In this incisive little book, David Cohen shows why the ambitious teaching that offers students real intellectual challenge is always praised and yet so seldom achieved in America. Expertise is not enough: teachers need empathy, persistence, familiarity with their students, and back-up from their colleagues and the community. Since teachers can succeed only if the students succeed, they always face a dilemma: less ambitious goals and thus easier success, or more ambitious goals with greater chance of failure (and student resistance)? Cohen argues that attempts at teaching reform fail because disappointing student achievement is invariably blamed on individual schools and teachers, instead of a fragmented system without broadly shared standards, skills, and resources. If American teaching is weak, it's because every teacher is asked to reinvent teaching every day. Teaching and Its Predicaments
offers a startling new understanding of our problems and points the way to a solution.
--Milbrey McLaughlin, Stanford University
Policy schemes abound today for improving teaching in our nation's schools. Yet few seem to comprehend what quality education in the 21st century actually entails for teaching in America's classrooms. 'Take the tour' with David Cohen through Teaching and Its Predicaments
. It is an essential primer for educational reformers, as we cannot improve what we do not really understand.
--Anthony S. Bryk, President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
How do you go about teaching teachers how to teach? David K. Cohen's Teaching and Its Predicaments
takes on that paradox...Its descriptions of the task facing teachers are superb...His book offers a thoughtful account of the challenge.
--David A. Kaplan (Fortune
Cohen draws upon his considerable expertise as he delivers a deeply insightful critique that unravels the mess that has become the current state of public education in the US. He contends that without identifying the predicaments facing American public educators, corrective solutions, reform initiatives, and supportive legislation cannot seriously be discussed or considered. In this bluntly honest little book, Cohen pinpoints both existing and historic obstacles to meaningful educational reform, and dissects failed political attempts at correction with concise precision. This book is not just a succinct, thought-provoking critique; Cohen also provides readers with enlightened comparative vantage points by which they can examine both teaching and learning from new perspectives.
--L. O. Wilson (Choice
About the Author
David K. Cohen is John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.