Today’s post is brought to you by the letter
Where E is for Education.
Education, that sounds boring. How does Education help me find books to read? My area of specialty is Religious Education, so I read books about education. And you are right, many of these ARE boring. This does not bode well for teachers and students everywhere because, in my humble opinion, education should not be boring.
Remember that whole thing I wrote the other day about people with doctorates and how sometimes they write stuff that no-one seems to edit? This seems to hold true in the field of education in general, but religious education in particular. I’ve found that people write the most amazing drivel in my field. Possibly others find this in their own specialties. Maybe once you get to a certain level in an area of study everything looks the same and it isn’t challenging or interesting any longer. Maybe, but that seems wrong. Surely there must be someone doing something of interest that they can communicate well. Somewhere. Please?
Obviously I went into religious education thinking it was interesting enough to study. I must like some books on Education. And I do. The best education book I read last year was Taught by God: Teaching and Spiritual Formation by Karen Marie Yust and E. Byron Anderson. It looked at some things we can learn from history about teaching and spiritual formation. It had depth and insight and didn’t jump onto the latest trendy theoretical bandwagons. It is the sort of book I’d like to write.
Other interesting books on education include Stages of Faith by James W. Fowler and Frames of Mind by Howard Gardner. Both of these are seminal theoretical works that need to be read to understand all the reaction to the two theories. Mercifully, both books and theories are interesting. I’m not saying the books are a breeze to read, but both Fowler and Gardner communicate clearly. Both Fowler’s stages of faith and Gardner’s multiple intelligences have been oversimplified and turned into something else by people who popularized them and turned them into bandwagons for others to jump onto. Reading the original work is always better than reading someone else’s summary.
I find cognitive theory very interesting, and with that in mind, one book on education I’m most looking forward to reading is How We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner. Gardner’s multiple intelligences is also a cognitive theory book — cognitive studies examines how we think and what makes the brain tick. I also find developmental theories interesting (Fowler is a developmental theorist). The book I most look forward to reading on developmental theory is Making Connections: The Relational Worlds of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School ed. Caol Gilligan, Nona P. Lyons, and Trudy J. Hammer. Hopefully these books will have some substance to them so that I won’t want to throw them against the wall.
Happy Monday everyone!