A chapter on administrative structure asks who will set the standards, regulate, and coordinate for global education. The chapter on education for the whole world deals with concerns shared by some developing countries that "exported" universities are simply a new form of cultural colonialism. Rossman argues that the electronic university must both affirm indigenous culture and at the same time prepare a new generation of global citizens. He describes the potentials of powerful and expensive technologies, and combinations of simpler and more affordable technologies for poorer countries.
There is a chapter on international research teamwork, and large-scale collaborative efforts dealing with global problems. Another chapter describes connecting the world's research libraries. In a chapter on "the emerging global encyclopedia," Rossman describes some components of a "world brain," problems of intellectual property rights, and barriers of competing, jealous governments, universities, and corporations.
Several chapters describe the changes in current educational institutions, and new learning and teaching styles. A chapter on "the global classroom and instructor" describes a television classroom, "virtual classroom," teleclass or teleconferencing class, situation room, and computer-simulated "virtual reality" classroom. There are chapters on "electronic textbooks for the distance student," "the electronic student," and "life-long education in the community."
The final chapter, "Education for the Next Century," explains that the "global electronic machine" is changing the world. The technology already exists. Rather than being an expert facing a class, a teacher will become "colleague, friend, guide, coach, tutor, inspirer, and, alongside students, adventurer and fellow-seeker" (141). This exciting, provocative book is well worth reading.
We have come to the end of an era in which colleges can be "bounded by a wall with a narrow gate" that keeps out all but a few who can afford high costs, when all students are kept "in one place at one time," sharing finite resources and faculty and when they leave, their education stops. But will the universities join to plan the new era or leave it to others? (143)
Berenbaum does an outstanding job of delineating the ever-increasing extent of the Nazis' repressive policies as well as the deceit and hatred that drove them. At one and the same time, he also clearly delineates the increasing fear, doubts, anxieties, and confusion of the Jews (both in Europe and the United States) regarding the Nazis' duplicity, terrorist tactics, and murderous actions.
Berenbaum makes a point of drawing the reader's attention to the fact that while the Jews were the primary victims of the Nazis, many other groups of people also suffered terribly, e.g., Gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, Slavs, the mentally retarded, and the physically handicapped. He also notes that the Gypsies, like the Jews, were targeted for total extermination.
Secondary-level students and lay persons are bound to discover a whole host of new information in this volume, e.g., how Nazi Germany's "goal of annihilation called for participation by every arm of government" and "the policy of extermination involved every level of German society and marshaled the entire apparatus of the German bureaucracy"; the evolution of the Nazi policies and decision-making process to carry out mass murder; the centrality of technology vis-à-vis the implementation of the genocide; how the Nazis' euthanasia program in which the handicapped were murdered was a precursor of the mass exterminations; the debate as to why the United States did not bomb Auschwitz; the cooperation of industry (e.g., I.G. Farben, BMW, Daimler-Benz, Krupp) with the Nazis; the various types of resistance carried out by the Jews and others; and the inadequacy of the post-war efforts to punish the perpetrators and collaborators.
More than 200 photographic images from the museum's archives are included in the volume. The photos (black and white, and colored), which have been carefully selected in order to complement the text, do an excellent job (in and of themselves) of relating the story of the Holocaust.
As excellent as this volume is, there are several ways in which it could have been strengthened. First, despite the fact that Berenbaum provides an adequate explanation for most of the terms that the layperson may not be familiar with, the inclusion of a glossary would have been helpful for many readers. Second, while a map is included of the various concentration and death camps, a discussion of the actual number of camps would have added to the reader's understanding of the enormity of the Nazis' effort to isolate, abuse, and lay waste to the so-called "enemies of the state." Third, a heavier emphasis in regard to when and how the media first began to cover the story of the Nazis' persecution of the various peoples would have been instructive. This could have been accomplished, at least in part, by including some of the earliest newspaper articles about the Nazis' actions that appeared in Allied nations' newspapers. Fourth, while some of the various types of patches that different groups of people were forced to wear by the Nazis are mentioned, it would have been valuable to have included (on a single page) examples of these along with an explanation of each. When all is said and done, though, this volume should find a large and appreciative readership. It is a volume that educators should definitely become conversant with and seriously consider using with their students.
University of Arkansas
China's Buried Kingdoms
Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1993. 168 pp.
Reviewed by Robert W. Gaskins.
