Book Reviews – Recognized Journals

Global Education Review [2017]

Tobin, Kathleen A. (2017). Book Review – How to Explain Subject Matter While Teaching All Learners to Think, Read, and Write Critically. [Review of the book Preparation for Critical Instruction (2016) by Victor P. Maiorana]. Global Education Review, 4 (4).104 – 106.Global Education Review – Mercy College  ger.mercy.edu/index.php/ger/article/view/442/298

  • “In all, Preparation for Critical Instruction is thought provoking and particularly useful for instructors at secondary and post-secondary levels … It has become increasingly important to include critical instruction in the classroom and devise ways to assess critical thinking [and reading and writing] among students, so any assistance from experts is appreciated. [Reading] Maiorana’s… perspectives [and] work may well be a step in the right direction.”
  • “Maiorana argues convincingly…that the nation severely lacks preparation in critical instruction. [This means] the problem is even greater given the current weight assigned to the value of critical thinking [and reading and writing] in our schools [and colleges.]”
  • “… he makes two very important points [regarding the practice of critical instruction]… First, [school and college] instructors should acknowledge that it is natural for humans to think critically; this is not something alien or complicated that needs to be imposed or forced on students. … instructors should view their students as ready to think [critically] and acquire skills needed to foster this with relative ease. Second, critical instruction can be accomplished more effectively when it is subject-based…This takes critical instruction, …more freely beyond the limits of academic pedagogy and into the hands of teachers in an array of areas.
  • “…very importantly – Maiorana reminds us that thinking lies at the basis of all learning. It need not be detached from the essentials of reading, writing, listening, speaking, comprehension, or calculation” p. 104
  • “Mind grammar, says Maiorana, is the ‘innate, systematic, and patterned way that the human mind develops and encounters the world and all its subject matter (p. 5),’ and it provides the means to critically understand it. [This] simplifies the ways in which we … [can practice critical instruction] … in our teaching. Maiorana is correct [when he says] …that this kind of thinking is innate.  [This makes] the task of getting our students to think [and read and write critically] … much less daunting.”
  • “Chapters 7 and 8 of Preparation for Critical Instruction encourage teachers to revisit ways in which we approach the use of reading and writing—essential across the disciplines—by infusing critical comprehension and critical explanation…For example, written material should not be read passively and simply for information; rather, the reader should take intellectual [critical] charge of textual material (p. 89). Writing need not take a conventionally logical form that may be chronological, comparative, hierarchical, or taxonomic; [rather, it can] include an analysis of subject matter objectives and consequences.”

Notes
(1) Preparation for Critical Instruction – How to Explain Subject Matter While Teaching All Learners to Think, Read, and Write Critically (2016)is a comprehensive conceptual, declarative, and procedural update of and builds on the mind grammar-based mental foundation for engaging subject matter originally described in: Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum – Building the Analytical Classroom by Victor P. Maiorana (1992). See  J. Ruddiman review below.
(2) In turn, Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum – Building the Analytical Classroom Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum – Building the Analytical Classroom by Victor P. Maiorana (1992), is based conceptually on Chapter 17 – How to Study Creatively, in in Dr. Maiorana’ How to Learn and Study inCollege (Maiorana, V.P. 1980). See K. Smith review below. Chapter 17 contains the foundational idea for what is now called Critical Instruction Pedagogy. 

Journal of Reading [1993]

Ruddiman, J. (1993). Book Review – Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum – Building the Analytical Classroom by Victor P. Maiorana (1992). Journal of Reading, 36(7), 595-596.
http://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/dc8f3d4b-89d6-4fe0-a5ca-14fc76939909/downloads/1c7h3psud_993983.pdf

