a very personal list of books on ‘Education’

June 27, 2013

Subsequent to ‘assessment tests for children considered harmful,’ there have been quite a few requests (am surprised about this, I admit) for my list of ‘bibles’ (in my humble opinion) on that beast called education. So, here is the annotated list – for whatever it is worth.
On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 11:18 PM, [name redacted] <[email id redacted]> wrote:
> Could you please send the list of books on how children learn which you had
> mentioned in your latest entry.

Dear [names redacted]:

Hellos from another world. :-) Am really glad that you asked. But, you really asked for it! ;-)
  • Gandhi – all his Nai Taleem related writings (best thing is to buy his collected works on CD / DVD and then grep for education and then read / digest; there are also books written by others on Nai Taleem)
  • Maria Montessori – From Childhood to Adolescence (in fact, all her books are very good & important reads and Divaswapna is also a moving book, though the name of the Author beats me!)
  • Dharampal – The Beautiful Tree (and his all other books – in fact ifyou want to really appreciate the desi education scene, this is a must read)
  • John Abbott et al  — The Unfinished Revolution: Learning, Human Behavior, Community, and Political Paradox, Overschooled but Undereducated: How the crisis in education is jeopardizing our adolescents (and his other important books on apprenticeship – I think, a combination of Gandhi, Montessori and Abbot will set India and us free)
  • Haim Ginott – Between parent and child, teacher and child and other books (Ginott’s students went onto write pop stuff such as ‘how to talk so children will listen’ kind of books)
  • Jean Piaget – Psychology of the Child. Play  dreams and imitation in Childhood (very difficult to read tomes, but at least Singer’s Piaget Primer could be read? May be Elkinde’s intro to Piaget?)
  • Penelope Leach – very readable and deep books on Child and Development
  • Joseph Chilton Pearce – Magical child, Magical Child Matures
  • William Kilpatrick – Why johnny can’t tell Right from Wrong (and his other books)
  • Rudolf Steiner – all his books and lectures on waldorf, child development and education.
  • Krishnakumar – What is worth teaching? (In fact ALL his books)
  • Vasily Sukhomlinsky – On Education (a fine read and he has other books too!)
See, I do not know where you folks are coming from – as parents OR as educators OR as folks who want to really understand this beast and then to act OR as interested bystanders OR some other category… In all these cases, I feel that a strong grounding is a must and these books are kind of ‘starters’ – may be you have gone through them already…

They straddle across various categories of pedagogies, philosophies and ideas. This of course is a very personal list and I have benefited a lot from these works – not that I have become better as a teacher or even as a human being!

Please note that I have left out Tagore, J Krishnamurthy, Sri Aurobindo et al – it is not that they are irrelevant, but that their writings are fairly at a high level and folks are still trying to figure out the ideas, how to detail them out and as to what are the best ways to implement them and then how to take them forward… Of course, no body can dispute with any of what they are saying about education and much else. They are Guru-jis, definitely. But I do not believe in one single unfaltering, ideal typed Guru.

There are many more books and authors, and I point you to a document (Of T Vijayendra) that my dear venerable Arvind Gupta has collected and stored – http://arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/viju-eduation.doc

Do you find this mail/listing useful? If not, were you looking for something specific? Please do give me your feedback. :-)

So, what do you do?


Plug:  Iff you are going to buy any / all of the above books – why don’t you do it through http://www.dialforbooks.in/?

4 Responses to “a very personal list of books on ‘Education’”

  1. Prabhu Says:

    Very nice. Your blog is one of the very very few(other being JM) I enjoy reading, thinking and discussing.

  2. tamil Says:

    Sense Publishers based in Amsterdam have published many books on education. Some of them are based on the experiences and initiatives in different countries Your list does not include Ivan Illich, Paulo Frerire, Peter McLaren among others. Perhaps you wanted to provide a brief list focusing more on issues than on ideologies in pedagogy and education.

    • ramasami Says:

      Dear ‘tamil,’

      As I said, it is a very personal list. In my list Illich, McLaren and Freire do not have a place – because the latter two’s approach is from the POV of marxism. I have read them, to the extent possible digested them, but in the context of education for India and elsewhere, I dunno.

      Illich is a high level guy, I like his ‘Tools for conviviality’ – I occasionally get back to it., but I would say, our Tagore says the things in a much better way than what Illich tries to struggle with.

      YMMV. What else. I love diversity and am really glad that you asked. :-)

  3. […] >> I want (and hope) to raise my 6-year-old son the right way, which I have come to realize starts with educating myself. I have borrowed the following books from the local library and started reading Haim. Very practical advice that I am trying to follow in everyday situations!>> (Original list: https://othisaivu.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/post-210/) […]

மேற்கண்ட பதிவு (அல்லது பின்னூட்டங்கள்) குறித்து (விருப்பமிருந்தால்) உரையாடலாமே...

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