts, but the one able to ask the winnowing question."
The detriment of television on developing children is difficult to prove, I'm learning from reading this book and other similar material. The lack of research on the effects of television is alarming to the author and to me. She has convinced me that television does affect brain development and needs to be better understood. But even the steps to proceed to more understanding are not being taken, which is suspicious.
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