Endangered Minds (Magill Book Reviews)
ENDANGERED MINDS suggests that our current crisis in education has deep roots. Healy argues that contemporary society systematically undernourishes the growing brains of our children at key developmental junctures. The predominance of two income families leads to a pattern of haphazard child care, diminishing the number of opportunities for children to learn basic conversation skills. Television and video games absorb the time of children to the exclusion of reading and other forms of play, preempting important exercises in imagination and interactive communication. Even the much revered “Sesame Street” encourages a short attention span and fails to address the real educational needs of preschoolers. Likewise, trendy educational experiments designed to accelerate learning are often out of phase with the needs of young brains. Poverty exacerbates these problems for a growing number of children. As a result, our society fails to foster the physical development of young brains necessary for sophisticated command of language, analytic rigor, and sustained thought.
In addition to her attack on “Sesame Street,” Healy offers a clear challenge to true believers in phonics, cultural literacy, and other popular panaceas. She also expands the scope of analysis beyond the boundaries of the schoolyard, recognizing that the process of education involves broader social and life-style questions.
While expanding the scope of inquiry somewhat, Healy...
(The entire section is 289 words.)
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