Reading makes your smarter. More importantly, it makes you a better teacher.
Smart districts offer in-service or professional development compensation for instructors that read relevant resources.
Most people think that the summer provides educators with well deserved time to recharge. While that is true, most importantly, it provides educators time to read. I challenge you to read the list of books described below this summer. They have immediate and actionable implications with the way you instruct your students.
While contemplating the massive shifts in curriculum and assessment methods, teachers are left to ask themselves: “What do my students really need to be successful in the future? What skills do I prioritize and cultivate?”
7 Books that will make you a better teacher
For the answer, don’t ask an educator. Ask Daniel Pink and Thomas Friedman.
Pink argues that successful individuals will be able to synthesize knowledge by curating existing information in his book A Whole New Mind.
This makes sense according to Friedman in The World Is Flat. He says that the digital revolution has leveled the knowledge playing field and simply knowing a lot is no longer a desired (or needed) quality.
A Whole New Mind and The World Is Flat go hand-in-hand to provide insight into the skills required to be successful in the professional future.
Neuroeducation is revolutionizing the way students are educated. However, tossing “neuro” into any phrase sends shutters down the collective spine. “Too hard!” we shout.
Difficult, maybe. But inaccessible, definitely not. You owe it to your students to investigate this emerging field because coupling the way the brain learns with pedagogy and methodology will make your teaching not only more effective, but more interesting, fun, and efficient.
Start with John Medina’s fantastic introduction to everything neurological called Brain Rules. This is unlike most self-help books because it offers pragmatic advice supported by evidence. Among other topics, he discusses the impact of aerobic exercise, stress, and memory formation on learning.
Follow Brain Rules with a resource more centered around education. Why Don’t Students Like School is a pessimistic sounding book with positive implications.
School is hard for students and Daniel Willingham describes why using rational explanations based in cognitive science. He follows with fixes to make learning easier.
Combining Willingham’s ideas with Medina’s results in a book called Make It Stick by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III, and Mark McDaniel.
Learning is retaining perceived information. The problem is that not all perceived information is learned. Make It Stick gives educators the tools needed to give their content a competitive advantage in the memory retention world.
I want my content to stick in my students brains, don’t you?
Lots of educators leave the profession because they burn out. But not you or I, because we have read (or will read!) Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor.
Intrinsic motivation to teach often wanes as educators become entrenched in the daily battles of education. To jump-start your “why”, Deci and Anchor help us reframe our perspective. We began teaching to help kids, and this innate drive makes us happy according to Deci. Anchor, on the other hand, gives us seven tools to keep us motivated and happy as we progress through our careers.
Together, Why We Do What We Do and The Happiness Advantage will provide the regenerative spark that many of us need.
I’ve done the heavy lifting and have read dozens of resources that claim to have education implications. The dozens are distilled to seven that are worth your time.
More from Chris Reddy here.