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July 16 , 2008

The Ones We Remember: Scholars Reflect on Teachers Who Made a Difference


A volume in Adolescence and Education Series Editors Tim Urdan, Santa Clara University and Frank Pajares Emory University Paulo Freire wrote that "sometimes a simple, almost insignificant gesture on the part of a teacher can have a profound formative effect on the life of a student." Sometimes, of course, this formative effect is not the result of a simple, isolated gesture but rather of a proactive and sustained series of gestures on the part of a teacher. Many of us have been deeply influenced by one or more teachers who have exercised a formative effect in our development as students and individuals. We remember these teachers with fondness, tell their stories to our own children, think of them with affection, respect, gratitude, even reverence. Sometimes, we recognized this influence as it was happening, and we grew close to these remarkable individuals, keeping them in our lives even after we graduated from their classes. Often, however, they themselves were unaware of the influence they exercised over us, for it was not until years passed that we realized their effect. If time and distance did not prevent it, perhaps we found our way back to these educators and shared with them our appreciation and gratitude. In this volume, outstanding scholars in the fields of adolescence and education provide short stories describing their most memorable teacher. Some provide the story on its own; other follow it with a brief analysis drawn from theory and research in education, psychology, and human development to identify key concepts and principles that apply in explaining why the selected teacher was so effective and memorable. Some write about one specific teacher; others write about thequalities that they believe contribute to teaching excellence, including anecdotes from various teachers to support the qualities they identified. Each tells the story with an eye toward being accessible to a wide audience of readers. One need not be an academic, or an expert in education or psychology, to understand and find meaning in these stories. In essence, these are stories and analyses that capture just what it is that makes a particular teacher, as our title describes, unforgettable. This book would be excellent for teacher preparation courses, educational psychology courses, and for anyone who is interested in the art and science of teaching.
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