China's Buried Kingdoms is a beautifully designed and well researched book that undertakes the daunting task of providing a concise summary of nearly 2,000 years of Chinese history. In particular, the book focuses on the Shang, Eastern Zhou, Chan, and Han dynasties, which are believed to have existed between 1700 BCE and 220 CE. Its 168 pages are packed with vivid photographs of various artifacts and archeological sites associated with each dynasty while the text provides an overview of these dynasties. It is a book that, on its artistic qualities alone, is almost sure to catch the attention of students with even a passing interest in China, ancient civilizations, or archeology.
The book is divided into four chapters-one for each dynasty-with each chapter closing with an essay elaborating on one topic related to each time period. From the outset of the first chapter, the aptness of the title is immediately apparent. In this chapter, the authors develop the history of the Shang dynasty through a discussion of the archeological findings related to that time period. In fact, the first chapter reveals much more about how archeologists developed their understanding of the Shang dynasty than it does about the Shang dynasty.
Given the archeological perspective from which this book is written, this situation is understandable. The Shang dynasty is presently the oldest Chinese dynasty whose existence can be confirmed through archeological evidence, and there is much less evidence available upon which to elaborate our understanding of this dynasty than there is for the later dynasties. Regardless of the explanation for why the chapter is written as it is, the result is a chapter that will captivate readers like myself who have at one time or another dreamt of being archeologists, but may frustrate readers who seek a straightforward discussion of Shang society and culture.
Those readers who are primarily interested in a summary of ancient Chinese society and culture will be pleased to discover that subsequent chapters provide a more focused and elaborated picture of these issues. As earlier, there are times when archeological information moves from a supportive to a primary role, and throughout the book the smoothly flowing text wanders freely toward its ultimate destination rather than unwaveringly adhere to the most direct route of explanation. But neither of these characteristics should be construed as faults. Rather, they are elements of the authors' style that help give this book its unique flavor.
In the final analysis, China's Buried Kingdoms is an excellent resource for middle school, high school, and general readers. It presents a fine overview of these four dynasties and does so in an interesting manner. It is a book which offers readers a glimpse into the wondrous kingdoms of ancient China and beckons us to explore in greater depth the roots of one of the most ingenious and fascinating peoples of the world.
Robert W. Gaskins
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 1
Civics for Democracy:
A Journey for Teachers and Students
By Katherine Isaac.
Essential Books, 1992. 390 pp.
Reviewed by Walter C. Parker.
This is a large paperback book (390 pages, 8" x 11") produced by Ralph Nader and written by Katherine Isaac. Nader's foreword laments the impotence of conventional civics courses, which he blames on the avoidance of controversy, self-censorship, and a narrow emphasis on book learning at the expense of citizen action. The text endeavors in a straightforward fashion to reverse these three problems.
The first major section provides cases. Five "citizen movements" in the United States are described: Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Labor, Consumer, and Environment. These are chapter-length accounts, amply footnoted, and they include profiles of major activists (e.g., Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Mother Jones) and organizations (e.g., United Farmworkers, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters). Successes and failures are portrayed, as are the frequent clashes among members. Although these five cases do not begin to cover the range of citizen movements, as Isaac herself points out, they exemplify well enough the role that citizens (rather than government) can play in winning rights, achieving access, and creating the future.
A second section continues the multiple-example format, which is the book's key design strength, but now the content changes from cases to methods of citizen action. Thirty are grouped in twelve categories: Individual action, forming citizen organizations, public education, research, direct action, citizen lobbying, the courts, initiative and referendum, community lawyer, shareholder activism, the media, and fundraising. A speakers' bureau, for example, is one of six methods given under Public Education. The bureaus of the League of Women Voters and Physicians for Social Responsibility are featured.
A third section shifts gears from reading about participation to doing it. Ten student projects are described. Both the detail and array are impressive. There are old favorites, such as evaluating news media and recommending energy conservation measures for the school building, but there are fresh ideas, too: researching the representatives of local juries, investigating voter participation patterns with attention being given to race and class, learning to use the Freedom of Information Act, and producing and distributing profiles of legislators' campaign finances and voting patterns.
An elaborate, thirty-page resource guide closes the book. Categories include children's and civil rights organizations at the beginning and women's organizations and U.S. Government agencies at the end.
The book is not perfect. The section on citizen action techniques could have concluded with a tour back through the five citizen movements, pointing out their applicability. Also, I wish the book contained material that would help students know what it is to develop a thick rather than thin understanding of a public controversy-discussing a policy issue at length, for example, and conducting surveys and interviews to trace the way a problem is interpreted across age, gender, class, and ethnic identities.
While American history teachers might find the book helpful for breaking free of a presidents-and-wars curriculum, the high school government/civics class will benefit more directly. Used in combination with a discussion-centered program (e.g., National Issues Forum 1), these cases, methods, and projects should make for a memorable course.
