Friday, September 26, 2008

Featured Book - "What's the Point of School?"

Guy Claxton
What's the Point of School? Rediscovering the Heart of Education
Oneworld, 2008, 370.1 CLA

With the opening of the RSA Academy in Tipton this September, the first school in the country to be designed and built around the principles of our Opening Minds curriculum, it's timely that the RSA is hosting a discussion of Guy Claxton's new book, What's the Point of School? Rediscovering the Heart of Education.

Claxton, a profressor in Education as well as fellow of the British Psychological Society, has long advocated learning styles similar to Opening Mind's competency-based teaching, arguing for the replacment of the traditional three-R's with a new set of four: resilience, resourcefulness, reflection, and relationships, and as co-director of Winchester University's Centre for Real-world Learning, he has worked to understand how people learn the skills to that they need to accomplish real-world tasks, from writing stories to resolving heated arguments.

Guy Claxton will be in discussion with educationalists Mike Gibbons, deputy director of The Innovation Unit and Dylan William on 2 October 2008, at 1pm, as part of our RSA Thursday strand. Follow this link to book your place, and email the RSA Library to borrow a copy of What's the Point of School? and other Claxton publications.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Open House London 2008

Open House
Open House London: Architecture Up Close
Open House Press, 2008, REF 720 OPE

On Sunday 21st September, the doors of 8 John Adam Street will be opened up to the public as the RSA once again takes part in the annual London Open House weekend.

Open House is an architecture education organisation that runs a public programme of events which aims to raise the standard of London’s built environment and encourage people to experience and engage with good design. The premier event on their calendar, the annual London Open House weekend is London’s largest architectural ‘exhibition’ and gives everyone the opportunity to visit over 700 buildings old and new across London – many of which are normally closed to the public.

For London Open House, not only will you be able to tour the Adam brothers- designed properties of their Adelphi Development that the RSA now inhabits, including a pub, some wine cellars and an underground street, but there will be a display of materials from our Archive, detailing this history of the Society; staff from our Projects department will be there to explain the work we do now; and our Fellowship team will be there to discuss how you can get involved in its future.

The full 70 page colour guide to the event can be purchase or downloaded from Open House’s shop, for £4.50 and £3.50 respectively. Alternatively, copies are available free of charge from participating London Borough libraries, or for RSA Fellows, from the RSA Library, and you can search their listings here.

The RSA House will be open from 12pm to 5pm on Sunday 21 September, with last entry at 4.30pm, no booking is required. All building taking part in London Open House can be viewed free of charge, however a significant number of them require advanced bookings.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

RSA Library Update - August 2008

What follows is a complete list of RSA library acquisitions for the month of August 2008. Fellows are welcome to e-mail the Library if they wish to borrow any of these items.

000s – Generalities

100s – Philosophy & Psychology

200s – Religion

Alister E. McGrath
The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine
SPCK, 2007, 211.8 MCG
World-renowned scientist Richard Dawkins writes in The God Delusion, “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.” Once an atheist himself, Alister McGrath gained a doctorate in molecular biophysics before going on to become a leading Christian theologian. He wonders how two people, who have reflected at length on substantially the same world, could possibly have come to such different conclusions about God, asking if faith is intellectual nonsense, if science and religion locked in a battle to the death and can the roots of Christianity be explained away scientifically?

300s – Social Sciences

Stephen Gundle
Glamour: A History
Oxford University Press, 2008, 306.4 GUN
Glamour is one of the most tantalizing and bewitching aspects of contemporary culture - but also one of the most elusive. The aura of celebrity, the style of the fashion world, the vanity of the rich and beautiful, and the publicity-driven rites of cafe society are all imbued with its irresistible magnetism. But what exactly is glamour? Where does it come from? How old is it? And can anyone quite capture its magic? Stephen Gundle answers all these questions and more in this first ever history of the phenomenon, from Paris in the tumultuous final decades of the eighteenth century through to Hollywood, New York, and Monte Carlo. Throughout, the book captures the excitement and sex appeal of glamour while exposing its mechanisms and exploring its sleazy and sometimes tragic underside. As Gundle shows, while glamour is exciting and magnetic, its promise is ultimately an illusion that can only ever be partially fulfilled.

