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Gordon Eldridge (Brussels, Belgium)
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Integrating Inquiry Across the Curriculum
Integrating Inquiry Across the Curriculum
by Richard H. Audet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A VERY mixed bag, 13 Feb. 2014
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As with many books where the chapters are written by different authors, this book is a mixed bag. In this case actually, a VERY mixed bag. Some of the chapters seem to have made their primary purpose to argue the case for inquiry. Others give more practical examples. Sometimes the examples are good, sometimes extremely poor. The chapters on inquiry in geography and language arts are very poor. The examples are weak and often do not actually exemplify the principles they claim to be examples of. The chapters on inquiry in science and math are better, with a very nice example in the science chapter of how the author came to rethink a particular unit of inquiry as he came to understand the process of inquiry better.

Overall the greatest weakness of the book is that it does not give a clear, coherent picture of inquiry as a pedagogical approach. Some chapters seem to imply that the predominant characteristic of inquiry is the level of student choice. Others focus on questioning, but there is little discussion of what makes a good inquiry question or how a teacher can truly plan to guide students towards becoming capable of developing their own theories about the world as young inquirers. While I don't regret reading the book, it is certainly far from the best book I have read on the subject.


Program Evaluation in Practice: Core Concepts and Examples for Discussion and Analysis (Research Methods for the Social Sciences)
Program Evaluation in Practice: Core Concepts and Examples for Discussion and Analysis (Research Methods for the Social Sciences)
by Dean T. Spaulding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.14

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Broad range of case studies, 7 Feb. 2014
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I bought this book because as a school administrator in an independent school I need to be involved in evaluating the programs in my school. This book was not much help for my own particular situation. It is aimed at students of program evaluation who intend to become professional program evaluators. The back cover of the book claims that "The book addresses foundations and theories of evaluation, tools and methods for collecting data, writing of reports, and the sharing of findings". While this is true, the sections on tools and methods, writing reports and sharing findings are skeletal summaries taking up only a few pages. This is definitely not a 'how to' book. Having said that, the bulk of the book is taken up by case studies which are are varied and quite useful. They cover a range of dilemmas that an evaluator might encounter in the field using real examples. The examples range from ethical dilemmas faced by evaluators to confidentiality issues, observer effects, using benchmarks and a number of other issues. These are quite a useful set of case studies for those who plan to become professional external evaluators, but are not always as relevant to internal evaluators. Areas which are not covered in much detail are specific issues surrounding the writing of evaluation objectives,the selection of data collection methods and the design of data collection tools.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
by Mohsin Hamid
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 3 Feb. 2014
This book will draw you in right from the start. Mohsin has the narrator talk to an anonymous 'American'. We never get to find out anything about this character and this is one of the strengths of the book. The anonymity makes it feel like the reader is being directly addressed. We feel we are privy to the narrator's inner thoughts and feelings and that he is sharing them directly with us.

The narrator, a Pakistani who for some time attempts to live the American dream in New York, undergoes a fascinating identity crisis brought on by the bombing of the twin towers. The changes which the narrator undergoes are an enlightening window into what it is like to try and be bi-cultural as a Muslim living in the West. We also see how the attitudes and actions of others can influence a foreigner's sense identity in both positive and negative ways.

Though I will not give away the ending - it is masterful! We are left with exactly the sense of uncertainty and suspicion that Hamid intends us to be left with. A truly thought-provoking and compelling read!


Transfer of Learning from a Modern Multidisciplinary Perspective (PB: Research and Perspectives (Current Perspectives on Cognition, Learning & Instruction)
Transfer of Learning from a Modern Multidisciplinary Perspective (PB: Research and Perspectives (Current Perspectives on Cognition, Learning & Instruction)
by Jose P. Mestre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, 3 Feb. 2014
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As is the case with most edited books of this nature, what you get is a very mixed bag. Some chapters review the general research base on a particular aspect of transfer, others present a particular academic's own research on an area, while yet others are a theoretical overview of some aspect of transfer. Some chapters are written extremely engagingly, while a few are quite dry. The chapter on innovation in transfer is especially engaging, while the chapter on assessment is particularly weak. The book contains a good variety of perspectives and includes a broad collection of aspects of the idea of transfer of learning. Overall it is an extremely informative read.


Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches, 3rd Edition
Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches, 3rd Edition
by John M. Owen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £27.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Depends what you are looking for, 3 Feb. 2014
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My rating of three stars is based on the product description, which also appears on the back cover of the book:

"Program Evaluation offers a conceptual yet straightforward and practical overview of the evaluation process for both beginners and experienced practitioners."

I would not describe this book as a 'practical overview'. It is certainly not the case that you could read the book and then plan an evaluation of any kind. The book gives an excellent and very useful theoretical taxonomy of types, or forms, of evaluation. As a theoretical taxonomy, I would rate the book with four stars. For each of these forms, the book suggests different methods that could be used to achieve the purposes of the particular form. The descriptions of the methods are quite varied. Some are reasonably detailed, others very skeletal. There is not enough detail in any of them to serve as the basis for planning an evaluation, though Owen does give references which can be followed up for further detail and examples.

