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This book grew on me (slightly)...
on March 18, 2006
This book was an assigned text for a seminary class, which is the only reason that I read it. I have a degree in secondary education, so I spent considerable time during college studying these types of concepts, though the terminology in this book was new to me. I began this book with a chip on my shoulder about the psychobabble that seems to dominate many discussions about pedagogy, and she certainly reinforced several of those irritations. For instance, she spent considerable time describing the futility of lecture. I realize that lecture has significant limitations, but I think it is a silly overgeneralization to disregard its potential entirely.
Beyond this ideological dispute, my primary complaint about the book is that it is dreadfully dry. Vella is long on theory and short on inspiration. She may have some good things to say about teaching, but if the experience of teaching is anything like this book, who would want to do it!!
Having said these things, she was able to redeem herself on several levels. She provides some great tips for allowing learners to actually learn. Some of that information is summarized in several helpful charts. Her explanation of time management was particularly insightful. Specifically, I am compelled to make sure that I stop trying to fit too much "What" (content) into the allotted "When" (time slot). There is clearly some good stuff in this book; it is just a shame that it is so boring to find those nuggets of wisdom!!
By the way, how can a 130-page book cost $34? That is a crime. For that reason alone, I wouldn't recommend this book.