Jennifer Worth
Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the1950s
Phoenix, 2008, 306.87439421 WOR
Jennifer Worth came from a sheltered background when she became a midwife in the Docklands in the 1950s. The conditions in which many women gave birth just half a century ago were horrifying, not only because of their grimly impoverished surroundings, but also because of what they were expected to endure. But while Jennifer witnessed brutality and tragedy, she also met with amazing kindness and understanding, tempered by a great deal of Cockney humour. She also earned the confidences of some whose lives were truly stranger, more poignant and more terrifying than could ever be recounted in fiction. Attached to an order of nuns who had been working in the slums since the 1870s, Jennifer tells the story not only of the women she treated, but also of the community of nuns (including one who was accused of stealing jewels from Hatton Garden) and the camaraderie of the midwives with whom she trained. Funny, disturbing and incredibly moving, Jennifer's stories bring to life the colourful world of the East End in the 1950s.

Diane Duncan
Teaching Children’s Literature
Routledge, 2008, 372.64 DUN
Drawing on a series of recently conducted classroom workshops and live interviews with the authors, this inspiring book examines five popular children's authors: Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Browne, Jacqueline Wilson and the genre of comic books. Teaching Children's Literature provides detailed literary knowledge about the chosen authors and genres alongside clear, structured guidelines and creative ideas to help teachers, student teachers and classroom assistants make some immensely popular children's books come alive in the classroom. This accessible and inspiring text for teachers, parents, student teachers and students of children's literature includes a variety of discussion, drama, writing and drawing activities, with ideas for Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning which can be used to plan a unit of work or series of interrelated lessons for pupils aged between seven and fourteen years. It provides detailed, literary knowledge about the authors, their works, language, plot and characterisation, including exclusive transcripts of interviews with three contemporary children's book authors, and shows teachers how pupils can be encouraged to become more critical and knowledgeable about screen, picture and comic narratives as well as written narratives. Teaching Children’s Literature has kindly been donated to the Library by Diane Duncan, a Fellow of the RSA.

Oliver Tickell
Kyoto2: How to Manage the Global Greenhouse
Zed, 2008, 363.738746 TIC
The Kyoto Protocol, the world's first tentative step towards avoiding the threat of climate change, has failed. We urgently need a new course of action. In Kyoto2, the writer, journalist and broadcaster Oliver Tickell puts forward a strikingly original new solution. Using a system of finite production rights for greenhouse gases, which would be traded by organisations on a global auction, Kyoto2 seeks to succeed where the original agreement failed. Regulated by an independent body, the funds could be poured back into healing the wounds inflicted by climate change. In his combination of idealism with realistic proposals, Tickell exposes the flaws in current approaches, and envisions a fairer and more effective system. Kyoto2 promises to banish the dejection of the post-Kyoto era, reviving hope that the cure for the crisis facing our planet is still achievable.

Carolyn Steel
Hungry City: How Food Shapes our Lives
Chatto & Windus, 2008, 363.8 STE
Cities were shaped by food and its demands, and to ignore this as we plan the urban future is to pervert the basis of our social existence - and to risk the future of the planet. Hungry City examines the way in which modern food production has damaged the balance of human existence. It reveals that we have yet to solve a centuries-old dilemma - one which holds the key to a host of 21st century ills, from obesity, social exclusion and poverty, to the destruction of the natural world. Carolyn Steel follows food on its journey - from the farms where it is grown, through the public and private spaces of the city and back to the land - showing how our environment is being manipulated by the dictates of modern food production, and explaining how we can change things for the better.

Charles Leadbeater
What’s Next? 21 Ideas for a 21st Century Learning
The Innovation Unit, 2008, 370 LEA
How can we build on the most racial innovations in today’s schools to create a new approach to learning fit for the century to come? Charles Leadbeater argues that the current approach to educational reform is running out of steam. Improvements in results have reached a plateau, and educational inequality remains stubbornly high. What’s Next? makes 21 recommendations to create an approach centred on children learning with, as well as from, teachers at schools that would feel smaller and offer more personalised learning. But just as important, Leadbeater’s vision of relationships for learning embraces the family, workplace and community as well as the school as centres for learning.

400s – Language

500s – Natural Sciences & Mathematics

600s – Technology (Applied Sciences)

700s – The Arts

Miles Wynn Cato
WelshArt, 2008, 757 CAT
William Parry was a familiar figure in the artistic community of late 18th century London. Most crucially, he was also well known to many of the major gentry families of north Wales, especially those with connections to the Williams Wynns. Yet his reputation fell into obscurity after his death and he has never before been the subject of in-depth academic study. Parry’s output as an artist appears to have been relatively small. Many of his paintings and drawings have been lost and the majority of those that have survived have been attributed to other important British artists of the period such as Wheatley, Opie and Wilson. A number of his most important surviving works have been re-identified in the course of researching this book and are published for the first time. Miles Wynn Cato read history at Cambridge and is the author of two other Welsh history books – Old Blood of Merioneth and A Perfect Patriarch.

800s – Literature

900s – Geography & History