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Allan, John A.B. and Penny Bardsley

Toronto, Guidance Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Toronto, c1984.32pp, paper, $5.50, ISBN 0-7713-0139-1. (Class Discussion Series) CIP

Grades 4 and up
Reviewed by Glenn DiPasquale

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

This is a small, well-produced booklet which follows the same format utilized in other works from the Class Discussion Series. It begins with a brief introduction highlighting the recent research in the area, which is quite informative. Following this, several specific classroom discussion topics are described in detail, under the common headings of "Objectives," "Materials," "Method," and "Lesson Plan." This last section is broken down further into "Introduction," "Warm-up Questions," "Exploration," "Understanding," "Action Steps," and "Exit or Termination Phase." This format is a bit forced at times and makes one feel like one is conducting a first year psychology experiment, but it has the advantage of being very structured and crystal clear. The writing style is straight forward and easy to follow, and the authors have done a good job of keeping things simple.

As to the content, I found some of the discussions to be somewhat simplistic and almost patronizing. But then, I never moved as a child; not even once, believe it or not. Thus, I consulted an expert, namely my spouse, who spent her childhood as a virtual gypsy. To her, the very fact that someone was addressing the needs of children who move was terrific and long overdue news. She feels that any attention paid to the problem was bound to be helpful to the children in this period of often difficult adjustment. The class discussions outlined in this book seem to be well thought out, particularly those on loneliness and accepting change. This amounts to an enthusiastic endorsement of this booklet from someone who has been there. What can I say (especially with her reading this over my shoulder)?

In summary, this book is well worth reading and using, with the usual cautions that the teacher/counsellor using it should be well trained, sensitive, and aware of the strengths, weaknesses, and possible dangers or complications inherent in the class discussion approach.

Glenn DiPasquale, York Region Board of Education, Newmarket, Ont.
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