The Complex World of Teaching

The Complex World of Teaching Perspectives from Theory and Practice

Edited by Ethan Mintz and John T. Yun
paper, 428 Pages
Pub. Date: January 1999
ISBN-13: 9780916690342
Price: Sale Price $24.95

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In this collection of the best writing on teaching and teachers from the Harvard Educational Review, authors discuss the multiple demands, distractions, desires, and dilemmas that teachers face in their daily work.


A remarkable mixture of theory and practice…This work is vital for teachers exploring themes from everyday life and connections between the inside and outside worlds of teaching and learning. It also reflects the tensions between these two worlds, and how schools provide the place where these tensions play out…The Complex World of Teaching is a fascinating contribution to the conversation on teaching and learning. — Betty Rosa, Superintendent, New York City Community School District 8

A valuable—and surprisingly vivid—portrayal of the actual experience of teachers and students, both in the classroom and beyond it. The mystery and joy that are at the heart of classroom teaching, and which seldom come across in academic writings, are presented here with a tenacious energy that I especially appreciate. Teachers everywhere will be grateful. — Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools and Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation

It is a rare volume on teaching that begins with the perspectives, experiences, and voices of children and adolescents. Student experience, in school and out, serves as an anchor for this ambitious compendium. It underscores the urgency that compels us to understand more fully what teaching requires, how it succeeds or fails, and what conditions enhance or diminish its promise. Schoolteaching is a complex practice in any time and place, as these authors attest. Its complexities multiply when teachers and their students do not share cultural histories, economic circumstances, or language. In juxtaposing these pieces, this book will no doubt provoke debate and suggest new possibilities for practice and research. — Judith Warren Little, Professor, University of California-Berkeley

There are those who imagine we can reach a better future by simplifying our understanding of who we teach and what we teach. By contrast, the authors of this collection believe that complexity is the name of the game in describing who we are as human beings, both as teachers and as learners. This wonderful collection of essays is about why complexity is important, and why it must remain so. These are voices worth listening to, and also fun to read. — Deborah Meier, Principal, Mission Hill School, Roxbury, MA, and author of The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons from a Small School in Harlem

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