The Book of Learning and Forgetting / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/28/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.45
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 78%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (24) from $5.45   
  • New (6) from $28.12   
  • Used (18) from $5.45   


In this thought-provoking book, Frank Smith explains how schools and educational authorities systematically obstruct the powerful inherent learning abilities of children, creating handicaps that often persist through life. The author eloquently contrasts a false and fabricated "official theory" that learning is work (used to justify the external control of teacher's and students through excessive regulation and massive testing) with a correct but officially suppressed "classic view" that learning is a social process that can occur naturally and continually through collaborative activities. This book will be crucial reading in a time when national authorities continue to blame teachers and students for alleged failures in education. It will help educators and parents to combat sterile attitudes toward teaching and learning and prevent current practices from doing further harm.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807737507
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 474,672
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Table of Contents

I What's Going on Here? 1
1 A Tale of Two Visions 3
II The Classic View of Learning and Forgetting 7
2 A Question of Identity 9
3 The Immensity of Children's Learning 14
4 Joining the Literacy Club 25
5 Learning Through Life 30
III The Official Theory of Learning and Forgetting 41
6 Undermining Traditional Wisdom 43
7 Fabricating a Theory of Learning 49
8 The Entry of the Testers 60
9 More Spoils of War 66
10 The Official Theory Goes On-line 73
IV Repairing the Damage 81
11 Liberating Our Own Learning 83
12 Liberating Schools and Education 90
Notes 103
References 121
Name Index 127
Subject Index 130
About the Author 133
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good for Educators and Parents questioning the system

    I read this book for an education class. It is a little opinionated, but it brings up a lot of questions surrounding the way we educate children today, and tells why we shouldn't rely so heavily on testing and things of that nature. Good book for educators to use to question system and something to recommend to parents if you as an educator decide to change the system in your classroom to a more classical learning style.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2005

    A Cool Read, Indeeed!

    The first time I read the name Frank Smith was in Lucy Calkins's The Art of Teaching Writing. She quoted him when mentioning 'the literacy club' and how important it is for our students to join it. This little book can be read in a couple of sit-down (or lay down) sessions and it reminds us about how we learn as human beings. True learning is effortless because we learn from the company we keep, the 'club' we join we because we see ourselves as belonging to that club. His facts and figures are amazing and his reminder that we must, as teachers, make our students internalize the idea that they are members of the reading and writing CLUB, is timely and important. I found this book stacked on a table at my local Barnes and Noble and only picked it up because I recognized the name of the author. I am glad I did.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2004

    Teachers might not want to read this.

    It's quite simple, 'We learn from the company we keep.' Not from tests. Not from worksheets. We learn naturally. I am still a teacher after having read this book, but I am a much different one now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)