A major best seller that has engendered a nationwide debate on our educational standards, Cultural Literacy is must listening for parents, teachers, and anyone else concerned with our future as a literate nation.
Click here to listen to E. D. Hirsch, Jr.'s The Schools We Need.
©1987 Houghton Mifflin Company; (P)1995 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Fascinating reading, particularly when we bear in mind that...it is an attempt to establish what all culturally literate Americans actually know, not what they ought to know....Mr. Hirsch's proposal merits serious consideration." (The New York Times)
The premise for this book is that in order to be literate, one must not only be able to read but properly understand the context of things mentioned in conversation by literate people. Literate people assume at least a basic knowledge of certain things and build everything else in conversation and education upon that basic knowledge. The authors are pushing for education that imparts knowledge of the things that are assumed to be understood by literate people.
It's an interesting listen. The text is academic and somewhat repetitive, but by the end of the book you clearly understand their very convincing argument. I'd consider this a very important book for parents and educators--if not to take and apply what the authors suggest, at least to be aware of it.
The last several hours of the book are almost worthless. The narrator reads a list from A-Z of the topics the authors consider important to be culturally literate. There is no conceivable way someone could listen to that for 4 hours. It's like reading the dictionary minus definitions. Aside from that, that list is freely available (updated with definitions) elsewhere online.
I have the print version of this book which is excellent. The audio version just lists the topics with no details as in the print version. Do not waste your time and money on the audio version.
Included the details for each topic as the print version does. I feel cheated.
I have a copy of Cultural Literacy and it has a list of topics with a brief description of each that explains its relevance in American Culture. This audio book just lists a bunch of topics alphabetically. I thought this would be a fun book to listen to while driving, but who wants to listen to a random list of names and topics without any information to educate you about them? I just did not get this audio version.
This is incredibly insightful and straitforward in its ability to explain how students learn and why education needs to be coherent and consistent across socio-economic and linguistic barriers.
The most effective peice was E.D. Hirsch's focus on how what people know translates into their ability to learn.
The topic of multi-lingual education is resonate. His stance although potentailly controversial, makes sense. Multi-lingual education does offer some immediate benefits to non-English speaking students but could reenforce a hegemonic situation where those who are not forced to learn English and the cultural history perpetuated by traditional American are made to be second class.
Without existing schema it is almost impossible to be engaged with new material.
This book will change the way you think about how culture fits in with education and how education then affects culture.
The narration sounds like some technological process was applied to squeeze out the pauses between words. It is very disconcerting and sounds like it was read by a computer program rather than a real person.
All that this book contains is a list of what "every American should know" without any details on any of those items. No joke, the whole book is just a list, droned out one item after the other. I feel like I got bamboozled.
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