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The Art of Teaching

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  112 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The noted classicist presents his educational methodology, within the context of history, from the Sophists to modern teaching.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 13th 1989 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1950)
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Ashley Cobb
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Feb 06, 2010 max rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Over the years I have met people who were students of Gilbert Highet when he was a classics professor at Columbia. He was by all accounts a gentleman of the old school, a genteel and erudite scholar whose lectures on Vergil's Aeneid and many other classical works were widely appreciated. You get a sense as you read this book of just what an amazing teacher he must have been.

Highet's writing is lucid, engaging, and straightforward. The flow is enlivened by many personal anecdotes. He first discus
Roger Lakins
Aug 12, 2012 Roger Lakins rated it it was amazing
This book was first published over sixty years ago. It still stands as a classic mind opener to anyone who is truly interested in becoming a teacher or in improving his or her skills as an educator. If you are only interested in band wagons and believe that no real learning has taken place before your appearance on the scene, this book will be a disappointment. Highet takes an analytical and historical approach to the greatest of teachers and their methods. In doing so, he provides one of the fi ...more
Oct 16, 2009 Ebadur rated it it was amazing
A bit old fashioned in some things, but otherwise absolutely lovely especially the first three chapters - introduction, the teacher and the teacher's methods. OK chapter 4 on the Great teachers and their pupils was pretty awesome as well. chapter 5 is entitled 'teaching in everyday life'. This book was written in 1950 by a Columbia University professor. I found it in a used book store near Telegraph in Berkeley in the summer of 2008 after teaching a lesson in an Arabic language summer intensive ...more
Ashley Cobb
Jul 08, 2015 Ashley Cobb rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Overall this was a pretty good book and had some good nuggets of wisdom to offer the reader. It was written in the 1950's and it shows. A modern reader at first pass may determine that this book is dated "white man worship" filled with sexist language an imagery. I don't think that is necessarily the case. The author's referring to most teachers (especially in higher education) and most students (again especially in higher education) as male is more of a reflection of his time rather than any mi ...more
David Withun
May 29, 2013 David Withun rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
This book is one of the best books on teaching that I have yet read. Highet's style is engaging and charming. As he meanders his way through various references to the Classics, personal anecdotes, and humorous stories to argue and elucidate each of his points, the reader is drawn in. It is difficult to put this book down.

Highet lays out in detail, with examples, and with practical guidance just what it takes to be a teacher; in short: an expert with a passion for both his subject and his student
May 07, 2015 Jamal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering my career as a teacher I had different expectations. The book, however, took teaching into another level that's so broad. The book is filled with other people's experiences in the realm of teaching.
Feb 18, 2010 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing
Thus far my favorite book from the Education Practicum.

Addendum: one of my favorite books from almost 3 years at NSA :) Now on a mission to read everything this man ever wrote.
Jul 12, 2012 Frances rated it it was amazing
My friend Andy recommended this book after my year of service with Americorps...I loved it and still use today as a reference and to refresh my reasons for wanting to teach!
Oct 28, 2009 Erik marked it as to-read
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Chapter 3, as one of six books on learning and teaching.
Richard Munro
Jun 03, 2010 Richard Munro rated it it was amazing
A classic always worth re-reading
Apr 10, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Read most of this and flipped through rest. Its a bit dated, 1955, but presents a very down-to-earth personal account of teaching. It contains many great anecdotes of experience, and lots of advice for teaching. There is also a chapter on historical teachers and their students (Socrates-Plato, Plato-Aristotle, Aristotle-Alexander, Jesus, etc), which are great. A few pages on teaching in the Renaissance was also very interesting.

Some points to highlight:
-get to know your students on an individual
"There is no possible way to educate people except by calm reasoning"


I have always thought that teaching is like ginger; when you taste it for the first time, you feel shocked and feel that it is a very wierd tast that nature presents. By the time, you get used to it then you start loving it and feel that it is tasty. However, you can not drink much of it because it might hurt your kidnee. So, be careful dealing with GINGER (Teaching).

The Art of Teaching

Ashleigh Pollard
Nov 24, 2013 Ashleigh Pollard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: informational
The Art of Teaching by Gilbert Highet is a chapter book about what makes a great teacher. Highet talks about how important it is for teachers to present what they teach in an engaging manner. Highet takes an artistic approach to his philosophy of teaching by presenting a variety of approaches that should be used in the classroom in order to get the best out of each student. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone regardless if they are an aspiring teacher or not. The l ...more
Meldi Arkinstall
Feb 12, 2014 Meldi Arkinstall rated it it was amazing
An amazingly informative book showing all kinds of teachers through the ages and their different teaching styles.
Nov 19, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
Great examination of the conditions and methods of teaching, along with some meditations on great teachers from history. Comparable to the seminal Seven Laws in its analysis and insight, though it's also a little more concrete and human (teachers ought to have a good sense of humor, Highet points out).
Jan 26, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it
Although older, this book had some great insights into teaching and the processes in which ideas are expressed, understood, and retained. There was also an interesting section highlighting great teachers(Christ, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, etc.), their methods, and their pupils.
John Hammond
Apr 23, 2012 John Hammond rated it it was ok
The 'meh' of teaching. The first couple chapters had some enjoyable nuggets which I enjoyed thinking about. But as I read on I was left with the impression that the rest of the book is a collection of loosely related ramblings of a cranky old man.
Courtney Clark
Jan 07, 2015 Courtney Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschooling, 2014
So much of this book doesn't relate to homeschooling, which is a rather different beast than teaching. But what DID relate was rich with wisdom. It wasn't an exciting read, but it was a very worthwhile one.
Not teacher gift basket fodder. A very rewarding read, informative, sometimes even funny. As another reviewer said, it's definitely worth re-reading. Complex, but not overly so. Makes me want to read some Aristotle.
Nov 08, 2008 jacky rated it liked it
Shelves: education, read-parts
I believe I used parts of this book for a research project I did as a freshmen in high school. My bibliography has a publication date of 1950 though.
Mark Feltskog
Aug 26, 2009 Mark Feltskog rated it it was amazing
First rate, and highly recommended analysis of how one masters the "art" of teaching.
Apr 09, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2009
dated in place , but very good
Patricia  Reynolds
Aug 25, 2015 Patricia Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Renews your faith in the process..
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Critic and classical scholar, Gilbert Highet was born in Scotland, educated at Oxford, and taught at Oxford and Columbia for forty years. Married to novelist Helen MacInnes. Best known for teaching in the humanities in the UK and USA.
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