Saturday, July 07, 2012

Book Review: What Should I Do? Confronting Dilemmas of Teaching in Urban Schools, by Anna Ershler Richert

You should not buy this book, that's what you should do.
I get the quarterly catalogs from the Teachers College Press at Columbia University, and a couple of times a year I'll take the plunge and buy something.  This was my summertime splurge, because the premise looked really, really interesting.

Oops.

The idea is solid, to take those memorable dilemmas that teachers come across and give them a deeper look.  The case method can be a super way to do professional development and teacher education--see School Leadership and Administration for a great example of this--and I was hoping that What Should I Do? would be similar, but it falls way short.

The problem is jargon.  This is an academic book, and there's nothing wrong with that, but the real power of the stories gets lost in the fog created by unnecessary academic language.  I couldn't think of using this with my student teachers, because it's almost inaccessible.  I'd say the same about any potential for it as a small group book study, or college prep class.

I can only recommend it for the solo reader who has some time on their hands and likes to think about urban schools.

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