Book Review: “Tell Me More”

“Tell Me More”: Listening to Learners Explain
Edited by Eleanor Duckworth
Teachers College Press 200 pp.
© 2001


Eleanor Duckworth does it again! This is a book of Duckworth’s inquiry/discovery model of learning in action. In each of the first seven chapters a different teacher-researcher tells a story of their “teaching” using this model. The students studied vary from elementary through medical school, from poor minority students to the most privileged. The subject matter vary from math to literature to neonates. In each, the reader is captivated, following the reasoning and learning that is going on. It is a fascinating journey that explores how all of us develop and explore ideas if given the time and encouragement. These stories show us the complexity of deep learning, as well as a respect for the capacity for all learners to make sense of the world for themselves. Duckworth’s essay on exploring sinking and floating with teachers was for me the strongest. Schneier’s exploration of a Lucille Clifton poem with minority “low-achieving” high school students is almost equally fascinating. Knox’s essay on working with a medical student exploring the development of newborns shows us how this extends through the full range of learners, and that this way of thinking about teaching and learning is as needed in the highest most elite levels of education as in the most primary and most disadvantaged. The latter setting is explored by Quintero in a Puerto Rican elementary school in a unit on mapping. Duckworth and Schneier each sum up the collection with a look at what are some of the implications for research about teaching, as well as for teaching itself. This is a book that keeps you reading from cover to cover.

© 2005 Nicholas Meier

Other praise for this book“This book is a singular contribution on teaching and learning.”
–James A. Banks, University of Washington, Seattle“Duckworth has given us case studies of ‘mid-wife’ teaching at its very best.”
–Mary Field Belenky, co-author of Women’s Ways of Knowing

“Duckworth’s book is a fascinating and pioneering account of people working together over many weeks, struggling to invent ideas.”
–Howard E. Gruber, Teachers College, Columbia University

“These essays, in their concrete dailyness, give us a vision of what’s possible, some crafterly advice about how to proceed, and the courage to try.”
–Deborah Meier, [former] Principal, Mission Hill Elementary School, Boston

“This book by teachers…specifies a process of mutual inquiry and discovery that begins with a real problem in all its complexity and emphasized close observation and listening to the development of ideas.”
–Elliot G. Mischler, Harvard medical School

“This compelling collection vividly portrays Eleanor Duckworth’s notion of ‘the having of wonderful ideas,’ an educational practice, as you will see, typified by passionate teachers and engaged students, together collaborating in the ‘collective creation of knowledge.”
–William F. Pinar, Louisiana State University

“This book provides a close-up view of a foundational Freirian principal of learners constructing their own knowledge based on prior experience, new information, and meaningful dialogue with others.”
–Margo Okazawa-Rey, San Francisco State University

“Spend time with Eleanor Duckworth and you will become a better educator. Her life’s work has been studying the habits of engaged learners.”
–Ira Shor, city University of new York Graduate School

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s