Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Positive Youth Development: Digital Game-Based Learning

This book explores the potential of gamification, that is, the application of game-design elements in an education context. It aims to improve student engagement and learning while providing in-depth feedback allowing students, teachers, parents, and youth workers to explore different topics relevant for older children and adolescents…” READ MORE >>> – Leopold Štefanič, published in Sodobna pedagogika/Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies Let./Vol. 73 (139)

Open Higher Education in the 21st Century

“It has been decades since the first open university was started back in 1946 in Africa. In the intervening decades, perhaps this sector has already gone through the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and arrived at the plateau of productivity (in terms of the hype cycle). As several of the contributors to this collection have noted, COVID-19 drove many more to open higher education, so as not to lose the time under lockdown. With a burgeoning world population, the needs for higher education are greater than ever, and this broadens the ambit of such universities. In the U.S., there are some endeavors for open educational resources (OERs), in which online learning objects are shared without cost. There are some stand-alone courses and some course series on MOOC platforms. A perusal of the List of Open Universities identifies only one public open university in the U.S. (Open SUNY), and two private ones. Perhaps many of the needs in the U.S. are met with excellent community colleges and various institutes. Or perhaps Americans reach out for opportunities as provided by other open institutions of higher education… Read more >>>” – Shalin Hai-Jew, Instructional Designer/Researcher, Kansas State University. Published in C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2021 / Winter 2022).

Instructional Leadership and Effective Teaching and Learning

The monograph is a very well-argued case for giving even more attention to the school leadership, especially instructional leadership since it is identified as a key function in assuring quality in children’s education. Using a constructivist approach the author seeks to show how instructional leadership is a key tool in the creation of learning experiences that will enhance students to achieve knowledge, skills, and competencies to contribute to the development of society.” READ MORE >>> – Dr. Lazar Stošić, Research Associate, Institute of management and knowledge, Regional coordinator for Republic of Serbia, Senior Researcher, Skopje, Macedonia

“I rate the book very highly. It is a valuable publication, based on a review of the literature and the author’s own research. Nazmi Xhomara has demonstrated a high level of scientific integrity. The monograph may be particularly useful for researchers of educational policy, as well as in the training of educational managers. The publication may also become an item of obligatory literature in academic courses related to the training of teaching staff. I congratulate the author on a valuable book and at the same time recommend the manuscript for publication.” READ MORE >>> – PhDr inż. Łukasz Tomczyk PhD, Institute of Educational Studies, Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland

Developing Teacher Competences: Key Issues and Values

“Ilshat Gafurov, Aydar Kalimullin, Roza Valeeva, and Nick Rushby’s edited collection Developing Teacher Competences: Key Issues and Values includes various research works around better understanding the public education sector in the Russian Federation (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) in a time of reform…This book offers a sense of the teacher’s need to subsume the self (and self-interests) to the child and the profession, to a degree that may be somewhat foreign in the U.S. Universally, teaching is a giving profession, but the well-being of the teacher is important, too, for the system to work. These works differentiate between “foreign” research and the implied “domestic,” which is an interesting differentiation given the international aspects of education (and research that suggests skepticism of the ideas not developed locally, wherever “local” may be)…READ MORE– Shalin Hai-Jew for C2C Digital Magazine (Spring/Summer 2021), Instructional Designer/Researcher, Kansas State University

Advocacy in Education: Research-Based Strategies for Teachers, Administrators, and Teacher Educators

