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The Elements of Teaching Hardcover – March 27, 1997

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Augmenting and reprising their earlier Elements of Teaching, Banner (formerly Princeton Univ.) and Cannon (formerly Manhanttanville Coll.) outline the 12 qualities students should possess to get the most out of their educational experience (Part 1) and the who's, what's, and how's of learning (Part 2). Throughout, students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning; the short, coherent chapters close with suggestions for putting the concepts into practice. The chapters can be read in any order, and some can be postponed until need dictates. Intended for high schoolers, college students, and mature learners (people over 25 years old returning to school), this thoughtful and reassuring text offers kindly advice to a new generation. A good supplemental course text or library resource for units on study methods; for academic libraries.AScott R. Johnson, Whittemore Park Middle Sch., Conway, SC
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Considering teaching a calling, not merely a vocation, Banner and Cannon posit the essential qualities of a teacher as they've observed them from lifetimes in the field. For teachers either worn out or full of energy, Banner and Cannon's exhortations and admonishments ought to be inspiring, for their regard for teaching as a noble endeavor permeates this short tract. They're not just strokers of self-esteem, however; a certain degree of committed self-denial, they argue, is the mark of great teachers. Much as teachers might like individual students, they must be scrupulously evenhanded. If bored by slow learners, they must also be imaginative enough to break through to them. The authors arrange such axioms under value-laden headings such as "Authority," "Ethics," and "Compassion," followed by composite sketches of a teacher embodying or sloughing off their principles. The authors hope their observations will serve as a catalyst for teachers to discuss excellence among themselves and cause those considering the career to assess their own suitability. An effective, reflective guide. Gilbert Taylor

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (March 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300069294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300069297
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a Yale graduate and received my Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, where I studied with Richard Hofstadter. My first and only full-time academic position was in the history department of Princeton University from 1966 to 1980, which I left to found the American Association for the Advancement of the Humanities. During those years, I held a Guggenheim Fellowship, was a fellow of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard, and served as a member of the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Societies. More recently, I was Fulbright Visiting Professor of American History at Charles University, Prague. As a historian, I have of course written books and articles about the past, as well as about education and public affairs. Those books include To the Hartford Convention: The Federalists and the Origins of Party Politics in Massachusetts, 1789-1815 (Knopf, 1969); with James M. McPherson et al., Blacks in America: Bibliographical Essays (Doubleday: 1971); with F. Sheldon Hackney and Barton J. Bernstein, Understanding the American Experience (2 vols; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973); ed. with John R. Gillis, Becoming Historians (University of Chicago Press, 2009); ed. A Century of American Historiography (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009); and, most recently, Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History (Cambridge University Press, 2012). But having been a teacher all my life in schools and universities, starting when I served in the U.S. Army in France in the late 1950s, I have also thought hard about teaching and learning, which led to two books which I co-authored with Harold C. Cannon, a classicist. Those books are The Elements of Teaching and The Elements of Learning (Yale University Press, 1997 and 1999). I was also, with Joyce Appleby, a co-founder of the History News Service, an informal syndicate of historians who write op-ed pieces, as well as one of the moving spirits behind the founding of the National History Center, an initiative of the American Historical Association. I am now writing a book on revisionist history tentatively entitled "Battles Over the Past: Revisionist History--What It Is, Why We Have It" and hoping for a New York production of a play, "Good and Faithful Servants," drawn from the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson. (June 2013)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The authors of this joyous book about teaching do not confront the issues in education today but, instead, identify the qualities that make for great teaching. By visiting classrooms and observing real teachers in action, the authors go to the core of what separates the great teachers from the merely competent. Not surprisingly, they find that hard work, dedication, a love of learning, and a willingness to sacrifice are key personal qualities necessary for teaching. In addition, they note the academic preparation and personal effort necessary to stay current with in a teacher's specialty. The book should appeal to both parents and professionals. Parents will want to be able to identify these characteristics in their students' teachers. Administrators will find it equally useful. Teachers will see themselves in the vignettes that add to this wonderful work and they will also, (hopefully) be inspired to reach for the kind of greatness of spirit and action pictured here. ! ! For me, as a teacher, I found a great deal to celebrate and a great deal to ponder.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Fabrizio C. Celentano on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a golden little book that all teachers should read. It would be very useful also for those administrators who look at teachers as no more than talking machines, only needed to cover as many classes as possible.
The Authors are both educators and administrators. They know wery well what they are talking about, and, under an apparently old fashioned way of writing, they offer a very modern way to look at teaching, a mission as old as the human species, that evolved and continously evolves according to the social development.
The list of the basic elements-authority, ethics, imagination, patience, ...-is long, and all of the entries are analyzed in depth, using appropriate examples. Anyhow, the volume is no cookbook. Although it gives prescriptions and examples, these are intended to be internalized, not to be used as such. They are just a starting point for a personal elaboration.
When the book is finished, the reader is forced to reappraise his teaching methodology, and I imagine that he will also enjoy reading the companion book by the same Authors: The Elements of Learning.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James L. Smith on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In THE ELEMENTS OF TEACHING, James M. Banner and Harold C. Cannon have identified something profound and timeless about the art of teaching; in the process they have also provided an inspirational portrait of good teaching that will rejuvenate teachers at all levels of experience. Whether teachers are just entering the profession or are hardened by years of classroom experience, they will find in THE ELEMENTS OF TEACHING a splendid antidote to the frustrations accompanying all honest attempts to convince students of the intrinsic value of learning for the sake of learning. Not only does the book ask teachers to explore the effectiveness of their approach to education, it also reminds teachers of the nobility of their profession and the age-old responsibility of guiding our children, and thus our society, toward knowledge and wisdom. Although the book is at times sobering in its realistic description of the responsibilities and hard work facing teachers, it nevertheless prompts all teachers to enter the classroom with renewed energy and a sharper focus on what it takes to give every student the desire to learn.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Glen Peters on March 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having cataloged the personal, moral and intellectual qualities of great teachers, the authors of 'The Elements of Teaching' acknowledge that many readers 'may be wondering by now whether achieving these standards is not beyond the reach of all but the rarest paragon.' And yet most teachers, myself included, entered the profession with the goal of becoming just such a rare paragon. In reading this entertaining and well-written work (the opening paragraph to the chapter entitled Learning is exquisite)I feel I gained a better apppreciation of how my personal idiosyncracies enhance my effectiveness as an educator, and at times detract from it. Likewise, this book reinforced to me how fine the deviding line is between exemplary and egregious teacherly conduct. A very worthwhile read - warmly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sammy on August 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I recommend this book to new teachers, administrators, parents, anyone who gives a hoot about educating children in this country. Written simply with terrific examples, it should be required reading for educators. This is a serious work of writing, but when you are finished, it will be well worth the time. The writing is calm and well thought out. There is nothing hysterical or pleading in this book. Just good old common sense with a touch of experience thrown in to make the points all the more convincing. The chapter on a teacher's authority in the classroom, and how most teachers abuse that authority, is very revealing. The book can be easily read in a single evening (unless you have kids of your own, but that's another story!).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book! It helps one to explore the identity of a good teacher - a truly valuable focus for professional development in any type of school. The authors explore the characteristics of a "good teacher" including ethics, patience, love of learning, and - imagine! - pleasure! That is, one should only be a teacher if one enjoys teaching! Wish a few of my teachers had considered that notion. If you are a "born teacher," this book will affirm you and remind you of why you do it!
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