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The art of teaching (A Vintage book) Unknown Binding – January 1, 1961


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The noted classicist presents his educational methodology, within the context of history, from the Sophists to modern teaching. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Vintage book
  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (1961)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007H5H54
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,033,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

EVERY prospective teacher should read and study this book.
William Supon
Highet makes it clear that good teaching is a way of life rather than a way to make a buck.
J. Kelly Oram
Given Highet's vast knowledge, he offers three basic requirements for good teaching.
James E. Egolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Murphy on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I feel a little embarrassed for some of the reviewers below who criticize Highet for his vocabulary and intellectualism.Dumbed down teachers must be a real inspiration in their Missouri classrooms!
I purchased a copy of Highet's book from a used bookstore in my town and it has inspired me ever since. Much of what he writes may be "common sense", but many teachers would benefit from a healthy dose of it. I promise that any teacher who reads this book with an open mind instead of contempt for any ideas more than ten years old will become a more effective teacher.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
The other reviews of this book seem to me to be judging it by an unfair standard. The main criticism is that it fails to be an up-to-date book of the latest classroom techniques. Well, it makes no claim to be any such thing. Gilbert Highet was a master teacher at Columbia University for decades. His teaching career began in the 30's and ended in the 70's. As a beginning college teacher, I can only dream of educating as many young people as Highet did in the course of his career. Those who say that we have nothing to learn from a teacher of his experience and who lack the imagination to read past his dated language and quaint examples to hear the wisdom he has to offer are the very people who are to blame for the sorry state of American education. If we as a culture were more open to hearing the wisdom of our elders and more aware of the great historical tradition in which we stand, maybe we would have something worth teaching to our young people. Highet had an amazing historical sense, and we would do well to learn from him.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Johnson on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Gilbert Highett was a brilliant scholar, a brilliant teacher, and, if the hints from this book give any indication, a humane and caring person. The Art of Teaching is everything you would therefore expect, filled with thoughtful and practical hints, as well as more global meditations on teaching. Keep in mind that it was written by a university teacher, educated in the Oxbridge (i.e. Oxford-Cambridge) tradition of tutorials (i.e., class meetings of 2 to 6 students), and he was not writing a formulaic manual, nor did he write specifically for American secondary teachers. (If the gross application of formulae and prescriptions is your idea of teaching, then you have already decided that teaching is not an _art_, and it's surprising you would be considering a book with this title.) People who approach the book expecting such a manual are likely to be dissatisfied, to advertise their own ignorance, and to suffer through it in frustration. If you are, like Highett, an educated and humane individual, this book will repay your time, and you will appreciate its nuance, its wisdom, and its timelessness.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Stix on June 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Teaching is NOT a science. So underscores at the outset of The Art of Teaching its author, Gilbert Highet. Highet (1906-78), a sort of "Yankee Don," was an Oxford-educated Scot who spent a long, illustrious career at Columbia University teaching, and writing on, the classics.
The Art of Teaching may have just turned fifty years old, but I can think of no timelier book than this classic, which has remained continuously in print, as a corrective to almost a century of progressive pedagogical destruction.
Gilbert Highet warns the reader that he will not be offering any curricular proposals, or telling us how to teach particular subjects. His concern is with teaching in the broadest possible sense. Thus, while he discusses with great candor and not a little irony different types of pupils, and the respective virtues of the lecture and tutorial systems, he devotes one-third of the book to teachers, none of whom are educators, as far as today's "professionals" are concerned: "Great teachers and their pupils," and teachers "in everyday life" (e.g., parents, spouses, clergymen, advertisers). Highet points out that we are, all of us, constantly learning from, and teaching others, whether or not we are conscious of this, or even wish to do so.
The great teachers and students range from the Sophists on through the 19th and 20th centuries. He is especially fond of the Jesuits, and of 19th-century pedagogues.
There is a delightfully generous pragmatism to this man, who is able to appreciate parents' primary roles in education, and to learn even from Soviet and Nazi educators.
In some ways this book is quaint, and in others prophetic; but in every way, it is of perennial interest to the intellectually curious and spiritually hungry.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Roger Lakins on June 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was first published over fifty-six years ago. It still stands as a classic mind opener to anyone who is truly interested in becoming a teacher or in improving his or her skills as an educator. If you are only interested in band wagons and believe that no real learning has taken place before your appearance on the scene, this book will be a disappointment. Highet takes an analytical and historical approach to the greatest of teachers and their methods. In doing so, he provides one of the finest examinations of the methodology of the Classic Greek School a layman could hope to find.

Highet encourages a love for learning, a love for children and a passion for sharing only the finest with our students. My guess is that he would have been opposed to "dumbing down" on many counts, but primarily because of the lack of respect it shows for the potential of the student.

In a mere five pages, Highet manages to encapsulate the essence of what made Jesuit education so distinctive and valuable to the world of ideas. It makes it clear to those who read his words these many years later that the loss of Jesuit identity and methodology at their own institutions which took place in the end of the twentieth century has been a tragic loss.

At present, I think I am on my fifteen to twentieth re-read of this work. I still need to be open and keep up to date with the latest theories and findings and wade through the flood of latest and greatest found in journals and theses. More is being revealed. Let us make no mistake about it, though, Highet was a giant of a mind with an awesome soul. His attitude toward teaching makes this veteran much less resentful about the lack of monetary reward my career has brought me.
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