Top critical review
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A library rental at best. Save your money.
on 2 August 2011
I'm writing this review to provide some form of balance to the 'rave' reviews I've read about this book.
This book was on my course reading list. Having already spent large amounts of money on other books on this list I decided to get this one out of a library. I'm glad I did. I don't have a great deal of time to do this so will keep it short and sweet:
First things first - If you have children, or have worked with them, or even know any, you are going to find this book painful to read. The children in this book are merely specimens to be studied. The sheer number of studies referred to throughout the book (overwhelming numbers of them, sometimes for pretty much every point the author makes) give the impression that the author has only ever learned about children from a book. This is in total contrast to so many other books I've read, and very noticeable. It surprised me that the back cover states that she was a head teacher. There is no warmth towards the children in this book. For example, apparently some children wake up "irritatingly cheerfully". And yes that is a direct quote.
Secondly the author has a alarming tendency to "state the bleedin' obvious". You will be given fascinating insights into child development such as "children learn through playing ('x' et al. 1964)" and "children learn through talking ('y' et al 1988)". Honestly I was laughing out loud at some of the tripe that is stated in this book as if it is somehow clever because a scientist has said it.
Overall, I would say that this book has been written for academics, by an academic. To me, it's a prime example of academia for the sake of it. I can't believe any grounded person is going to derive anything from this book that will actually affect their day to day practice as a teacher. The only use I can think of for it would be as an almanac of teaching and child psychology studies if you were asked to produce a piece of written work for the uni part of your course.