Most teachers in UK schools are counting down to the summer break, whilst our friends over the pond are almost all already enjoying this time off. I thought it would be a good idea to do a short post recommending some books for Professional Development over the summer. I honestly adhere to the idea (see what I did there!) that we are lifelong learners - we have never arrived and always have something more to learn. It's probably for that reason that I almost always have a book in my hand.
The average CEO reads 4-5 books per month. Just stop and think about that for a minute or two. One book per week. Over 50 books per year. Even those at the top of their organisation are committed to learning. As educators, it is often very difficult to get time to read and grow with all the work that goes on outside the classroom to prepare for life in the classroom. But summer is on the way! The other thing I hear is that people don't know where to start with appropriate developmental books. So I wrote this post. The PDF below has clickable links to the Amazon page to buy the book so no excuses.
I would love to hear your thoughts on each book too. Drop a comment or DM on Twitter (@itsbenwhitaker) to let me know what you're reading or any recommendations for me to review.
1. Ditch That Textbook - Matt Miller - the first piece I read by Matt who we featured on the podcast (check that out here). He gives a revolutionary idea of not using textbooks in the classroom anymore - looking for tech solutions that aren't simply substitutions for the traditional paper text. Controversial read.
2. Culturize - Jimmy Casas - a great book from DBC Publishing that discusses the idea of eliminating average and building a school culture that champions students and embodies the values that it shouts about. Inspiring read.
3. Mark.Plan.Teach - Ross McGill - a highly influential book from a highly influential UK educator who featured on our podcast in Episode 5. Ross challenges the status quo in terms of marking and feedback, finding workable solutions to reducing teacher workload and improving pedagogy. Practical read.
4. Mindset - Carol Dweck - this seminal book is probably the most important one that has been discussed at length in schools all over the world. Dweck talks about the difference between fixed and growth mindsets and why it is important for school leaders, teachers AND students to believe that they are capable of learning and that talent isn't set. Restructuring read.
5. Teach Like a Pirate - Dave Burgess - the first book in the pirate revolution that is taking over the US education system - helping educators to embrace creativity, engage learners and establish rapport and camaraderie. Lightbulb-moments read.
6. Shake Up Learning - Kasey Bell - our guest from Episode 3 of the podcast with her Texan twang writes a brilliantly insightful book which encourages to move from static to dynamic learning experiences. I had the privilege of being on the book review team for this one so got a sneak early read and blogged/tweeted furiously about it. Kasey also has a support website to go alongside the book: www.shakeuplearningbook.com. Dynamic read.
7. Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - easy for you to say I hear you say! The world-renowned psychologist highlights the importance of finding flow in life, which he sees as a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity and results in the achievement of an ideal state of happiness. How can we as teachers find this place and encourage our students to do the same? Ethereal read.
8. Teaching Backwards - Andy Griffith & Mark Burn - loaded with hundreds of practical ideas on how to ensure that teaching is focused on the end in mind - what do we want students to be able to do and then work backwards from this. Ultimately, the idea of a 'pre-mortem' as opposed to a post-mortem of the learning is a key concept in this jam-packed volume. Innovative read.
9. The Innovator's Mindset - George Couros - continuing the theme of innovation, this brilliant book by a former school principal encourages us to be daring, take risks and continually strive for the best. Encouraging students to never lose their natural desire to learn and simply follow a curriculum, the author encourages teachers and leaders to empower their learners to wonder, to explore and to become forward-thinking leaders. Liberating read.
10. The Learning Rainforest - Tom Sherrington - rooted in evidence-based theory and real-classroom strategies and experience, this book helps teachers create the environment, establish the conditions and find manageable and effective solutions to problems in our schools. Blending science and art as ways to approach learning, this is a book for busy teachers to dip in and out of. Manageable read.
11. The Google Infused Classroom - Holly Clark - as a key player for Ed Tech Team in the US, Clark nails her colours to the mast about how G-Suite tools can be used to make learning more accessible and engaging. The notion of infusion is powerful here too; it isn't just a one-off set of tricks but a strategic plan and dissemination of ideas to make learning stick. Accessible read.
12. Ditch that Homework - Matt Miller & Alice Keeler- the only author to feature twice on the list! This time, Miller along with the edtech guru that is Alice Keeler, is being even more controversial and suggesting that traditional homework is not scratching where students are itching. Setting homework to tick a box is not worth the paper it is written on and the authors showcase how making lessons more differentiated and engaging can reduce the need for weighing students down with yet more of the same. Impacting read.