  • “At first glance, this book seems to be more of the same, but it isn’t.
  • Maiorana does have a new methodology to offer.” (p. 595) “Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum: Building The Analytical Classroom offers a valuable method to push critical thinking behaviors into all classrooms for all learners — teachers and students.” (p. 596)
  • “The clarity of Maiorana’s concept is apparent as the chapters unfold. This slim volume is very readable.” (p. 595)
  • “He [offers] new methodology to counteract the negative effects of older methods. Lecture is still, as he points out, the method most used even by those who teach students preparing to be teachers.” (p. 595)
  • “All information, whether new or not, would critically engage the learner — no need to lecture to provide background information first.” (p. 596)
  • ‘The case Maiorana builds in Chapter 1 will be applauded by advocates of critical thinking practices; they will find much is quotable in support of their cause.”
  • “For over 20 years, critical thinking has been the watchword in American education. In the 1970’s, content area reading was a concept promoted … to infuse higher order thinking skills into subject areas. Maiorana addresses this issue and others in an analysis of the history of educational methodologies and their limitations as he establishes the need for and the logic of using his [mind-grammar-based Critical Instruction]. (p. 595)

Note: Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum – Building the Analytical Classroom (1992) by Victor P. Maiorana, introduced conceptually what is now called mind grammar-based critical instruction for subject matter or simply, critical instruction; and it has been replaced by Dr. Maiorana’s Preparation for Critical Instruction – How to Explain Subject Matter While Teaching All Learners to Think, Read, and Write Critically (2016).

Journal of Reading [1981]

Smith, K. (1981). Book Review of How to Learn and Study in College (Maiorana, V.P. 1980). Journal of Reading, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Jan. 1981), pp. 360-361)

  • “How to Learn and Study in College by Victor Maiorana is an impressive text in most respects. In addition to the usual topics (study schedules, notetaking, etc.), there are chapters concerned with subjects like thinking logically and studying creatively…”
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/40031700?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

 

Editorial Reviews Made Available by Publisher

Fixing Instruction

 

Fixing Instruction Resolving Major Issues With a Core Body of Knowledge for Critical Instruction

 

[Maiorana, 2015; Published by Rowman & Littlefield]

Fixing Instruction is a must read for all prospective classroom teachers and educators. It is a valuable tool to critique present instructional practices and foster the development of a core foundation for critical instruction. The concepts defined in Fixing Instruction demonstrate a new paradigm for successful instruction to better prepare educators to meet the needs of students in the 21st century. The tenets of the book must be infused into present teaching practices.
I have just concluded 55 fulfilling years as an educator. My teaching expertise spans from elementary education to graduate level. As a seasoned teacher and teacher trainer, I can say with authority that this is the finest and most comprehensive attempt to prepare the new generation of teachers with a core body of knowledge necessary to meet the challenges and educational expectations of the future.
— Louis DeLuca, Ed.D

What excites me the most about Victor P. Maiorana’s book is that he recognizes and acts on the profession’s unfulfilled need for a core body of knowledge for instructional preparation and practice. Teacher educators and the students they prepare, principals, elementary through college faculty, administrators, and professional developers will all find much to learn and use here. The publication of Dr. Maiorana’s book represents a groundbreaking event for the teaching profession and all students.
— Sandra C. Hassan, retired teacher, principal, program director, and teacher educator

I was especially impressed with how Dr. Maiorana explained how doctors, engineers and lawyers are trained as opposed to teachers. He is right in saying that content should be taught last, and that learning how to explain the content should come first. I believe that his work will be extremely helpful to colleges who train teachers. It is very thorough, well planned, and logical.
— Dolores Edwards, High School and College English Teacher

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Preparation for Critical Instruction

 

[Maiorana, 2017; Pub. by R & L]

After more than 50,000 years…We now have one more voice in the universe that lights a few more fires in the dark. Teach Like the Mind Learns…is a very strong text for use in teacher preparation, professional development, and school and college classrooms…[it] flows from a foundation of conceptual… to declarative…to procedural knowledge…rich with depth for the new and seasoned teacher. [It uses] a domain-general framework that is reinforced with domain-specific examples, which is rarely done in pedagogy and/or andragogy. With his mind grammar for subject matter, Victor Maiorana creates a bridge between the learnable mind and the teachable mind.
– Arthur Conroy, Cognitive Scientist, US Intelligence Community, Adjunct Professor

