Book Review: Beyond the Looking Glass, Self-Reflection and Evaluation Equals More Effective Teaching

Beyond the Looking Glass: Self-Reflection and Evaluation = More Effective TeachingBeyond the Looking Glass: Self-Reflection and Evaluation = More Effective Teaching by Susan Mandel Glazer

Beyond the Looking Glass by Susan Mandel Glazer is the professional development meeting for teachers that never takes place. Though teachers are often admonished to get their classes in order and reminded that if they had good classroom management skills, their students would perform better on standardized tests, the wisdom and practical how-to that might make that happen seldom follows.

Instead, in our data-driven culture, we are handed the standardized test results and told to determine who is likely to be proficient by the next test-taking session and to create more data-gathering instruments to mark our progress.

The children are seldom discussed unless it is as the numbers that represent them on the spreadsheet.

Beyond the Looking Glass fills the gap in information, restores a reasonable and holistic way to handle students as individuals, and provides strategies for motivating and directing students so that they feel invested in their own learning.

Glazer's book includes checklists that encourage teachers to reflect on the words they use and to consider the effect of those words. There are also checklists to help teachers determine what challenges might face individual students and suggests ways to help students over those hurdles. The text invites teachers to reflect on their personalities and patterns of behavior and vocabulary as well as on their students to improve the relationships in the classroom and thereby foster a safe, dynamic learning environment.

R. Buckminster Fuller once remarked, "There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." This is as true of teachers as it is of students. Glazer's book offers strategies for teachers to make the transformation in themselves that their students might make the change for themselves.

The book is available from the publisher here.

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  1. It seems like it must be difficult to be a teacher today, when the student teacher relation is so impersonalized.
    I love the caterpillar quote and I so agree, we often find so much beauty in the most unexpected places - or people. Or students.;)

  2. I agree, it's more and more difficult to be a teacher. at least in Europe I have the feeling that the teachers have been severely downgraded...

  3. interesting book, I remember how difficult teaching was...

  4. We have so many teacher friends that I'm really noticing all the problems going on there right now. The picketing is still going on in Madison.


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