THE TEACHER AND THE TROUBLEMAKER
Hal Altmann and Kay Crose.
Volume 11 Number 3.
This is a small, nicely produced book about classroom discipline. It is based, the authors say, on the principles of humanistic psychology, and thus the self concept of the child is of central importance when dealing with behavioural problems. The book is organized fairly traditionally with initial chapters touching on historical background, theoretical approaches, and current research literature. The authors then get into specific suggestions for dealing with discipline problems, and the book concludes with nine exercises suitable for workshops and an extensive bibliography.
From the above description one would expect that it could not help but be at least marginally successful. But alas, it is destined for a solid berth among the year's ten worst. The writing style is unpolished and frequently unclear. Buzz words abound, and the writers display a fondness for lists and tables that often make little sense.
The actual content of the book is rather stale stuff that has been beaten to death in earlier books by people like Glasser, Driekurs, and others. It is heavy with platitudes that are of little practical utility (e.g., "isolate your feelings:" "relate to student feelings"). Only chapter five, a mere seven pages, provides anything remotely concrete for a teacher to experiment with.
The workshop ideas presented at the end of the book are largely impracticable in their present form because no meaningful context is developed for their use. Those that show some promise (exercises 4, 5, and 7) and so cryptically explained that the average reader will probably give up on them.
In summary, my view is that very few readers would get anything of value from this book. That is, unless they happen to be insomniacs, for this volume's greatest weakness is that it is just, plain boring.
Glenn DiPasquale, York County Board of Education, Newmarket, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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