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Barbara Dixon and Lillian Lahe

Toronto, OISE Press, 1992. 330pp, paper, $48.50
ISBN 0-7744-0380-2. CIP

Reviewed by Gail Lennon .

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

Both Barbara Dixon and Lillian Lahe are eminently qualified to write about both Futuristics and curriculum development. Both have been, for the past several years, involved in projects with future studies and gifted students. Barbara Dixon is the author of Reaching the Gifted (OISE Press, 1986). She is at present a resource teacher with the Peel Board of Education. Lillian Lahe is the author of Future Studies and is administrative assistant to the superintendent of curriculum in the York Region Board of Education.

The topic of future studies is a very current one. The future is of primary concern to all students but particularly to the gifted. Thus, the authors have provided a curricu­lum package of interest and contemporary value to educators of North America.

The major fault of this document is its sheer volume. There are 330 pages of valuable curriculum ideas. Rather than provide carefully selected ideas based on their indisputable expertise in this area, the authors have elected, instead, to provide the reader with "everything you ever wanted to know about future studies but were afraid to ask." The uninitiated reader is then left to make uninformed selections.

The second flaw of this publication is the cost. At nearly fifty dollars, this book is clearly out of reach of the average teacher without a program budget! Moreover, those who can afford it for their department already have many of these ideas in other future studies works.

Several sections of this book would have made excellent teacher handbooks on their own and need not have been lumped together under the collective umbrella of "Future Studies." I am referring especially to such topics as "Journal Writing," "Multiple Processes" and "Beyond the Wall of the School." The journal writing section provides both the beginning and experienced teacher with clear objectives and practical ideas for implementing journal writing in the classroom. Moreover, the authors have provided excellent student examples to support their ideas.

The entire section on creative problem solving has great application to numerous other topics besides future studies. In their organization and development of this topic, the authors provide a clearer and more practical use of this technique than its originator ever supplied.

Our Present: Their Future has many ideas and techniques to offer. It is clearly written by teacher-practitioners, who have provided explicit instructions and useful student examples in each section. However, the entire volume is too large, too all-inclusive and too expensive for the average teacher. As a professional library acquisition for teacher reference, it is a valuable acquisition. However, its mere scope makes it impractical for direct classroom application.

Gail Lennon is a secondary resource teacher with the Bruce County Board of Education in Walkerton, Ontario.
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