January 2, 2008

Improving Academic Achievement (review)

Many people are concerned about the quality of education in their country. Therefore, keys to high quality eductation are of great importance. Improving Academic Achievement: Impact of Psychological Factors on Education (Educational Psychology) is the best source I know of to current research findings about how to improve eduction. The book contains chapters by top experts in the field like Robert Rosenthal, Carol Dweck, Timothy Wilson, Robert Sternberg, and Joshua Aronson, to name just a few. Both classic studies and cutting edge new research are covered. The quality of the writing is first class throughout the book. The theories and research findings are translated very practically. Very nice and useful is how each chapter is ended with answers to some questions by practitioners. I found nearly every chapter interesting but a few stood out, for instance chapter 4 by Deci and Ryan about intrinsic motivation, chapter 5 by Wilson et al. about attributional interventions, and chapter 15 by Cohen and Steele about cross-race mentoring. But the best two chapters to me are chapter 3 by Carol Dweck and chapter 14 by Joshua Aronson, who is also the editor of the book. I already know quite a bit about Carol Dweck's research but this chapter still grabbed my attention and made me enthusiastic. Joshua Aronson describes fascinating research about the role of stereotypes in academic performance. I was already rather familiar with this research but while reading the chapter I couldn't help thinking repeatedly: "This is unbelievable!" I am rather surprised that there is only a hard cover version of this book. Isn't this book a typical example of a book that should be read by as many educators as possible? Answer: yes! So, where is the paperback version?

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