The Pursuit of Excellence Through Education: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Pursuit of Excellence Through Education

1st Edition

Edited by Michel Ferrari


268 pages

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pub: 2001-11-01
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Although specific definitions may change over time, few goals are considered more important to education than the pursuit of academic excellence. There are many different viewpoints on this issue today among educational psychologists and other social scientists. One particularly glaring fault line in the debate divides those who emphasize developing individual learning and those who focus on promoting cultural and institutional reform. These two perspectives are rarely addressed in a single volume.

In this book, well-known theorists and researchers present a range of perspectives on how to promote excellence in education. This allows those who stress transformation of educational practice and those who emphasize individual abilities to speak to each, and invites readers to jointly consider the arguments for both positions, or for some synthesis of the two. The point is to consider how these two divergent viewpoints can be reconciled, or simply coordinated, in an effort to benefit both students and society at large. The main thesis is that excellence can be fostered without sacrificing equity, both of which are fundamental tenets of a democratic education.

The issues addressed in this book have implications and relevance for school reform efforts and across the fields of educational psychology, curriculum and instruction, philosophy of education, and educational leadership. The volume provides a unique source for students and teachers in various disciplines who want to gain a broader and more integrated view of the nature and development of excellence through education.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Part I: The Individual Pursuit of Excellence. H. Gardner, Learning From Extraordinary Minds. K.A. Ericsson, Attaining Excellence Through Deliberate Practice: Insights From the Study of Expert Performance. R.J. Sternberg, E.L. Grigorenko, M. Ferrari, Fostering Intellectual Excellence Through Developing Expertise. B.J. Zimmerman, Achieving Academic Excellence: A Self-Regulatory Perspective. Part II: Culture, Society, and the Pursuit of Excellence. M.F. Mascolo, J. Li, R. Fink, K.W. Fischer, Pathways to Excellence: Value Presuppositions and the Development of Academic and Affective Skills in Educational Contexts. R.L. Pinkus, R. Sauder, Creating Standards of Excellence for Residency Training in Neurological Surgery: A Historical Approach. H.A. Simon, Achieving Excellence in Institutions. M. Ferrari, Personal and Institutional Pursuit of Excellence. M. Ferrari, Conclusion: What Is Excellence and How to Study It?

About the Series

Educational Psychology Series

This series has several goals:

  • to present the most significant contemporary theory and research on psychology as it is applied to education at all levels – elementary; secondary, and tertiary;
  • to present this research in a way that is relevant and accessible to both psychologists and educators;
  • to explore new ideas in instruction and assessment that are grounded in theory and tested in classrooms;
  • to inform and influence educational policy through the establishment of a solid base of theory and research rather than through the fads and fashions that come and go with the times but that have no base in the psychology of instruction;
  • to achieve further integration in the perspectives of education and psychology, as well as to draw together various fields of psychology in order to capitalize on their potential contributions to educational outcomes;
  • to explore notions of school reform that are linked to our knowledge about students’ learning, thinking, and motivation; and
  • to disseminate ideas from around the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as the Americas.


This series will publish monographs and edited books that advance these goals through new and innovative contributions to educational psychology. Edited books must have a sense of coherence, contain unifying introductory and concluding chapters, and be internally consistent in scope and level of writing.

Potential authors and volume editors are encouraged to take risks and to explore with the series editors nontraditional points of vie wand methodologies. Interdisciplinary contributions involving theory and methodology from diverse fields, such as computer science, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and neuroscience, are especially welcome, but all contributions must be readable and interesting to psychologists and educators of varying backgrounds. Authors and editors from all around the world are encouraged to submit proposals.

Examples of topics that would be of interest include, but are not limited to, creative techniques for instruction, nontraditional forms of assessment, student learning, student motivation, organizational structure and climate, teacher education, new conceptions of abilities and achievement, analyses of cognitive structures and representations in various disciplines, expertise in teaching and administration, use of technology in the schools, at-risk children, adult education, and styles of learning and thinking.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology