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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New publications

Born to Buy: the Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture

Juliet B Schor
Scribner (Simon & Schuster), September 2004
Written in the USA, the book argues that an increasing focus on consumerism over recent years has reshaped the ‘core activities of childhood’ within a world that places ‘a lower priority on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them how to consume’. The book begins with an overview of the average child in the USA, who can identify 200 brands on entrance to school and spends twice as much time shopping as reading. Current marketing techniques used to target children in the USA are discussed. The author provides examples of how corporate-sponsored curriculum materials can promote poor practices or lack real educational value. In one example, students were required to compare the thickness of pasta sauce. Other techniques discussed are ‘peer to peer marketing’, where popular students are equipped with products and trained in promotion; and ‘advergaming’, where electronic games feature product placement. The book also considers how children are targeted over the Internet and television, within classrooms and within their broader communities. A survey is used to show that highly consumerist children have lower self-esteem and suffer increased anxiety, headaches, stomach aches and boredom; and links these behaviours to increasing rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, alcoholism and bulimia among youth. Guidelines for parents and teachers are offered throughout the book. An appendix includes a ‘Parent’s Bill of Rights’ with nine ‘legislative acts’ that could be incorporated into classroom learning to help students consider how they are affected by consumer culture. (Adapted from review by John Austin in Independent School Vol 65 No 2, Winter 2006 and the publisher's description.) See also The battle over commercialised schools in this edition of Curriculum Leadership Journal.

Subject Headings

United States of America (USA)
Social life and customs
Social classes
Social education

Vital Signs, Vibrant Society: Securing Australia's Economic and Social Wellbeing

Craig Emerson

The author sets out a fifty-year economic and social reform plan for Australia, with a focus on the education system. The plan aims to boost living standards while also meeting the needs of an ageing population. The author suggests that current education debates have 'become atrophied', and criticises the focus on the relative funding of private and public schools rather than their educational outcomes. A funding system based 'on need and regardless of school status' is proposed, with the aim of producing productive, flexible and skilled students to meet workforce needs. The reviewer points out that the book 'presents a social vision through the lens of a fairly narrow range of economic issues' and suggests that certain impending issues, such as environmental factors, are neglected. (Adapted from review by David Burchell in The Weekend Australian 15-16 April 2006 and publisher's description.)


Subject Headings

Education policy

Side by Side

Department of Education  and Training
New South Wales, May 2006
With its first edition released in May 2006, Side by Side is a New South Wales newspaper for public schools. The newspaper will be published twice each term and is intended to be funded through advertising revenue. The newspaper will feature new directions in teaching, policy developments in education and school stories from across the state. Public schools will be able to use the newspaper to inform their communities about successes, developments and relevant issues in state education. They may also wish to incorporate articles into school newsletters. (Adapted from message by Director General Andrew Cappie-Wood in Side by Side Issue 1, May 2006, p2.)

Subject Headings

School and community
Secondary education
Primary education
New South Wales (NSW)

In the Eyes of the Beholder: Critical Issues for Diversity in Gifted Education

D Boothe, J C Stanley
Prufrock Press,  2004
The book considers how gifted education can be tailored to cater for a diverse student population, and makes reference to students and schools in the USA. The author considers gifted education in the context of race, gender and socioeconomics, and the importance of recognising different talent areas, such as art. Separate sections explore cultural considerations, views from the core education community, and pertinent perspectives on the challenges of giftedness. In the first section of the book, the educational and social needs of diverse groups of students are considered, such as providing ESL students with the facility to use their own language alongside English at school. Chapter three analyses the development of students from Israel and China, as shown through the cultural aspects of their artwork. Chapter five focuses on the social and personal needs of gifted children who have recently immigrated, and outlines the stages of cultural shock, second language acquisition and potential first language loss. Chapter ten explores the factors impeding desegregation of gifted education, such as cultural bias and insensitive definitions of giftedness. The third section of the book considers how established practices, like Gardiner’s multiple intelligences, can be used to overcome cultural barriers in gifted education. Research on higher education preferences and SAT scores among diverse student groups is presented, along with an historical overview of national gifted education policy in the USA. (Adapted from review by Brenda Hoffman in Gifted Child Quarterly Vol 50 No 1, Winter 2006. See also the publisher’s description.)

Subject Headings

English as an additional language
Social life and customs
Socially disadvantaged
United States of America (USA)
Gifted children

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the most out of life with Attention Deficiency Disorder

Edward M Hallowell, John J  Ratey
Following on from an earlier book on Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADD), this edition outlines new understandings on the role of diet and exercise, recent drug therapies, procedures and tests, and definitions of the disorder. Aspects of the condition are discussed, along with their effect on learning styles, attention spans and personality. The book considers whether genetic inheritance is a factor in ADD, and makes links between ADD and other conditions. An adapted 12-step program for treatment is outlined, along with strategies to help sufferers utilise their talents and control the negative effects of the disorder. Suggestions for those who support sufferers are also outlined. (Adapted from the publisher’s description.)

Subject Headings

Behaviour management
Behavioural problems

Qualitative Inquiry in TESOL

Keith Richards
The book is written for TESOL teachers and researchers. The author outlines issues and points for novice researchers and those involved in small, individual projects, and offers in-depth accounts for advanced researchers and postgraduate students. The first part of the book outlines the nature, major traditions and paradigms of qualitative research. The second part outlines ways to develop data collection skills and describes data collection approaches. Practical aspects of undertaking a research project are covered in the third part of the book. The author uses personal anecdotes to highlight important points throughout the book. (Adapted from review by Lynda Yates in The Modern Language Journal, No 89 2005. See also the publisher’s description.)

Subject Headings

Education research
Language and languages
Languages other than English (LOTE)