“Those who take on the myriad challenges of teaching are informed by, perhaps, idealist streaks and values. They can imagine a better world beyond the status quo and do not defend the present unthinkingly or uncritically. Many teachers play larger roles in their communities and engage socially and politically. They focus on ways to move society forward and to better the lives of people. Their positions are important ones socially, and they do not come with silencing although what teachers do on their own time does come under broad scrutiny and awareness. Teachers are people, and they have to be able to live with themselves and their actions and their advocacy.  Advocacy in Education: Research-Based Strategies for Teachers, Administrators, and Teacher Educators, edited by Elizabeth Ethridge, Jill M. Davis, Christian Winterbottom, and Amber H. Beisly, asks important questions about what issues are critical in the K12 education space and how to achieve better ends for teachers and learners, and the larger society. This collection also shows the importance of teachers recruiting allies to the issues, so as to achieve better outcomes…READ MORE– Shalin Hai-Jew for C2C Digital Magazine (Spring/Summer 2021), Instructional Designer/Researcher, Kansas State University

Arts Therapy in a Changing World: Creative Interdisciplinary Concepts and Methods for Group and Individual Development

“This is a pioneering book which enables us to safely cross several borders. Berger brings together a strong body of knowledge in the field of performance in dramatherapy and integrates nature therapy with a series of working models. It is important that we can take the bigger view of arts therapies through his lens, and not scramble around in a microscopic corner of protective territory. I warmly recommend this book for all therapists and educationalists.”
Professor Sue Jennings
Innovator of Neuro-Dramatic-Play, Dramatherapy Pioneer
Senior Research Fellow, University of Birmingham, England

Arts Therapy in a Changing World: Creative Interdisciplinary Concepts and Methods for Group and Individual Development makes a significant contribution to the arts as therapy model and materializes its rich potential. It presents novel and interdisciplinary approaches for group work intertwined with the arts including arts-based work in nature, arts-based supervision, performance-based therapy and virtual art based therapy.”
Professor Alexander Kopytin
Psychology Department
St. Petersburg Academy of Post-Graduate Pedagogical Education, Chair, Russian Art Therapy Association, Russia

Emergent Literacy Spectrum of Bilingual Children in India

“‘Quality of Education’ is the buzz word that one keeps hearing across the globe. One can never undermine the fact that the quality of education can be enhanced only when we gain knowledge of the underlying skills that help children to be literate. Even today, education of children has been viewed within the framework of the school curriculum which is neither true nor fair. Pratham, a non-governmental organization has proved beyond doubt that children begin to learn literacy skills much before formal schooling. Pratham’s preschool package for 3 to 5 year- old is based on themes from the child’s immediate environment. The program also has the end goal of preparing children with enough school readiness skills so that the transition to schools will be a smooth and easy experience. In my opinion, the Monograph on Emergent Literacy Spectrum of Bilingual Children in India is the right piece of work at the most appropriate time. The Monograph opens up a vista of thoughts, research questions, ideas, and activities for educational practice in both monolingual and bilingual contexts. Since bilingual children are facilitated in their cognitive development, the thrust given by the author to the spectrum of skills should be taken into cognizance by the educational authorities, teachers, professionals, and parents. I wish there would be more books in the future to gear up our focus on Quality of Education, RPwD Act, and NEP, 2020.”
Padmini, T. Ph.D., (Former) Emeritus Professor of Education, Department of Studies in Education, University of Mysore, Mysore, India

“Significant development across the globe is a matter of pride for all human beings. It is beyond doubt that for all these developments, the crucial factor is literacy. It is my conviction that literacy enhancement in children lays a strong foundation for a productive world. My service for nearly four decades as Itinerant Speech Therapist liaising between institutional-based professionals as well as community-level functionaries left me in a lurch for want of an introductory book on emergent literacy. I had shared my thoughts with Dr. Prema Rao, who judiciously considered writing a Monograph on emergent literacy. The Monograph, in addition to the description of different phases of emergent literacy, brings out the spectrum of skills that emerge in bilingual children drawing support from research. The reader-friendly writing style, sections focused on specific themes augmented with relevant diagrams hold the attention of readers. I sincerely hope and wish that the readers make the best use of information and resources available in the Monograph to facilitate literacy development in children.”
Ms. Indira Nair, Graduate in Speech and Hearing, (Former) Itinerant Speech Therapist, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagangothri, Mysore, India

