January 20, 2013

Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning and Living

radical reflections

Quote from Chapter 5: Lessons from a home:

‘Long before they enter school, children achieve a number of significant skills at home, none of which is specifically taught. They learn how to sit up, how to walk and talk, how to dress themselves, and how to eat politely, more or less!

‘They acquire these skills because they need these skills… They acquire these skills without a teacher coming into the home for daily instruction.

‘Clearly the family and the home environment are doing something right in terms of teaching. What is this something? What can we, as teachers of literacy learn from parents? Sixteen tentative answers follow…

When I sign this book for a teacher I often whisper: ‘This is the best book I’ll ever write for teachers, and perhaps the best I’ll ever write.’ I could wallpaper my house with the pages and pages of heartfelt letters from teachers in Australia and the USA who tell me that Radical Reflections has changed their lives. It may be because most of the academic texts about the teaching of literacy are written by academics who are not natural writers, through no fault of their own.

I was, until the end of 1996 a full-time Associate Professor in Literacy at Flinders University, In Adelaide, South Australia. I was happily blessed therefore, with academic insights that could be expressed in a writerly fashion. I know of many people who have read this book from cover to cover as if it were a thriller they couldn’t put down. I must admit I found that a little surprising. It’s for teachers and parents who are interested in how we write and learn to write; and in how we read and learn to read—and learn to love reading.

The USA edition has an extra explanatory chapter called: ‘Tub-thumping,’ as well as American terms and spelling. Otherwise it’s the same as the Australian edition although the cover is different. The first edition appeared in 1993. It was up-dated in 2000 and is still in print in the USA.