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The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning
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The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Eleanor Duckworth's ideas contained in these timeless essays are more important than ever to the public discourse on education. While touching on many subjects--from science, math, and poetry to learning, teaching, thinking, evaluation, and teacher education--each of these essays supports the author's deeply felt belief that "the having of wonderful ideas is the essence of ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published November 24th 2006 by Teachers College Press (first published 1987)
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Dan DeMaioNewton
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life, career, and beliefs. Clearly spelled out, this book demonstrates the need for learning over teaching and changed my views on how to really teach well.
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. I loved the book and more than it I loved the author, Eleanor Duckworth. She put a wide smile on my face through each page of the book. I loved her passion about teaching and learning and the way she expressed the ideas.The book was so eye opener for me to new ideas and ways of learning that I am so eager to apply with kids and teachers. It wasn't an easy read and I couldn't grasp all the ideas written, so I have to spend time re-read the book an ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I want to adopt Duckworth's ideas into my teaching style. A great read for any teacher, teacher-in-training.
John Hilton
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book has really shaped my views on learning and teaching. Fabulous!
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
An engaging collection of essays about, well, teaching and learning. Duckworth's writing is generally clear, and certainly thought-provoking. Here are some thoughts that were provoked:

- There are many skills involved in not knowing something, which are critical to learning and also tremendously undervalued by The System. This makes me think about how interviews at tech companies fall into this trap of caring more about what people know than about how people deal with not knowing.
- It's important
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Having of Wonderful Ideas offers some excellent insights into what teaching can (and should) be. Encouraging students to explore their own ideas and insights is the foundation of good teaching--the more we can allow our students to explore knowledge on their and with guidance, the more successful they will be. I found the text a little dry and academic at times, but overall it's a worthy text for all educators to read. I found myself nodding in agreement with Duckworth on numerous occasions, ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Eleanor Duckworth's essay (and the work of Piaget and Vygotsky about whom she is, in part, writing) formed my entire professional world view. I think of the key concepts all the time in terms of not just child and adult but also my own learning and development. I revisit this essay frequently.

I confess to neglecting the other content most of the time. But I highly recommend this essay and book.

Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is in my top three books on teaching. Recently reissued, this is a magnificent inspiring book about how children (people) learn. The writing is engaging and insightful. This is a series of essays on discovery learning in science. One of those books that once you pick up, you won’t want to put down!
Tashi Lhamo
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for teachers.
Emily Freeman
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I finally finished this book! It took forever - it's a very academic book, and the early essays were difficult for me to get through without losing concentration. But, I appreciated it partly because of it's density - so many passages underlined and annotated for me to go back and think about again. Often, those annotated passages say much the same thing, in different ways. I didn't find that irritating, though. I felt like it grounded me and got through to me in a way that stuck eventually. In ...more
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(There's a third edition that includes a new intro and a chapter on the importance of teaching critical thinking about peace and social justice...should get my hands on that.)

Duckworth studied under educational theorist Jean Piaget, and here she does an excellent job of both explaining his ideas and furthering them into her own research and work with teacher education. Knowledge constructed by you in your own time in your own way is much more deeply understood and becomes a part of you moreso th
Shifting Phases
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Some examples of classroom dialogue using Piagetian techniques, but mostly interpretation and philosophy. Unfortunately, it is exactly what I'm not looking for. from p. 1: "...I consider it the essence of pedagogy to give Kevin the occasion to have his wonderful ideas and to let him feel good about himself for having them."

Um, yes. I don't need to be convinced of this. Consequently, reading extended narratives about how people came to see the relevance of Piaget was not helpful to me. As a start
Gina Weibel
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite book from the education side of my grad school experience. The essays clearly put into words exactly what is going on inside the mind of a child as learning unfolds. With this fresh perspective on the process, I approach educating from a better angle.

Any parent and/or educator can benefit from reading and rereading this book every few years, as we strive to guide our children to "the having of wonderful ideas."
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't read the whole thing, but found the collection quite engaging. There was a lovely essay about using this method (of allowing students to interact with the material and draw their own conclusions) in medical education in the NICU, and another one I continue to think about, related to teachers in a class experimenting with weight and density -- and struggling to formulate what they were seeing, and why, even though they "knew" the standard definitions and concepts.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very academic in nature and assumes I've read a bunch of Piaget that I've certainly not read, but I gave it four stars for all the interesting ideas I found in it. Now, applying those ideas...
Jan 29, 2011 added it
Started off strong, but then left me wanting for a more complete and thorough coverage of the topic. Needed more meat around the skeleton of her good thoughts.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
"...helping children to come honestly to terms with their own ideas is not difficult to do....The only difficulty is that teachers are rarely encouraged to do that." Word.
John Hilton
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! Truly inspirational insights on what it means to learn and teach
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
every single person who works in education should read this book.
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“Teachers are often, and understandably, impatient for their students to develop clear and adequate ideas. But putting ideas in relation to each other isn't a simple job. It's confusing and this confusion does take time. All of us need time for our confusion if we are to build the breadth and depth that give significance to our knowledge.” 4 likes
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