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BOOK REVIEW: Educating the More Able Stydent
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BT 201712 Book 01      由Ian Warwick和Martin Stephen联合著作的新书Educating the Most Able: A Global Perspec-tive(《教育最具能力者:全球视角》)首次考察了世界各地成功的教育计划。除了鉴别教育方式、做法的好坏之外,这本书还提供了许多客观的批判性的见解。

      Warwick和Stephen在深入探索世界各地优秀学生的选择和技巧方面,提出了或许是所有教育工作者和家长都会面临的棘手问题:我们是否能在爱护孩子和给孩子设置挑战之间取得平衡?为确保所有学生都达到基本的学术标准,我们是否忽略了最有能力的学生的需求?我们是否提供了真正创新的学习机会?我们是否在培养获取终身成就所需的工作习惯和探究技能?教师是否得到了他们所需的培训、资源和支持,最高效地利用每个课堂开展工作?我们是否提供了合理的学习激励机制,让学生为自己的学习负责,还是不知不觉间培养了学生的依赖感?如果你对上述问题有所共鸣,相信你可以在书中作者的论述中得到启发。

      本书还考察了世界各地最成功的教学技巧。书中认为,世界上绝大多数国家已经确定了一批能力最强的学生,而且有不少方式来找出他们。本书可以作为优质教育实践指南,同时你也可以从中了解到教学禁忌。可以说,每位教育从业者都应该阅读这本书。

“Change comes from small initiatives which work, initiatives which become the fashion. We cannot wait for great visions from great people, for they are in short supply at the end of history. It is up to us to light our own small fires in the darkness.”
                                                                                         - Charles Handy, The Empty Raincoat.


The book examines for the first time the most successful schemes used around the world to edu-cate the most able students, coupled with a health check on current practices. Based in most cases on actual visits to successful schemes around the world, this book is a unique co-operation be-tween one of the world’s leading authorities in education of the most able in the state sector and the former Head of three of the UK’s most academically successful independent schools. In addi-tion to identifying both good and bad practices, the book gives an objective and occasionally criti-cal insight into many of the myths that have grown up around the most able, international ranking of countries and claims of excellence.
 

In a thoughtful exploration of a wide range of programming options and techniques for teaching the most able students around the world, Warwick and Stephen raise tough questions that are critically important for all educators and parents. Are we getting the balance right between spoon feeding and challenge? In our concern for ensuring that all students achieve basic academic stand-ards, are we ignoring the needs of the most able learners? Are we providing opportunities for en-gagement in real learning required for creativity and innovation? Are we fostering the work habits and enquiry skills needed for meaningful achievement across the life span? Are teachers being given the training, resources, and support they need to work most effectively with the wide range of abilities found in every classroom? And are we providing learning incentives that will result in students’ taking responsibility for their own learning, or are we implicitly fostering dependence and entitlement?
 

This book ranges from examining world famous schemes to experimental schemes that are run from a former teacher’s home. It also includes a stunningly successful scheme which is run out of a cluster of comprehensive schools in Adelaide as well as city-wide initiatives in London and Hong Kong. It has located some of those ‘small fires’ which illuminate the teaching of the more able, in order to explore them and lay bare any kernel of truth that they may contain. Experience has shown that really interesting practice is no more likely to occur in ‘outstanding’ schools in first world countries than in schools facing the most highly challenging circumstances. It is usually sparked by teachers ducking beneath the radar of contradictory regulations and theories and fo-cusing on meeting the complex needs of their own students.
 

The book examines the most successful techniques used around the world for teaching the most able. It argues that vast majority of countries in the world have identified a cohort of most able students, and that there are perfectly adequate means available for identifying them. The book concentrates on what has worked best across a wide geographical and cultural base, and essen-tially is a guide to good practices, as well as a warning of what not to do. On the basis that every teacher in the world will have some of the most able students in their classes, the book is relevant to every classroom teacher.
 

Our most able students have been neglected. It is interesting to note that in course of research for this book it became clear that this exact problem was shared by schools from many different cul-tures, differently named basic matriculation requirements – and exactly the same old problem. What is even more interesting is the different approaches that countries around the world have instigated to address some of these vital questions. Hoping to address and explore all of the above issues, the authors of this work started their journey with one, simple overriding question: what works well and why?
 

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