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Among Friends: Classrooms Where Caring and Learning Prevail.

Dalton, an Australian educator, and Watson, Director of the Child Development Project in California, have effectively captured relevant stories of teachers and children through classroom vignettes and conversations with teachers. The reader is taken along on these teachers' journeys, as they learn the four keys to a classroom community: fostering caring relationships, teaching values, honoring intrinsic motivation and learning for understanding.

The book is based on the premise that children make the school community their own when they feel they are among friends in their schools and classrooms. When children commit to the school community's values, they become more engaged in learning, and more thoughtful and caring, as well.

In one section, teachers offer useful hints on getting started on building a school community by using collaborative learning formats; considering the formation, duration and size of groups; problem solving with children; and embarking on teacher journeys. Community-building ideas, interviewing and poetry formats, an annotated bibliography, and teacher support materials provide additional resources. The final chapter includes research and theory embedded in the Child Development Project, which provides a coherent rationale for the approach teachers demonstrate. Readers who are not familiar with the Project could benefit by reading this section first. The index is organized by grade levels under two sections (vignettes and interviews), allowing for quick reference.

Among Friends is a useful resource for preservice and inservice elementary teachers. It provides a much-needed frame of reference on collaborative classroom strategies for preservice teachers, and guiding principles for inservice teachers who want to make a deliberate effort to build kind and respectful relationships with and among students. Reviewed by Sureshrani Paintal, Associate Professor, Chicago State University, IL
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Paintal, Sureshrani
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1998
Words:276
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