A Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Heinemann

An Ethic of Excellence

Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students

Ron Berger

ISBN 978-0-325-00596-6 / 0-325-00596-6 / 2003 / 160pp / Paperback
Imprint: Heinemann
Availability: In Stock
Grade Level: 2nd - 8th
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    . . . an important book for our time, for teachers, teacher educators, and policymakers.
    —Ann Lieberman, Senior Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
    Stop everything you’re doing and take the time to really read this. Not once. Not even twice, but over and over. Make your colleagues read it . . . every legislator and policymaker ought to too, so they can see when and where their favorite, best-designed, top-down mandates may actually hinder this kind of culture of high standards. But, of course, what in the end makes it such a good read is in the details, those precious and well-told stories of what the real stuff looks like.
    —Deborah Meier, Coprincipal, Mission Hill School, Boston
    Ron Berger is one of the most remarkable teachers in America today. He sets incredibly high standards in his classes and his students measure up to those standards. Yet Ron Berger’s authentic standards bear little resemblance to what passes for standards in today’s test-obsessed America. For a reminder of what education can and should be, read this passionate book—and give it to every policymaker whom you know.
    —Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education
    . . . passionate stories from an inspiring, ever imaginative teacher whose demands on his students are high and those on himself even higher. He writes of teaching as "an ethic . . . a way of thinking . . . that is built carefully by hand," a craft that defies "scaling up" in mechanistic ways and that requires powerful, autonomous work close to the students.
    —Theodore R. Sizer, Founder, Coalition of Essential Schools

Drawing from his own remarkable experience as a veteran classroom teacher (still in the classroom), Ron Berger gives us a vision of educational reform that transcends standards, curriculum, and instructional strategies. He argues for a paradigm shift—a schoolwide embrace of an "ethic of excellence." A master carpenter as well as a gifted teacher, Berger is guided by a craftsman’s passion for quality, describing what’s possible when teachers, students, and parents commit to nothing less than the best. But Berger’s not just idealistic, he’s realistic—he tells exactly how this can be done, from the blackboard to the blacktop to the school boardroom.

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. . . an important book for our time, for teachers, teacher educators, and policymakers.


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