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On Becoming an Effective Teacher: Person-centered teaching, psychology, philosophy, and dialogues with Carl R. Rogers and Harold Lyon Paperback – 22 Aug 2013


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'Finally we hear a genuine account of how Carl Rogers work on person-centered education has made and is continuing to make a difference in the lives of students, teachers, and others concerned with the plight of students in today’s increasingly unhealthy school climates and cultures. His views on person-centered education are not only yielding empirically sound empirical results in the US and global school communities but they are inspiring the hope and creativity of students who for too long had no voice. This is a must read for all who care about the plight of today’s children in our increasingly difficult world with few mentors and advocates.' - Barbara L. McCombs, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Director, University of Denver

About the Author

Harold C. Lyon, Jr. is a graduate of West Point, former US Director of Education for the Gifted, project offi cer for the development of Sesame Street, assistant to the president of Ohio University, has served on the faculties of Georgetown, Antioch, Dartmouth Medical School, Notre Dame College, Universities of Massachusetts, and Munich where he currently teaches physicians to be more effective teachers. He received the Gold Medal in the 32nd International Film & TV Festival of New York, a CINDY Award, and the Blue Ribbon in the American Film & Video Festival.

Reinhard Tausch is Professor Emeritus at the University of Hamburg and is the author of numerous popular books on psychology and teaching.

The Late Carl R. Rogers (1902–1987) has been called ‘the most infl uential psychologist in American history’. His infl uence in the fi elds of education, counseling, psychotherapy, confl ict resolution, and peace is similarly outstanding. The founder of humanistic psychology, he authored 16 books and more than 200 professional articles.


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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE, LOVINGLY AND SKILLFULLY PRESENTED 20 Mar 2014
By Gabriel Heilig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One of the hardest things to do is to make the obvious interesting. It should be obvious by now that treating people as self-creating and creative human beings is probably a good idea. Yet when you examine how America goes about educating children, you have to stop and wonder. Are these children we are ordering into rows, sitting at their desks? Children are alive! That's a good thing! Even teachers are alive. That's a good thing, too. But look at America's schools and you wonder whether anyone knows this. Children and their teachers are cooped up together in test-driven curricula. I talked with a man who quit his job as a high school English teacher for 25 years, in one of the "best school systems in the country" (Montgomery County, MD) because he said it had all turned into "scripted learning." He had little authority, despite his experience, in deviating from the script. It was like reading the news, then turning kids over to the testing regimen.

Hal Lyon, an old friend and a passionate advocate of learning, children, and the opportunity to teach children and to learn from them, has assembled a book worthy of the subject and of his passion for it. He cares about kids and his mentor, psychologist Carl Rogers, advanced American psychotherapy by providing "unconditional positive regard" for the people who came to him for help. Rogers helped them by helping them to understand that they were worthy of his or anyone's positive regard—and especially, their own.

Rogers and Lyon knew each other during a tumultuous period in American psychology and education, and their conversations about this introduce several chapters in this book. Lyon has done a lot of work in Germany during the past 20 years and has continued to spread the word and collect the works of other psychologists and educators whom Rogers influenced. The result is a compendium of useful history and information about why we truly need to remember the obvious: that we are human, that children are human, and that the process of education ought to honor that fundamental fact.

This is clearly a labor of love on Dr. Lyon's part and his book is the better for it. He has done real work here, gathering and sorting the research and its findings that demonstrated, unmistakably, that whether we are talking about teaching medical students or kindergartners, treating them like aware human beings capable of creative, non-linear learning is a lot more effective than just treating them as dumpster for data—then testing the dumpster to see if it remembers what was dumped into it.

Written in a calm, lucid, warm-hearted but not soft-headed way, Lyons' book tells a story that needs telling. As a social history of education over the last quarter-century, this is a valuable book. Its message, however, is invaluable. And, sadly, it seems that this message needs to be told again, despite the best efforts, scrupulous research and loving appreciation that Hal Lyon has provided.

Anyone interested in these matters would be well served by picking up this book and opening it. I went through it in one sitting. It's not a thriller, but it tells an important story that still needs to be told, read and understood.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hal Lyon: An Unsung Hero 26 May 2014
By Binyamin Klempner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The tittle of my review just about says what there is to say. The more I learn about the life and writings of Hal Lyon the more I am convinced that he is one of the unsung heroes of our time. The book is both illuminating and charming, much likes its authors.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Review of On Becoming an Effective Teacher 13 May 2014
By Thomas W. Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Review of ‘On Becoming An Effective Teacher’

By Harold C. Lyon, Jr, with Carl R. Rogers and Reinhard Tausch,
(his two famous co-authors died before this book was published).

