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In his latest book, Old Dominion University's Maurice Berube explores the contributions of four people he considers among the greatest educators of the 20th century.

"Eminent Educators: Studies in Intellectual Influence" examines the research and scholarship of four intellectual giants who have profoundly influenced American education: John Dewey (1859 - 1952), a great American educational philosopher who rejected authoritarian teaching methods; Howard Gardner, the father of the theory of multiple intelligences and a Harvard University professor; Carol Gilligan, chair of the Center for Gender Studies at Harvard and an internationally respected feminist; and John Ogbu, a University of California-Berkeley professor and father of the theory of caste regarding the education of African Americans.

Berube, an eminent scholar of educational leadership and counseling at Old Dominion, chose to focus on progressive education in his ninth book, which was released this month by Greenwood Press. Dewey created the American educational system, he said, while Gardner redefined intelligence. Gilligan continues to probe the moral development of girls and women, and Ogbu remapped the education of African Americans.

"Each of the individuals profiled in the book caused a major paradigm shift in American education with their intellectual influence, and each, in their unique contribution, indelibly shaped education for the better," said Berube.

His greatest challenge in writing the book, Berube said, was deciding on which educators to exclude. "I wanted to focus on research and scholarship that had a positive impact on the development of American education," he explained, adding that he also wanted the book to be representative of the educational system.

Berube met with each living educator, obtaining biographical information that may have influenced their career paths or educational ideals. "When working with qualitative history, themes come out," said Berube. "Gardner, Gilligan and Ogbu were each influenced by Dewey in some way."

Berube said he patterned his book after Lytton Strachey's "Eminent Victorians: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Arnold, General Gordon" (1918), which portrayed four significant individuals who exerted influence on Victorian society.

Berube will be available to sign copies of his book at the Old Dominion bookstore, located in Webb University Center, from 3-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

This article was posted on: February 7, 2000

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