Fostering Giftedness: Challenges and Opportunities

“The book, Fostering Giftedness: Challenges and Opportunities, is a true source of inspiration for nurturing exceptional individuals with the brightest potential to improve social, technological, economic, and cultural life. Book readers, regardless of whether they are educators, school administrators or parents, will definitely enjoy reading the book whose themes should always be prioritized in every school system.”
Professor Dr. Irena Zavrl, University of Applied Sciences Burgenland

This book will definitely aid teachers and trainee teachers in identifying gifted students and in creating an optimal environment to enable and foster the development of giftedness. Moreover, it will help in resolving doubts that many parents of gifted and talented students face.”
Professor Dr. Kurt Allabauer, University College of Teacher Education in Lower Austria

Clinical Training in Undergraduate Medical Education

“Well worth reading; an excellent resource recommended to medical and health educators and those novices to teaching. It is an absolute must-read.”
Samy Azer, Professor of Medical Education, King Saud University, Riyadh, S.Arabia

“When I read the different chapters, I immediately realized how well structured the book is and how much it can bring to clinical training. Whether you decide to read the text systematically as proposed in the book or read the chapters more relevant to your specific needs, you will find the book extremely useful to improve your practice.”
Madalena Patrício, PhD, University of Lisbon, School of Medicine, Portugal; Former President of AMEE

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of College Students

Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of College Students, a book of edited chapters by Seungyeon Lee (2020), is a delightful volume, and allow me to tell you why. It is wonderfully diverse from several different perspectives. The broad topics that you expect to find in a volume about college student success are here, but there are also niche topics that many readers will find innovative. There are chapters about college student mental health, resiliency, achievement, career decision-making, procrastination, motivation, parental influence (including overparenting), substance use, and relationships – all topics that education professionals need to understand about college students. I also appreciated chapter authors who took a deeper dive into narrow topics – like the sophomore slump, how the campus physical environment exerts its own “ambient power,” the benefits to forming a book club for students, how college students struggle spelling difficult words, how on-campus animal-assisted activities influence final exam scores, and how students process grieving when a loved one dies during their college experience. This volume gives you the best of perspectives — the macro and the micro – and the chapters are expertly assembled. I also noticed and appreciated the diversity of methodological approaches used across the chapters. Some of the chapters serve as expert review chapters/updates on a particular topic, other chapters provide the literature review feature and also present new empirical data—quantitative, qualitative, case study, and mixed method approaches were utilized when new data were shared. When you have been in higher education as long as I have (32 years as I write this), there are times when you read a journal article or a book chapter and you are just as impressed by the curated reference citation list as you are by the prose of the text. That was true in many instances in reading this book, particularly for Chapters 5, 7, 13, and 15 – I’m not going to tell you the topics of those chapters in hopes of tempting you further to read the book. Let me also mention another feature of this book I really liked – every chapter has an abstract. I wish all edited books had an abstract or synopsis at the beginning of the chapter – I found that very useful. If you care about college students, you need to read this book. It will provide you with insights about the key areas surrounding college student success and stimulate new ideas about perspectives you may not have considered previously. Seventeen sets of chapter authors have provided you with up-to-date citations and conclusions in areas of importance. I am a fan of the “one good idea” (OGI) approach; that is, if I come away with truly one good idea from a conference, a journal article, a book – then that is a success because truly good ideas are hard to come by (in my opinion). So as I am reading Chapter 2 by Natalie Burick and Crystal Machado, not only do they report on the existing research on the “sophomore slump,” but they also conduct a qualitative study to better understand this phenomenon. They offer specific recommendations for sophomore student success based on the results of their study (presented on p. 29) – I’ve never this type of detailed, excellent recommendations before to specifically counter the sophomore slump. For me (at the very least) that’s my one good idea that I will take away from reading this edited book. What will be yours?”
R. Eric Landrum, PhD
Professor and Chair
Department of Psychological Science
Boise State University, Boise, ID