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Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living
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Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  135 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The internationally acclaimed children’s book writer and educator offers her insights into the learning process, language education, and the pleasure, growth, and power that reading and writing can bring.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 7th 1993 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1993)
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Jul 23, 2011 Ken rated it really liked it
Though copyrighted in 1993, this book seems older still in its championing of whole language instruction, etc. Never the less, many of the precepts still hold true. Australian Mem Fox, also a children's book author, champions many basic truths about teaching (self-evident, one hopes): that teachers be constant readers and constant writers themselves; that they be able to "speak and write correctly"; that they "create a community of learners"; that they toss "unreal language activities" (read: ba ...more
Danny Young
Oct 17, 2012 Danny Young rated it it was amazing
I first read this book as an undergraduate, and now that I'm teaching, I often revisit it when I need a pep-talk.

The first few chapters, anyway, should be circulated to literacy teachers at all levels. It's basically a book of theoretical essays with a single guiding idea: the most important thing about words is how they are shared with other people.

Instruction should be designed accordingly.

Fox does not offer lessons or resources, but the essays are adorned with anecdotes that at least give t
Jane Whittlingham
Feb 16, 2015 Jane Whittlingham rated it did not like it
Mem Fox is a great writer..of fiction books for children!
Please don't be fooled by her ideas on how children learn to read. She is wrong. A very small minority of children work out how to read on their own. All the best evidence based research categorically states that to be a successful reader one needs explicit instruction on how our alphabetic code works! This is not to say that they should be deprived of wonderful literature..far from it! Just don't expect them to be able to read it before
Ned Ryerson
Jul 29, 2008 Ned Ryerson rated it really liked it
Read this for a college class whose goal was to teach me to teach writing. I've always been of the mind that you can't teach writing--you either got it, or you don't. To a certain extent, this book changed my mind on that. Now, talent is talent, whatever the field. And there's no denying that. But this book focuses much more on teaching kids to love language and to embrace the many different roles in can play in your life. It addresses the very basics of learning to write (for instance, learning ...more
Rachel Terry
Sep 28, 2010 Rachel Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: writing, teaching
I thoroughly enjoyed the first couple of chapters of this book. Mem Fox can be hilarious, and she has a wonderful sense of rhythm in her writing. Her transcribed notes to the janitor and milkman and to her students are hilarious, and you wish that Mem Fox lived next door so you could write notes back and forth about the height and maintenance of your common shrubbery.

But when the subtitle states that the book includes "passionate opinions," it's not kidding. After reading the last half of the bo
Apr 04, 2008 Tawny rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tawny by: Professor Elizabeth Wahlquist
Shelves: literacy
Favorite lines:
1. "Giving unreal writing activities to our students is about as useful as giving occupational therapy for stroke victims to people who are in perfect health."
2. "My writing, I'm realizing, nearly always has the socially interactive purpose of either creating relationships or ensuring that established relationships continue."
3. "The view that writing might be fun, or amusing, or relaxing is not, I imagine, widely held, and we teachers must be to blame for that."
4. "Literature prov
Dec 27, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it
I relearned that to get kids to love books and want to read, as teachers we have to find time for them to read and to be excited about what we read! Notice how we don't have our "good read" friends give us a book report or have them answer 5 comprehension questions after they finish a book. There's something to that.
Emily Mellow
Jul 03, 2014 Emily Mellow rated it really liked it
This book has me reevaluating my homeschooling style, and it's always good to shake things up. Several times throughout the book, though, I felt it was a big advertisement for her other books, as she was always quoting her own literature. She is maybe a bit too full of herself as a writer. However, as a teacher of writing, I'm sure she's among the best!
Apr 17, 2009 Carrie rated it liked it
This one was for the professional book club at school. I really enjoyed it-even though it was written in 1993! There are still so many valid points that she makes and she's quite entertaining at times.
Nov 03, 2008 Whitney rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
This offered me a whole new perspective with which to approach writing and reading in the classroom- totally non-traditional and anti-worksheet. There are many things in here that are useful, and Mem Fox is very funny and has some great stories!
Apr 02, 2009 JG rated it it was amazing
Mem Fox at her honest, direct best with gems for those of us teaching young ones or struggling to write for young readers.
Oct 19, 2010 Teresa added it
One of my favorite books about reading and learning. Mem Fox is straight-forward as well as delightful.
Oct 03, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: teacher-books
Mem Fox's brilliant reflections on writing and reading as it ought to be done. I am especially fond of Chapter 1, "Notes from the Battlefield: Toward a Theory of Why People Write."
Dec 04, 2008 Lisa added it
Loved it. Inspires me to write.
May 18, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
one of my all time favorite teaching books.
Apr 10, 2009 Sheryl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teacher-books
Love, love, love Mem Fox. Wish she cuold have been my teacher.
Fox gets repetitive at times but she is indeed passionate as the title says and she gave me a lot to think about.
Nov 07, 2011 Guisela rated it it was amazing
I think I'm going to read again :)
Aug 08, 2011 Tammy added it
Several of the sections gets you thinking about putting the passion back into your teaching. Gotta love her children's books.
Kelly Massry
May 06, 2012 Kelly Massry rated it really liked it
Makes me want to go out and buy all of Mem Fox's books for children!
Brad rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2012
Katrina rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2012
Nikki VE-T
Nikki VE-T rated it liked it
Jul 26, 2007
Ani rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2009
Kimberli Lengning
Kimberli Lengning rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2015
Mary rated it it was amazing
Oct 31, 2015
Heather rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2008
Tracey Brown
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Jan 03, 2016
Holly rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2008
Laurie Miller
Laurie Miller rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2015
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Mem Fox was born in Australia, grew up in Africa, studied drama in England, and returned to Adelaide, Australia in 1970, where she has lived with her husband, Malcolm, and daughter Chloë, happily ever after.

Mem Fox is Australia’s most highly regarded picture-book author. Her first book, Possum Magic, is the best selling children’s book ever in Australia, with sales of over three million. And in th
More about Mem Fox...

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“As adults we choose our own reading material. Depending on our moods and needs we might read the newspaper, a blockbuster novel, an academic article, a women's magazine, a comic, a children's book, or the latest book that just about everyone is reading. No one chastises us for our choice. No one says, 'That's too short for you to read.' No one says, 'That's too easy for you, put it back.' No one says 'You couldn't read that if you tried -- it's much too difficult.'

Yet if we take a peek into classrooms, libraries, and bookshops we will notice that children's choices are often mocked, censured, and denied as valid by idiotic, interfering teachers, librarians, and parents. Choice is a personal matter that changes with experience, changes with mood, and changes with need. We should let it be.”
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