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Teaching by Heart

In the book, Teaching by Heart (2001), Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld uses her 45 years of experience in early childhood education, as well as stories shared by other educators, as a way of trying to infuse the joy of learning back into those who teach. In Chenfeld's opinion, teaching has become a test-driven pressure-filled time-bomb where children are hounded to succeed beginning with 3 year olds and continuing on up through the rest of a child's educational experience. In the midst of the anxiety that adults have over whether or not their children are able to perform or exceed their grade level, the excitement and fun of learning and teaching has been lost (2001).

The 20 chapters included in the book are each separate essays, which have also appeared elsewhere in such journals as Educational Leadership and Phi Delta Kappan, that discuss different aspects and perspectives of teaching. For example, in the chapter entitled "Telling Time," Chenfeld recounts how one kindergarten teacher seemed to view her class dancing and singing to the "Banana Boat Song" as "killing time" before the end of class. Yet, Chenfeld, joining in with the children, saw this as another opportunity to teach and practice verbal skills, patterning, sequential learning, listening skills, rhythm, and small and gross motor skills (2001). In yet another chapter, "LetÆs Keep the 'L' Word," Chenfeld tells the story of one teacher, as an example of many, who goes out of her way to make sure her class has live chicks to view, even after the eggs in class don't hatch. As Chenfeld points out, this teacher, as well as many others, spend not only average of $400 out-of-pocket expenses on their children, but will also spend more time and effort than is strictly necessary, out of love for their profession and the children in their classrooms (2001). The book ends with a "Letter to Friends and Family," calling people to recapture the joy and excitement inherent in learn


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Teaching by Heart. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:38, May 28, 2020, from