- The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education (2009) by Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes : This book is actually about the British education system, covering primary through higher and further education. It traces the ways that education has become focused on therapeutic measures and argues against programs such as Every Child Matters (like the British version of the American No Child Left Behind Act), which, in their attempts to promote emotional literacy and inclusiveness, delay student development and create a diminished self identity.
- The School and the Society (1900) by John Dewey: The first edition of this book was written in 1900, more than 100 years ago, yet many of Dewey's observations on education are still relevant today. Dewey argues for a bridge between the school and the larger social structure. He also argues for active work/active occupation in the school rather than memorization and knowledge building based on facts divorced from context or critical thought.
- Postcomposition (2012) by Sidney Dobrin: In Postcomposition, Dobrin makes the claim that Composition Studies needs to move beyond the composition classroom and make a return back to the study of writing. He says that by limiting our scholarship to the classroom, we are actually studying how to create better students, not better writers. It is also the reason Composition studies is marginalized and seen as a service to other disciplines, according to Dobrin.
- A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, 4th ed. (2001) by Erika Lindemann: First published in 1982, Lindemann's book is a kind of theory primer/how-to book for those who teach writing (not necessarily just First Year Writing). It is full of useful practical information. She spans topics from "What does process involves?" to "What do teachers need to know about cognition?" to "Developing writing assignments" and "Teaching with computers." As a whole, Lindemann reminds us that writing is a recursive process and one that is determined contextually.
The other reason I picked these four books is because they all take seemingly contradictory points of view to at least one other text on the list. Despite that, I manage to find something valuable in the claims made in each.
Have you read these texts? If so, what are your thoughts on them?