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100 Things Guys Need to Know1001 Solution-Focused Questions101 Ways to Meditate17 Lies That Are Holding You Back29 Gifts8 Keys to Stress ManagementA Layman's Guide to Managing FearA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction and ChangeAddiction Recovery ToolsADHD Grown UpAdolescent DepressionAdvanced Sexual TechniquesAfter SuicideAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAge-Proof Your MindAnswers for AristotleAnxiety, Phobias, and PanicAre You Fully Charged?Authentic HappinessAwakening Self-EsteemBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeating the BluesBecoming OrgasmicBeen There, Done That? 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Book for BoysWhat's Holding You Back? When a Family Member Has DementiaWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen in Doubt, Make BeliefWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Things Fall ApartWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWherever You Go, There You AreWhy Can't I Change?Why Is It Always About You?Why Smart Executives FailWorried All the TimeWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting as a Sacred PathWriting in FlowWriting to HealYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!Yoga 4 TeensYoga as MedicineYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for the Young at HeartYoga on DemandYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYou Are Not AloneYou Are Not Your IllnessYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Speaks Your MindYour Brain on FoodYour Child, Bully or Victim?Zen Sex
Written in a style accessible to the general reader, this volume is a good primer for those wishing to learn how effective learning via practical mentoring can be so much more rewarding to students, than standard 'talk and chalk' teaching practice. Rather than aiding the reader towards 'unlocking up their own genius', however, we are perhaps being informed instead of the ways in which one might help one's own students to do so. For the current reviewer, there is much to be gained from this book with regards shifting one's affective teaching style, methodology and effective pedagogical practice towards mentoring in determining student learning outcome (of which I am an adherent myself), but I remain skeptical of (and indeed rather puzzled by) Janik's premises and rationale for the methodology being proposed. For example, although I am readily convinced that mentoring by demonstration (via shared voyages of curiosity and discovery) with one's students are likely to be less traumatic than the mere rote-learning of content and method, I am not sure that 'standard teaching practice' is really a trauma comparable to that of one's birth or instances of child sexual abuse in the way the Janik suggests in this book. Overtly Freudian, and keen to suggest that failing intellects may become so as a result of the repression (or suppression ?) of their owner's memorial and thought processes during 'traumatic learning' in the classroom (!), the logic of Janik's argument here is not clearly operationalized within the examples he cites in his defense. In this sense, it is the current reviewer's opinion that the author is at best correct with respect to the case for mentoring (and its likelihood of success for potential genius students), but is perhaps correct for quite different (and unstated) reasons. I would also have preferred a different structure to have been used to introduce what is otherwise useful and informative content.
Sections concerned with the history of learning theories (from the ancient Greeks, through Darwin to behaviorism and the new cognitive revolution), the evolution of the nervous system, and brain imaging techniques are very valuable, and are made easily accessible to the lay reader in simple language. And although I wholly agree that the neurobiology of learning and memory (as we currently understand them) are greatly facilitated by the volitional, active engagement of self-motivated students who choose their mentors and role-models wisely, I am not convinced that one's 'cognitive awakening' will only occur when one is 'free of teachers' (p.47). For the same reason, I am unwilling to believe that the lack of post-natal memory or metacognition is the result of one's 'birth trauma' (although early childhood amnesia admittedly remains an as yet unsolved enigma, I think it more likely the result of inadequately networked pre-frontal cortical substrate). Several other of my concerns include the need for improved referencing of the older literature (many early quotes do not match the cited references, or are entirely missing), and there are occasional errors of fact (e.g., Aristotle was not a student of Plato [p.3], but maybe that was intentional ?). In concluding, Janik's '7 Natural Laws of Transformative Learning' are both useful and acceptable tenets for future empirical study, but to date, Janik's own data and rationale (at least as presented in this book) remain unconvincing. The final chapter refers to case-study 'proof-of-concept' data (and author-based websites for the reader to access), but little is shared here as to exactly 'how' one might go about operationalizing Janik's preferred mentoring approach.
Aside from my concerns for the particular arguments put forward in this book, I must recommend its inclusion on the reading list of any teachers and instructors wishing to explore the power of good mentoring, and its potential for enhancing the intellects of those willing to afford the luxury of such intimacy, time, and energy that is required for such potentially rewarding voyages of discovery.
© 2007 Anthony Dickinson
Dr. Tony Dickinson, PIC Academy (Asia), Hong Kong
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