Walter C. Parker
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington 1 Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 1993
Making Connections: Linking Population and the Environment. Elementary Teacher's Guide
By Kimberly A. Crews.
Washington, DC: The Population Reference Bureau, Inc., 1992. 165 pp.
Reviewed by John D. Hoge.
Making Connections is a set of twenty-eight lessons that teach about population and environmental issues. It is suitable for upper-elementary grade-level students of average to above average ability. The overarching goal of the lessons is to give students an understanding of how the earth's growing human population affects water, air, and land use.
The lessons in Making Connections are divided into seven sections:
People (Global Population Dynamics);
People and Places (Geographic Skill Building);
People and Water (Global Use, Rivers, Dams, Egypt, Bangladesh);
People and Trees (Forest Resources in Nepal, Kenya, Brazil);
People and Land (Desertification in Africa);
People and Movement (Urbanization in Latin America); and
You and People around the World (Global Connections).
Each section is introduced with an overview and a brief listing of books and audiovisual resources. A final "Resources" section contains charts and graphs on world population, a glossary, and eight full-color photographs of rural life in less developed countries.
Lesson plans in Making Connections contain an overview, learning objectives, vocabulary, estimated time required, materials needed, procedures, and lesson extensions. The procedures offered in each lesson are detailed and quite helpful. The suggested activities and worksheets often cause students to think critically about the topic. In general, much good content is offered, and students will be challenged to master the concepts and facts contained in these materials.
Despite these strengths, three notable flaws limit the power and potential of these materials.
One problem with many of the lessons is that they require, for maximal effectiveness, some outside resource such as a Population Reference Bureau (PRB) video, an atlas for each child, or a child's book such as The Lorax. While most teachers will have access to The Lorax, most will not have access to the PRB videos. Other lessons require multiple copies of blank U.S. and world maps, showing only rivers. Alternative procedures for implementing lessons without the preferred instructional resource are provided, but these procedures are often poor instructional substitutes.
A second criticism of these lessons is that the learning objectives often tell what students do in the lesson rather than what they learn. For example, Lesson 3, "Population Patterns," states as two of its five "objectives": "Students will construct a timeline," and "Students will interpret a graph." The author provides activity descriptions rather than objectives regarding what students are really supposed to be learning in Lesson 3: (a) that human population has increased exponentially (the "J Curve"); and (b) several people-related traits of specific periods of history.
A final shortcoming of Connections is that it focuses heavily on environmental problems viewed only from the limited perspective of cultural geography. Little or nothing is said about the political, sociological, and economic factors that aggravate many of these pressing global problems. Teachers will have to compensate for the lack of these perspectives as they implement these lessons.
John D. Hoge
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 1
Lessons That Work: Ideas and Activities for Teaching U.S. History.
Volume I: Earliest Times to the Civil War
Volume II: Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Present
By Tedd Levy and Donna Collins Krasnow. Pacific Grove, California: Cornfield Publications, 1993. Volume I: 99 pp. of text and 120 pp. of activities. Volume II: 154 pp. of text and 105 pp. of activities. Reviewed by Ron Briley.
In this volume for the Cornfield Publications series "Lessons That Work," veteran classroom teachers Tedd Levy and Donna Collins Krasnow provide teachers of American history with lesson plans and activities that have been successful for the authors. Clearly, there is a great deal of material in these two volumes that teachers may use to improve the quality and variety of classroom instruction. Levy and Krasnow are quick to point out in their preface that they do not "suggest strict adherence to a specific instructional approach or the use of particular instructional materials." However, in their efforts to incorporate materials that fit the varying state and local curricular patterns for teaching American history, Levy and Krasnow try to be all things to all people, in some ways making their fine ideas less accessible to the classroom teacher.
For example, while attention is given to citizenship education and guidelines prepared by the National Council for the Social Studies, Levy and Krasnow appear to support the conclusions of the Bradley Commission that history constitutes the core of the social studies curriculum. Their introduction, which is reprinted in each volume, emphasizes the importance of the historical method, although they make clear that the goal is not to make young people into historians. In support of the more traditional historical approach, the authors organize their volumes chronologically, although they point out that the lesson plans might also be used thematically. The second volume does not adhere to this chronological format, placing more emphasis upon themes such as industrialization and urbanization, while the late nineteenth century seems to get more attention than the turbulent 1960s.