As a typology, the book is useful. As a practical guide, much less so.


The Arab Uprisings: The People Want the Fall of the Regime
The Arab Uprisings: The People Want the Fall of the Regime
by Jeremy Bowen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Front line reporting, 8 Jan. 2014
As other reviewers have said, this book does not give a comprehensive history of the Arab uprisings, but then Jeremy Bowen is not a historian, he is a reporter. And in fact he says himself in the introduction that he is not aiming for a comprehensive history and that his book will be slanted towards the episodes he had direct experience of. However, the front line reporting is outstanding. Bowen describes vividly incidents he witnessed and allows stakeholders from all viewpoints to speak for themselves with direct quotes. The book allows you to really get inside the events as they are happening and to some extent to get into the thoughts of a huge variety of individuals who participated in the events. Bowen does give enough historical, political and economic detail for the reader to set the events effectively in context. He also examines some of the economic, political and sectarian fault lines which make the Arab uprisings such complex events and which make each of them so different from the others. All in all a fascinating read, and an important contribution to helping us understand what is happening in the Middle East.


Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
by Richard Miles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and impartial, 4 Jan. 2014
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The second half of the title is a little deceiving. Although Miles does in fact give an overview of the history of Carthage from its Phoenician origins to its final destruction by Rome, the book spends much more time examining the Punic wars (about half the total number of pages) than it does the history which preceded them.

The Phoenicians did not leave much of a written record and so most of what we have about them has been written by the winners and is therefore extremely biased. As other reviewers have mentioned, Miles does an excellent job of dissecting the extremely biased primary sources on the Punic wars to try and give us as balanced a picture as possible. His coverage of the Punic Wars is detailed and insightful. Of particular interest is the way in which Miles makes use of both the ancient sources themselves and his extensive knowledge of both Roman and Phoenician culture to probe both the motives behind the the actions of those involved in the wars and the ways in which they justified those actions both to themselves and the outside world. He traces the way both Romans and Carthaginians attempted to appropriate the myths surrounding Hercules to win the ideological war which underpinned the physical one. His exploration of these motivations and justifications is fascinating and is in fact one of the highlights of the book

Overall this is an extremely well-researched and well-written book. It is also an extremely approachable and enjoyable read for the non-expert.


Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century
Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century
by Paul Collier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.95

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very important book, 1 Jan. 2014
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The beauty of this book is Collier's clear thinking. Where most people are questioning whether migration is 'good or bad', Collier realises that the real question is more about how much migration is good and whether it should be allowed to increase. This is what future policy should be based on. Collier examines the research into both the economic and social implications of migration. He looks at these from the perspective of all relevant stakeholders, the migrants themselves, the receiving societies, the societies the migrants are leaving and the people left behind who did not or could not migrate. He also examines the varying impacts on relatively larger or smaller countries, more densely or less densely populated countries and poorer or richer countries. Collier brings to bear relevant and very up-to-date research to support his arguments, but also relates numerous fascinating examples and anecdotes to allow the reader to contextualise the information and arguments he is presenting. He ends the book with some eminently sensible policy recommendations, which politicians would do well to take into account. Overall the book is extremely important. I am a teacher and have been reading widely to prepare a unit on migration for my students. Of all that I have read, this book has been by far the most informative in terms of understanding the impact of migration.


Vier Arten, die Liebe zu vergessen
Vier Arten, die Liebe zu vergessen
by Thommie Bayer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Die Bedeuting von Freundschaft, 1 Jan. 2014
Nach einem zufälligen Treffen auf der Beerdigung eines alten Lehrer, beschließen sich vier ehemalige Schulkameraden auf eine ordnungsgemäße Wiedervereinigung in Venedig, wo einer von ihnen lebt. Der Anlass ihrer Beisammensein verursacht jeder von ihnen, über die Erfolge, Misserfolge, Ängste, Hoffnungen und Veränderungen, die inzwischen in ihrem Leben stattgefunden haben nachzudenken. Ohne allzu sentimental zu werden nutzt das Buch diese Erinnerungen als eine Möglichkeit, die Bedeutung von Freundschaft und Beziehungen zu erkunden. Eine sehr unterhaltsame Lektüre.


Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town
by Mary Beard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly readable, 31 Dec. 2013
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Mary Beard's smooth, fluent, down to earth writing style makes this book thoroughly readable. Although the material is presented in a very scholarly way, which evaluates mounds of primary evidence and does not shy away from the difficulties surrounding its interpretation, the book is anything but dry. Beard has a way of bringing the town to life. She notes small but significant details which truly allow you to build a picture of what life was like in Pompeii at the time of the eruption. In parts of the book you really do feel like you are walking the streets of ancient Pompeii, but at the same time you have the benefit of Beard's thorough knowledge of ancient Rome to help you contextualize and interpret the experience. This book is simply brilliant. Popular history at its best - scholarly enough to pass muster in the eyes of any academic, but totally accessible to the average reader.


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