Saturday, August 05, 2006

My latest Oz readings and acquisitions

As a teacher, I was especially interested to read The Theory of Oz: Rediscovering the Aims of Education by Howard Good. And I was not disappointed. Good is a journalism professor and former school board president who likens school to the journey Dorothy and her friends take in Oz. And it works! Each chapter represents something someone in the book was looking for. "Brains" is a natural, of course, but Good uses the chapter to point out the flaws in the current emphasis on performance-based tests to make or break students. "Heart" talks about character education, and what it should be to actually help students become empathetic, caring people. "Courage" talks about moral courage, right and wrong, and how little of that is dealt with in schools. And "Home" talks about the sense of community and belonging that students need, but so few of them get in school. Good primarily uses The Movie (no surprise) for his examples and metaphors, but he cites the books — yes, books, as he mentions several incidents and developments from Baum's later books, as well as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — often enough that it's clear he knows what he's talking about. It was a short, pleasant read, and both the teacher and Ozophile in me were satisfied.

After the bacchanalia of stuff I got at Winkies, I'm trying to taper off for a while, but I made an exception for what's going on at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. I'd love to make it to their Oz exhibit, of course, but distance and money make that impossible. So I did the next best thing, and ordered a catalog and poster. They came the other day. The catalog is, surprisingly, a little light on pictures, and I gather they're not all in there. But the text seems to make up for it, and I'm looking forward to reading it soon.

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