Cover image for The students are watching : schools and the moral contract
The students are watching : schools and the moral contract
Sizer, Theodore R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Beacon Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 133 pages ; 23 cm
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Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
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LC311 .S548 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
LC311 .S548 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Students learn not just from their classe but from their school's routines and rituals, especially about matters of character, Theodore and Nancy Sizer insist in this groundbreaking book. They convince us once again of what we may have forgotten: We need to create schools that constantly demonstrate a belief in their students. In such schools, children will not only meet important academic goals, but also acquire good intellectual habits and develop their own moral agency. Only then will students go on to make wise and principled decisions--even when their teachers are no longer watching.

Author Notes

American educator Theodore Sizer was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and was educated at Yale and Harvard universities. He has served as headmaster of Phillips Academy, dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard, and is currently professor of education and chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools at Brown University. For over 25 years, Sizer has been one of the leading critics of American education in the United States, endorsing structural and curricular reform in order to improve the public schools. In addition to being the author of numerous books, he also has written for a number of journals, including Saturday Review and Psychology Today.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Teachers play a vital role in shaping the morality of young people, contends Ted Sizer (Horace's School, etc.), founder of the Coalition of Essential Schools, and co-principal with his wife, Nancy Sizer (Making Decisions), of the Francis W. Parker Charter School in Ayer, Mass. In their first endeavor as co-writers, the Sizers maintain that teachers model ways to approach knotty problems and, because they have emotional distance from students, can help them keep their thinking balanced in difficult situations. Acknowledging that some people are concerned by the notion that educators have the right to shape students' minds, they assert that high schools have long had three core tasks: to prepare young people for the world of work, to prepare them to think deeply and in an informed way and to help them become decent human beings. Yet, though schools exist for the benefit of children and adolescents, the Sizers point out that the students are often seen as the school's "clients," as its powerless peopleÄthough the authors believe that is a costly, patronizing pretense. Instead, the Sizers call for adults to put stock in the suggestions of children, since they watch and listen to adults all the time and have learned more than we realize. Clearly sympathetic to educators, the Sizers recognize that "serious teaching does not carry an eight-to-four expectation whatever any contract says." For educators and parents concerned about raising thoughtful citizens, this slim book offers the surprisingly weighty insight that if we wish to shape our children's valuesÄhow as a matter of habit they treat others and how self-aware they areÄwe must first look into the mirror. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved