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Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0156079471
ISBN-10: 015607947X
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With lighthearted anecdotes, poems, letters, and other writings, the renowned Australian children's book author entices teachers to do more writing themselves and rejects the "skills-and-drills" mentality in language arts teaching. Fox, an advocate of the "whole language" movement, fiercely condemns the use of basal readers in reading instruction classes. Their dullness, she maintains, causes students to avoid reading altogether. Fox recommends instead that real books be read and real language used. She advocates stories that bring teacher and student together in a relationship to experience genuine feeling, laughter, and fun. A superb writer, she constructs an excellent case, and surely any child would like to be a member of her reading/writing class. Her ideas are jotted down in a rather disorganized fashion, but her writing is fresh. For most public and academic libraries.
- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

With lighthearted anecdotes, poems, letters, and other writings, the renowned Australian children's book author entices teachers to do more writing themselves and rejects the "skills-and-drills" mentality in language arts teaching. Fox, an advocate of the "whole language" movement, fiercely condemns the use of basal readers in reading instruction classes. Their dullness, she maintains, causes students to avoid reading altogether. Fox recommends instead that real books be read and real language used. She advocates stories that bring teacher and student together in a relationship to experience genuine feeling, laughter, and fun. A superb writer, she constructs an excellent case, and surely any child would like to be a member of her reading/writing class. Her ideas are jotted down in a rather disorganized fashion, but her writing is fresh. For most public and academic libraries.
- Arla Lindgren, St. John's Univ., New York
(Library Journal)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (May 7, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015607947X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156079471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Those who write well have more power and therefore have more control over their lives" (p.21). If this is indeed true then Mem Fox is a very powerful woman! In the midst of the phonics vs. whole language war being raged in the media, this book is a call for reading and writing teachers to examine their practices and strive for truly purposeful, artful teaching. Fox's insights into her life as a writer, teacher and mother make this a truly inspiring and intensely challenging read. I have always believed that to be an effective reading teacher, I must be a reader, able to share my passion for books with my students, but Mem Fox points out that unless I am a writer as well, I will be unable to know the difficulties, fears, hopes and needs of my students as writers. I plan to thoughtfully explore the forms of writing I use, examine the writing process I go through and share my writing with my students on a more regular basis. I am convinced that we will all grow from the experience!!
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Format: Paperback
I like to read this book just before I start a new school year. It reminds me of the reasons children want to learn to read. I teach remedial reading. The programs my district uses focuses on phonetic instruction. My students do need specific instruction to decode words, but they also need to be motivated and to know the pleasures of reading. This book helps keep my priorities right .
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this exquisite book, and have sent emails to all my friends who are educators and/or parents. Fox writes with such passion and voice that I couldn't put the book down once I started it. Her ideas are needed, her style is eloquent, fluent and mesmerizing. This is a book I will read again and again, especially at the start of each new school year. What she says is as important for high school learners as for kindergarten. She has stated so succinctly why it's essential to keep the heart in education. She shows how children can come to the love of reading, writing and thinking. Her diatribe against fill-in-the-blank worksheets is convincing. I will give a copy to every teacher that my children will have throughout their schooling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps in 1993, Mem Fox's "whole language" reflections were considered radical, but almost 20 years later, many of them appear mainstream. Sure, some of the "villains" of education are still in place -- basal readers and work sheets, to name two she assails -- but many of her precepts are endorsed by vast numbers of teachers who came into the profession reading the works of Donald Graves, Lucy Calkins, and the whole UNH English instruction gang.

This is a light-hearted read with heavy convictions. In it, Fox passionately calls on teachers to read and write with their students, to create real audiences for their writings, to extend your charges the honor of choice, to read aloud to them, to ditch basals for "real literature," and to show them the power of literature to do such things as inform, delight, and convince. See? Not so radical. Never the less, in this post-NCLB era where testing (1-2-3) is king, a lot of her words MIGHT still ring radical to the powers-that-be (read: administrators with political agendas). So be it. Fox argues that teaching to the heart is as necessary as teaching to the brain. And really, how much "heart research" have we been reading about in education lately? Right. Rhetorical question, and reason to read this.

If I had one criticism of the book, it would be Fox's constant referencing of her own children's books, which she used by way of example for many of the points she made. It came off as slightly commercial and not-so-radical. Other than that, however, her many anecdotes from home, from her elementary classroom, and from her pre-service teaching classes at university were a pleasure to read.
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