This book is based on the people/person-centered concept of learning, of teaching.

Initially the reviewer thought that the book, although well written, was for a small, select audience.

Boy, was he ever wrong.

Everyone is a teacher, good or bad, and we start learning literally at birth – the author(s) give as a example the Leboyer method, which in part leaves the umbilical cord attached for a time after birth, then places the newborn in warm water to simulate the environment of the womb the baby just left – and continues on a different track throughout life.

An example was given involving some residents of a community of nursing homes in California who were bedridden. They received a regimen of massage therapy and after a period of time were up and walking around.

Some parts of the book discuss a ‘new man’ arising theory, and while the reviewer agrees with some of his described ‘traits’, on the whole they appear to be nihilistic.

Also there are several sections – most of the book in fact – that treat the ‘teaching’ of ‘students’ literally from birth onward. Excellent, yet no space or thought apparently has been given to mundane but necessarily practical subject of who does the teaching – one of the parents presumably? This then is a full time job, which is exemplary, but it also leads to, poses another question, that of money – where does it come from, in the family of today, where both parents must work ‘outside of the home’, in most cases?
Surely it is not the babysitter, the ‘surrogate parent’?

The reviewer is leaving out the fact that all good teachers from k-12 through medical school and beyond must have the three person-centered traits – empathy, caring, and genuineness – which are hallmarks of really effective teachers. The reviewer is of the opinion that empathy is most important, that the student is a feeling individual, much more than a mere ‘matriculation number’.

There is nothing in the book that is not a good idea, a great way to teach, to learn. The author even discounts the teachers unions as being more for the protection of their members than the advancement of students – great!

A book on teaching, on or about being an effective teacher would not be complete without a section on leadership, and the author is after all a graduate of the premier school in the world for teaching leadership, the United States Military Academy at West Point.

There is also a section on mentoring, continuing education if you will, an invaluable degree of help for the young executive, the military officer who needs a bit more guidance as he/she progresses up the ladder.

The author references Abraham Maslow, of ‘hierarchy of needs’ fame, and then goes into a discussion of ‘Theory X and Theory Y’ styles of Management, of Leadership, with solid, down to earth examples.

About the author:
He began writing early, while a cadet as military editor of the West Point periodical, The Pointer. He published often in his short 7-year Army career in Infantry and Army Magazines with titles like: Cancer Action, Recondo!, The Courage of your Convictions, The Old One-Two (with Gen. Jack Galvin), Man Against Tank, and Invisible Infiltrators. He's the author of 7 books and over 150 articles on eclectic subjects including military strategy, leadership, education, multimedia, psychology, research, hunting, and fishing. After Ranger training and a tour helping Gen. Westmoreland establish the Recondo School, Lyon commanded a rifle company in the 501st for a year – described in the book as his "favorite job ever,” a year in Korea when he authored a counter-guerrilla concept ("Cancer Action") which resulted in his briefing Bobby Kennedy and Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Aide to the CG of the 2nd Infantry Division where he and his CG were fired upon while integrating James Meredith into Ol’ Miss. The book relates the interesting story of how Gov. Wallace met secretly with Gen. Billingslea, Ramsey Clark, and Lyon and offered a deal: if the military agreed to carry Wallace off the steps of the University of Alabama before network TV, that" there’d be no blood shed" and the integration could take place. They called Bobby Kennedy who got President Kennedy on the phone who told them, “Take that deal!”

After Lyon left the military his career continued to be unique as assistant to the president of Ohio University, a political appointment in the Johnson Administration where he relates in the book about using person-centered management within the bureaucracy, project officer for Sesame Street, professorships at Georgetown, Antioch, Dartmouth Medical School, a Fulbright professorship at the University of Munich where he currently teaches physicians to be more effective teachers. He received the Gold Medal in the 32nd International Film & TV Festival of New York, a CINDY Award, the Blue Ribbon in the American Film & Video Festival. His book, Angling in the Smile of the Great Spirit (deepwaterspress.com) won the New England Outdoor Writers Association "Best Book of the Year Award" and the Silver Medal in the National eLite Book Awards.

The reviewer, Thomas W. Leo, CPP, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point
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