The Educated Mind

The Educated Mind:

How Cognitive Tools Shape Our Understanding


I'll begin with some bits from reviews. Below this section of barely licensed egomania, you can explore discussion of the book, read its Introduction, download bits and pieces, etc.

"Kieran Egan has one of the most original, penetrating, and capacious minds in education today. This book provides the best introduction to his important body of work."
Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind, Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice, etc. (Book cover.)

"Kieran Egan writes with clarity and wit on one of the most crucial issues of our time. The school train, Egan warns us, is lost in a confusion of philosophical dead-end tracks: we need new directions, new signs and signals to help us rethink the journey. In Egan's imaginative portrayal of 'the development of understanding,' he gives us an entirely new map, for immediate use. If we begin by reinventing the teacher as storyteller and recognizing the children as the intuitive poets and dramatists they are, we will be ready to join Egan in his extraordinary vision of sensible schooling available to all."
Vivian Paley, author of Boys and Girls: Superheroes in the Doll Corner, Kwanzaa & Me: A Teacher's Stopry, etc. (Book cover.)

"A new theory of education that is (believe it or not) useful. Kieran Egan's new book, "The Educated Mind," contains a fascinating and provocative study of cultural and linguistic history, and of how various kinds of understanding that can be distinguished in that history are recapitulated in the developing minds of children. It also spells out a new theory of education . . . . "The Educated Mind" is something very new and different.
C.J. Driver. The New York Times Book Review Sun. 7th. Sept. 1997.

"This is really a very exciting book. Egan manages to do what most writers on education say they are trying to do, but rarely succeed, in that it is a genuinely creative blend of theory and practice. . . . . Many writers on education argue for the importance of imagination in education, but few manage to display its importance with the panache which one finds here. Readers who feel jaded by the output of recent educational thinkers will be refreshed by this book."

Oliver Leaman, Liverpool John Moores University, in the British NATFHE journal The Lecturer, Dec. 1997.

A radical remedy for our children's future. "[Egan's] new book . . . not only pinpoints what he thinks are the ills besetting our approach to education, but offers a radical new prescription for its improved health--nothing less than a reconception of what we mean by education . . . . Egan argues his case with such energy, wit and conviction, and it is an argument so spectacular in its simplicity and its promise, that you close its pages in full agreement with his suggestion that it might indeed be a better bet than any other theory of education currently around. Why on earth (you find yourself asking) hasn't it been done this way before?"
Max Wyman The Vancouver Sun Saturday Review Nov. 15th. 1997.

"Egan . . . argues here that the incompatibilities of three inherited significant educational ideas--"socialization," "Plato and the truth about reality," and "Rousseau and nature's guidance"--have brought about clashes at every level of the educational process, from teaching methods to curriculum decisions . . . . His theory seems practical as well as innovative in that he concludes his work with timely proposals for changes and applications in teaching and curriculum. Extremely clear and readable, this work provides a compelling vision for today's uncertain educational system."
Samuel T. Huang The Library Review March 1st. 1997.

"Egan proposes a radical change of approach for the whole process of education . . . . There is much in this book to interest and excite those who discuss, research or deliver education."
Ann Fullik. The New Scientist June 28th. 1997.


In "The Educated Mind" I included my WWW Home Page URL, along with an invitation to consider the book not as an authoritative text but merely as a conversation-starter about the issues it deals with. I indicated that I would provide a means for people to make comments, ask questions, take the discussion further and/or hurl insults. If you would like to make a comment, ask a question, raise a related issue or whatever, please click on the "Feedback" link below. I will take comments, questions, etc., perhaps adding my responses where appropriate, and include them in the "discussion" section. Clicking on "Discussion" will take you to the comments received so far.

The first discussion file is now (Oct/97) approaching its limit, so I will create a new file of more recent discussions as well. Later (Jan/99)--I have added some further discussion, but I think there is now more in these files than any sane person will want to read, so I will not be adding anything further to them.


Past discussion

More recent discussion

Even more recent discussion



You can read the Introduction to The Educated Mind by clicking below.



I mentioned in the book that I had cut out a chapter as somewhat tangential to the main argument. I have included it here, in three parts.

The missing Chapter: Part One

The missing Chapter: Part Two

The missing Chapter: Part Three


Chapter six is made up of a series of questions and answers about various issues the book raises. The problem with this format is that one can scribble on interminably. I did. On the good advice of reviews and editors I cut out at least a third of the questions and answers because they addressed issues that might have been of interest only to a few people, or that they overlapped with others already discussed. I will include the excised pieces here in case they may be of interest to some people.

The excised questions


In the Implications for Teaching chapter, I mentioned that I would include compact versions of the three planning frameworks on my homepage. If you would like to see them (you could also download them) please click here:

The planning frameworks



No doubt you are less interested in reviews of the book than I am, but, in case you'd be interested in seeing published reviews, I have included those I have come across here.


Further Reviews


The Dedicatees

If, for some bizarre reason, you would like to buy a copy of this book, you may do so from:


Or, of course, from Amazon Books



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