What can I say that you don't already know about textbooks? They are useful in providing structure to the course and they offer a second voice on issues of importance, a voice that both teacher and student can argue with. And yet often, perhaps because they try to cover so much, they seem second hand and overly abstract. So after several years of teaching students in various methods courses, I abandoned textbooks and started collecting materials on my own -- articles that said it better than I ever could, materials that raised issues in dramatic ways, handouts that I borrowed shamelessly from teacher friends, all kinds of materials that seemed to work better than the textbooks I had been using.
Ultimately, of course, I found that my pile of handouts was starting to look suspiciously like a textbook, not the standard kind, but the hybrid thing you have before you. Whether or not I have succeeded in minimizing the problems of textbooks -- you must be the judge. I can only say that I have tried: tried to focus on essentials, to include voices besides my own, to provide thoughtprovoking activities, and to write in a readable style.
As I have said, this book is a hybrid thing -- part anthology, part activities, part discursive text. The readings allow students to hear from some of the best people in the field; some are well known, others are less familiar. Some are here because I agree with what they say; others appear simply because they have important things to say, whether I agree or not. Many of the readings are taken from