Minding American Education: Reclaiming the Tradition of Active Learning

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The tradition of active learning―a view of learning that is constructivist, progressive, and as deeply committed to student achievement as any standards-based scheme―has a long and distinguished pedigree in American educational thought and practice, but its value has been ignored in the rush to achieve high test scores. Martin Bickman urges us to reconsider the alternative vision of such seminal thinkers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, John Dewey, and George Dennison as he weaves an incisive synthesis of American literary innovation, philosophy, and school reform. In this timely volume, Bickman:

  • Presents an antidote to the self-destructive war between educational conservatives and progressives, arguing that each has only part of the solution in what should be a productive dialectic between experience and concepts.
  • Outlines the rich tradition of educational thought we have already created in this country, suggesting ways to apply it to our current reform efforts.
  • Provides a new paradigm for re-conceptualizing our educational past, urging us to move in the direction of our best and most characteristic literary and philosophical thinkers.
  • Shows how fields like the history and philosophy of American education can be dynamically related to our classroom practice.
  • Critiques the usual academic discourse on education and suggests alternatives through his lively and direct style.

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About the Author:

Martin Bickman is Professor of English and President's Teaching Scholar at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Review:

""An original, scholarly, yet very readable examination of the idea of education as the active intellectual engagement of experience. A very solid book."

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Publisher: Teachers College Press, 2003
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