The somewhat evasive search for synthesis is evident in the level of difficulty for the suggested activities. Clearly, some of the plans are more appropriate for curricular patterns where American history is taught in the eighth grade, while some of the more challenging lessons dealing with primary documents fit better into the high school. But this differentiation is not clearly marked in the volumes, and the decision to separate the performance objectives from the activities section makes for some unnecessary confusion. Levy and Krasnow also include a number of lessons intended to further multicultural education, though their refusal to focus on this theme may disappoint some instructors. The effort to include a traditional historical approach, citizenship education, and differing ability and grade levels, as well as some multicultural and global education, may be placing too much under the broad umbrella of lessons that work.
While the decision to include a variety of philosophical approaches makes the compilation of lesson ideas a little difficult to use, the teacher willing to spend some time sorting through the many suggested activities of Levy and Krasnow will find some wonderful nuggets. Teachers will appreciate the emphasis on cooperative learning, the inclusion of supplements for assessment, activities that are easy to reproduce in the three-ring binder format of the volumes, and the feedback form at the end of each volume that elicits comments from teachers. Levy and Krasnow really care about what the classroom teacher thinks.
Sandia Preparatory School
Albuquerque, New Mexico 1
Assessment in Higher Education: Politics, Pedagogy, and Portfolios
By Patrick L. Courts and
Kathleen H. McInerney.
Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1993. 181 pp.
Reviewed by Gregory Eddy.
The title of Courts and McInerney's Assessment in Higher Education: Politics, Pedagogy, and Portfolios is misleading; the book evaluates the movement toward national standards and illuminates the politics of assessment at all educational levels. The authors convincingly argue for a pedagogy featuring writing infusion, especially writing portfolios, as the fulcrum of both instruction and assessment.
Currently popular assessment in the form of standardized testing perpetuates an outmoded gatekeeping function, and assessment should instead be used exclusively to improve teaching and learning, according to Courts and McInerney. They acknowledge nationwide inadequacies in the educational system, but believe that solutions must be created at local and classroom levels, based on continuous, individualized diagnostic assessments of learning.
Learning means more than just the memorization and recall of information necessary to pass objective tests; it means the ability to apply the information using higher-level thinking and social skills. Courts and McInerney advocate the use of writing portfolios as a means not just to verify content knowledge but also to foster students' metacognitive awareness.
The authors draw on their own teaching experiences in utilizing portfolios, as well as some of the vast literature on the portfolio strategy, to illustrate types of portfolios and their uses in various subject fields, including the humanities and the social sciences. Court and McInerney's inclusion of their own trial-and-error prone experiences in utilizing the portfolio approach and their inclusion of a generic "dos and don'ts" list are most helpful for teachers at any level.
Perhaps the most valuable sections of the book for social studies practitioners are those that fully describe specific types of writing exercises and their purposes. The writing portfolio approach can include the keeping of journals, the recording of interviews, the jotting of reader's notes or responses, the creation of anticipated test questions, etc., and should not be construed as consisting solely of a sheaf of final drafts of term papers. The section on "Writing in the Social Sciences" is particularly elucidating in its characterization of the social sciences as the subject fields with the greatest volume of abstract concepts with which students struggle; the authors recommend use of the portfolio approach as a way for students to gain increasing knowledge of and mastery over that cascade of concepts.
In short, Courts and McInerney understand the potential power and broad scope of the effective pedagogical use of writing. Their book, although primarily written for the college instructor, is worth a look from any educator concerned with achieving better assessment of student learning.
Gregory L. Eddy
Claremont, New Hampshire
Leslie Gene Hunter
Texas A University
The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
By Michael Berenbaum.
Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Co., 1993. 240 pp.
Reviewed by Samuel Totten.
The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, written by Michael Berenbaum (the project director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), could serve as a superb introduction to the history of the Holocaust for secondary-level students (grades 7-12 or forms 1-6) as well as most lay people. Indeed, it is comprehensive, well written, and highly engaging. What makes the volume particularly engaging is the fact that the history is informed and enhanced by the many voices interwoven throughout it. In fact, on almost every single page of this book we hear the diverse voices of the people who witnessed and/or were victims of the Holocaust.
While the book parallels the United States Holocaust Museum's exhibit and thus serves as a catalogue of sorts, no one reading this book would perceive it as such. At the same time, it is not a typical history book or even a typical volume that provides an overview of the Holocaust years. It is much more. Its detail and comprehensiveness, its historical accuracy, its hard-hitting and honest approach, and, finally, its emphasis on the human aspect vis-à-vis the perpetration as well as the concomitant suffering of that tragedy makes this a very special volume. Indeed, the chronological presentation and succinct analysis of the various issues not only provide the reader with a solid sense of the history but also the horrific dimension of the tragedy.