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on Feb. 10, 2011 :
MINDS IN BLOOM
by Glenn Fieber
A Critique by C.S. Noakes
Minds in Bloom, by Glenn Fieber, is a welcome synthesis of current brain research and theories of learning. The work is peppered with anecdotes, many of them thought-provoking, drawn from Glenn’s extensive teaching experience. He also applies that experience to a fairly comprehensive overview of teaching practices and administrative structures used in various education settings.
The book is divided into four parts: “Inside the Brain”, an overview of current brain research; “Inside the Mind”, a look at behavior modification approaches, including teaching and learning; “Inside the Theory”, an overview of the behavioral theories of B.F. Skinner and Abraham Maslow, and the learning theories of Bruner, Gardner, Bloom, Montessori, Fuerestein, and the “Knowledge is Power” approach, with –thankfully – discussions of theory applications in the classroom; “Inside the Universe”, where Glenn attempts to place teaching and learning into a more general context.
The first two parts of this book are excellent: concise yet thorough summaries of their topics. The same applies to the third part, “Inside the Theory”, with the added plus of extensive descriptions of many and varied teaching experiences and, most importantly, the reactions of his students. What becomes most evident in this section is Glenn’s ability to draw important inferences from these experiences. One is impressed with his acceptance of the flashes of insight that proceed from his experiences.
Part Four, “Inside the Universe”, carries on the pattern of description, inference, and insight so well begun in part three, but this time with a broader frame of reference. Glenn offers anecdotes of life experiences, and looks at what might be described as lifestyle approaches: pyramid power, prayer, music and healing, food and the mind, aspects of Qi, reiki. Much of this section’s focus is on spirituality in its many forms.
If I have any reservations about this book, they are philosophical ones, and relate only to two areas: the distinction Glenn draws between “brain” and “mind”, and, related to that, what seems to be the implication that spirituality is somehow distinct from the organic function of the physical brain and the human body. I agree with Glenn’s assessment of the brain’s phenomenal capacity. I wonder why he cannot accept that it is the source of “mind” and “spirituality”.
In summary, this is an excellent book dealing with topics of specific importance to teachers and others involved with education. It’s combination of concise summaries, practical ideas, and inspirational insights make it a valuable resource.
(reviewed long after purchase)