Naivete is my middle name. My innocence is such that until I read A Very Private Affair by Pam Carter and Tony Jeffs (Education Now Books pound;6) I had assumed sexual relationships between college lecturers and students to be both rare and frowned upon. According to these authors I was wrong on both counts.
This was for me an eye-opening story about the disgraceful abuse of power by people who ought to know better. But why is it important for heads and teachers to be aware of it? Because schools take students, and their tutors, on teaching practice; because heads sit on university admissions and examining boards; because teachers try to advise their pupils about college and university life. Sadly, it seems that we must now, in all of these areas, take account of the possible hidden agenda.
Inappropriate sexual relationships are not tackled in The Laurie Taylor Guide to Higher Education (ButterworthHeinemann pound;9.99). Everything else is there, though, in this collection of Laurie Taylor's Times Higher Educational Supplement columns, and the book provides a service by introducing Dr Quintock, Professor Lapping and the other academics of the University of Poppleton to a wider audience.
Juggling for a Degree (Unit for Innovation in Higher Education, Lancaster University. Edited by Hilary Arksey, Ian Marchant and Cheryl Simmill pound;6.95 plus 55p postage) is a collection of the experiences of mature students at university. Frankly written and dealing with lots of practicalities, it should be informative and encouraging for people thinking of picking up their education again. Cheryl Simmill's own chapter on being both a student and a mother for example, is encouraging and sends the message that students with children are by no means unusual or alone. There is very little inapppropriate sex in this book either. Mature students, presumably, are too worldy wise.
Changing the subject, are you one of those described by the Japanese as onchi? A lot of people are, because onchi, it seems, means "tone-idiot" - someone who cannot sing in tune. Interest and research into this has been fuelled in Japan by the growth of karaoke clubs and bars which, in turn, have turned listeners into performers. Onchi and Singing Development edited by Graham Welch and Tadahiro Murao (David Fulton pound;13.99) is a fascinating examination of the elusive ability to sing in tune and will be of particular interest to music teachers and choral specialists. "Teachers", conclude the authors, "must have an understanding of how the voice works, of the factors which influence singing development, of how singing competence is matched to social context, and of how to match the singing task to the developing singer's current singing abilities." Onchi and Singing Development is published in association with the Roehampton Institute's Centre for Advanced Studies in Music Education.
From the same stable comes South Asian Music Teaching in Change by Gerry Farrell (David Fulton pound;10.99) which looks at the teaching of Indian music in London schools, and in particular at how it has responded to and survived under the pressures of local management of schools. This book, too, will interest music teachers and advisers and will also find a readership in local authority inter-cultural support groups and centres. It concludes that "The rich diversity of South Asian music in the UK is a virtually untapped resource in terms of general music education."
Finally, a timely second edition. Child Psychology by Ross Vasta, Marshall M Haith and Scott A Miller (Wiley pound;21.95) is as comprehensive and clear as anything you are likely to find. Readable, and well illustrated in colour with photographs and drawings, it covers child growth and development from every conceivable angle. All the obvious issues are there - gender, single parent families, intelligence, morals. There are also very useful summaries of the classical psychological debates and personalities - Piaget, Binet, Mendel, Harlow. As well as being a schools' reference book, it will help teachers engaged in further study.