Teach Like the Mind Learns… is AWAKENING…it causes the reader to recognize the “innate ability to reason critically” …REFRESHING…its “operational basis for critical instruction” allows us to begin to eliminate the numerous labels we now attach to our students… INSPIRING…by introducing CRITICAL LEARNING… Education need not be “unrealistically differentiated.” With Dr. Maiorana’s teachings, each student’s ability to think critically is systematically developed, enriched, and encouraged as he or she also learns to read and write critically. Such learning is the human’s lifelong quest.
– Sandra C. Hassan, retired teacher, principal, program director, and teacher trainer

Teach like the Mind Learns…brings the…epiphany that a good teacher will understand the language of the mind and how it embraces…subject matter…example classroom assignments…are fabulous…pilots the new teacher towards of greater understanding of the mind and how it naturally learns. The…profession now has a new discipline, one that addresses teaching and learning subject matter in the context of developing critical thinking, reading, and writing abilities.
– Dolores Edwards, High School and College English Teacher

Teach Like the Mind Learns…is another revolutionary text by Victor Maiorana. In creating a learning environment of such magnitude through the use of Mind Grammar, which is based on our innate and informal ability to think critically, students will ultimately have a greater development of critical language abilities… … will change the face of education in America…the critical thinking, reading, and writing strategies and techniques so eloquently described in this book will raise our profession to new heights…a true gift to…all students in their life-long journey of learning.
– Kate Smith, Secondary Special Education Teachertrainer

Teach Like the Mind Learns

Teach Like the Mind Learns
Instruct So Students Learn to Think,
Read, and Write Critically

 

[Maiorana, 2017; Pub. by R & L]

After more than 50,000 years…We now have one more voice in the universe that lights a few more fires in the dark. Teach Like the Mind Learns…is a very strong text for use in teacher preparation, professional development, and school and college classrooms…[it] flows from a foundation of conceptual… to declarative…to procedural knowledge…rich with depth for the new and seasoned teacher. [It uses] a domain-general framework that is reinforced with domain-specific examples, which is rarely done in pedagogy and/or andragogy. With his mind grammar for subject matter, Victor Maiorana creates a bridge between the learnable mind and the teachable mind.
– Arthur Conroy, Cognitive Scientist, US Intelligence Community, Adjunct Professor

Teach Like the Mind Learns… is AWAKENING…it causes the reader to recognize the “innate ability to reason critically” …REFRESHING…its “operational basis for critical instruction” allows us to begin to eliminate the numerous labels we now attach to our students… INSPIRING…by introducing CRITICAL LEARNING… Education need not be “unrealistically differentiated.” With Dr. Maiorana’s teachings, each student’s ability to think critically is systematically developed, enriched, and encouraged as he or she also learns to read and write critically. Such learning is the human’s lifelong quest.
– Sandra C. Hassan, retired teacher, principal, program director, and teacher trainer

Teach like the Mind Learns…brings the…epiphany that a good teacher will understand the language of the mind and how it embraces…subject matter…example classroom assignments…are fabulous…pilots the new teacher towards of greater understanding of the mind and how it naturally learns. The…profession now has a new discipline, one that addresses teaching and learning subject matter in the context of developing critical thinking, reading, and writing abilities.
– Dolores Edwards, High School and College English Teacher

Teach Like the Mind Learns…is another revolutionary text by Victor Maiorana. In creating a learning environment of such magnitude through the use of Mind Grammar, which is based on our innate and informal ability to think critically, students will ultimately have a greater development of critical language abilities… … will change the face of education in America…the critical thinking, reading, and writing strategies and techniques so eloquently described in this book will raise our profession to new heights…a true gift to…all students in their life-long journey of learning.
– Kate Smith, Secondary Special Education Teachertrainer