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Overschooled but Undereducated

Overschooled but Undereducated [Kindle Edition]

John Abbott , Prue Leith , Heather MacTaggart
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'This refreshing and stimulating book is a must-read for all teachers of adolescents as well as parents of teenagers and parents who have brought up teenagers... such a book should become compulsory reading for all my staff so that they will dare to question our assumptions and dare to make a difference' --International Schools Journal, Spring 2011

Product Description

This book synthesizes an array of research and shows how these insights can contribute to a better understanding of human learning, especially as this relates to adolescence. By mis-understanding teenagers' instinctive need to do things for themselves, society is in danger of creating a system of schooling that so goes against the natural grain of the adolescent brain that formal education ends up unintentionally trivialising the very young people it claims to be supporting. By failing to keep up with appropriate research in the biological and social sciences, current educational systems continue to treat adolescence as a problem rather than an opportunity. This book is about the need for transformational change in education. It synthesizes an array of research from both the physical and social sciences and shows how these insights can contribute to a better understanding of human learning, especially as this relates to adolescence. The book was conceived through a series of international conferences, and considers the education systems in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Its intention is to shake education out of its two-century's-old inertia. In the saga of the ages, if a generation fails, the fault lies squarely with the previous generation for not equipping them well enough for the changes ahead. The most immoral thing a person can ever say is: 'This will last out my time'.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 510 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1855396238
  • Publisher: Continuum (1 Jun 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003U6HQIK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #475,151 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is an accessible and well written analysis of education policy in the UK over the last 100 years. It provides a searing indictment of the mess that politicians of all parties have made of education provision in general. It details the damaging effect of their various interventions in curriculum and exposes the thin gruel of the educational diet to which so many of our children have been exposed. The vested interest of the ruling elite in protecting private education is exposed. We have allowed education to become a commodity. The value of this commodity is measured by the extent to which is enables the rich to buy competitive advantage for their children at the expense of the rest of society. It is shaming. The adoption of creative approaches to teaching and learning proposed in the book continue to be seen as eccentric behaviour within our schools. The way we train our teachers, design our schools and measure and compare achievement between children is designed to promote conformity and strategic rather than deep learning. How the UK establishment thinks it will develop a competitive economy based on current educational practice is a complete mystery to me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A First Rate Analysis 19 April 2010
This scholarly and persuasive work complements and reinforces much of what has been argued in Wot, No School?Wot, No School?: How Schools Impede Education by Jonathan Langdale and John Harrison.

The 'Might-have-been' had Comenius come to England in the 17th century rather than going to Finland is fascinating to contemplate. The disastrous [intended?] consequence of reducing the age at which primary education ends to eleven in 1902 is a salutory reminder of the harm that unthinking snobbery and prejudice can effect.

To quote Ivan Illyich: 'The result of the curriculum production process looks like any other modern staple. It is a bundle of planned meanings, a package of values, a commodity whose balanced appeal makes it marketable to a sufficiently large number to justify the cost of production. Consumer-pupils are taught to make their desires conform to marketable values. Thus they are made guilty if they do not behave according to the predictions of consumer research by getting the grades and certificates that will place them in the job category they have been led to expect.' [Deschooling Society]

Read these books if you know that we must change the way we educate our young.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good diagnosis, less compelling solutions 25 July 2010
By Sirin - Published on
John Abbott offers an insightful and scholarly view of the crisis in British education. With impressive historical knowledge, he traces how we got to our current system via the historical turning points of industrialisation, the decline of apprentices, and men such as Thomas Ascham and Dr Thomas Arnold, founder of the modern public school at Rugby in the 19th Century.

Abbott, a veteran teacher, knows that many students find school alienating and pointless. As a teacher myself, I relate to this. The current acacdemic bias of much education does not suit many children (after all, how many people end up doing doctoral research?). What is needed, according to Abbott is a broader underpinning for education that educates the whole child for a functional role in the 21st Century.

Great. But how could we achieve this? The final section which offers some pointers is the vaguest and weakest in the book. As the government is currently in the process of scrapping the latest ill fated round of vocational diplomas, we are badly in need of an educational pathway that values the vocational as well as the academic, and, more importantly, works.

We are still short of achieving that goal.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All educators should read this 22 Jan 2014
By Judith Raczko - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my son-in-law who is very involved in the Philadelphia Free School, whose focus is on a new approach to educating children....anyone interested in enhancing the education process for our children will surely be interested in reading this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 21st century learning 12 Dec 2011
By Katherine Nash - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Over Schooled but Undereducated by John Abbott was an interesting look into the 21st century learning initiative. As more and more schools continue to reach towards 21st century learning, it is important to understand the need for change in our current educational setting. It is interesting to understand how students learn and how best we can enhance their learning in a way that makes sense to the brain. This is a new way of looking at how humans learn and what ways best foster students' learning. This book addresses the need to chance how we teach. It is interesting to look at our students as opportunities rather than problems. While the book does present a glimpse into 21st century learning, it would be more helpful to actually get activities and techniques to use in the classroom.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Educators 16 Oct 2012
By Jiang Xueqin - Published on
In "Over-Schooled but Under-Educated" accomplished British educator John Abbott writes with passion and with eloquence the crisis in Western education. Rather than as a form of empowerment and liberation Western education -- especially in Britain -- is now primarily a means to perpetuate the rigid class system. Another major criticism that Abbott lobs at the Western education status quo is the ineffectualness of its curriculum. Before the cultural revolution, Abbott argues, children were considered an important part of the community, and in apprenticeships they mastered the necessary skills to contribute effectively to the growth of the community. Today, however, adolescents are considered a burden, and are put in schools to prevent them from causing trouble. And the way that the school is structured -- reading books, discussing theory, taking tests -- runs counter to how humans were meant to learn, and thus school performance is less a measure of intellectual curiosity and achievement, and really just a measure if students can keep still, shut up, and do their homework.

Abbott argues effectively that the solution must be in a radical re-imagining of education as a community effort, and seeing school as a continuation of the community. There are some great ideas in this book for school administrators, such as combining work with study so as to permit the students to best absorb, assimilate, and internalize the theory taught in school.

As an education theorist Abbott does suffer from being vague and abstract too many times. But it's clear that there is now a crisis in Western education, and this book is a clarion call to do something about it.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A read for every parent 21 Aug 2010
By Squirt - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wondering why our system isn't this book. I even gave it to my teenager to read.
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‘Live their own learning.’ It’s simple, really: learning is a consequence of having to work things out for yourself. &quote;
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Tell me, and I forget; Show me, and I remember; Let me do, and I understand. &quote;
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The argument of this book is that the world crisis that is upon us is the unintended consequence of an education system designed at another time and for another purpose,8 and now utterly inappropriate to human and planetary needs.9 &quote;
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