Knowledge

Top Books for Teachers on Professional Development

Parvathy Jayakrishnan
Top Books for Teachers on Professional Development

Developing and improving your knowledge is a must for any profession - teaching is no exception. With pedagogy evolving every day with new practices and technology, compiled are some books that every teacher must read to get better at their profession.

1.         ‘What Connected Educators Do Differently’ by Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul and Jimmy Casas

Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas are widely acclaimed experts on teaching and are pioneers in the education Twitterverse, and now they are sharing their best practices. In this book, they show how being a connected educator by using social media to connect with peers across the country and even across the globe will greatly enhance your own learning and your success in a school or classroom. You will find out how to create a personal and professional learning network to share resources and ideas, gain support, and make an impact on others. By customising your professional development in this way, you will be able to learn what you want, how you want, when you want. Best of all, you will become energised and inspired by all the great ideas out there and how you can contribute, benefiting both you and your students.

2.         ‘How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens’ by Benedict Carey

In this book, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematise the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your recall? Are there times when distraction is good? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields a wealth of strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives—and less of a chore.

3.         ‘The MOOC Case Book: Case Studies in MOOC Design, Development & Implementation’ by Dr. Joseph Rene Corbeil, Dr. Maria Elena Corbeil, and Dr. Badrul H. Khan

With the advancement of digital learning technologies, knowledge sharing for the purpose of education and training has accelerated to a point we have never experienced before. The availability of powerful delivery tools and the intentions and interests for sharing knowledge with greater audiences are the major driving forces behind the growth of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. While there are many benefits to MOOCs, they currently face several challenges. Design, development, implementation and evaluation of open and distributed learning systems (e.g., MOOCs) require thoughtful analysis and investigation. But most people have no idea how or where to begin. Khan’s E-Learning Framework provides a comprehensive structure for analysing the issues involving the design, development, implementation and evaluation of e-learning initiatives.

4.         ‘Mindful Assessment, The 6 Essential Fluencies of Innovative Learning’ by Lee Watanabe-Crockett, Andrew Churches

It is time to rethink the relationship between teaching and learning and assess the crucial skills students need to succeed in the 21st century. The authors assert that educators must focus assessment on mindfulness and feedback for improvement, framing assessment around six fluencies students need to cultivate. The book provides scenarios, lessons, activities, and assessment rubrics.

5.         ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ by Carol Dweck

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishments.

6.         ‘The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere’ by Debbie Miller

Effective, intentional teaching begins with a strong set of beliefs, but even the best teachers - including Debbie Miller - struggle to make sure that their classroom practice consistently reflects their core convictions. In Teaching with Intention, Debbie shares her process of defining beliefs, aligning practice, and taking action to ensure that children are the true beneficiaries of her teaching. As Peter Johnston writes, "Through this book, we have Debbie's teaching mind on loan. She engages us in the details of teaching life from inside her mind, showing the thinking behind her teaching and the consequences of her actions."

7.         ‘Teaching With the Brain in Mind’ by Eric Jensen

In easy to understand, engaging language, Jensen provides a basic orientation to the brain and its various systems and explains how they affect learning. After discussing what parents and educators can do to get children's brains in good shape for school, Jensen goes on to explore topics such as motivation, critical thinking skills, optimal educational environments, emotions, and memory. He offers fascinating insights on a number of specific issues. Jensen's repeated message to educators is simple: You have far more influence on students' brains than you realise - and you have an obligation to take advantage of the incredible revelations that science is providing.

8.         ‘Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator’ by Dave Burgess

Based on Dave Burgess's popular "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You will learn how to: • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn Teach Like a PIRATE system, you will never look at your role as an educator the same again.

9.         ‘The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity’ by George Couros

In this book, George Couros encourages teachers and administrators to empower their learners to wonder, explore--and to become forward-thinking leaders. If we want innovative students, we need innovative educators. In other words, innovation begins with you. Ultimately, innovation is not about a skill set: it's about a mindset. The traditional system of education requires students to hold their questions and compliantly stick to the scheduled curriculum. But our job as educators is to provide new and better opportunities for our students. It's time to recognise that compliance doesn't foster innovation, encourage critical thinking, or inspire creativity--and those are the skills our students need to succeed.

10.        ‘A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change’ by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

The 21st century is a world in constant change. Typically, when we think of culture, we think of an existing, stable entity that changes and evolves over long periods of time. In this book, Thomas and Brown explore a second sense of culture, one that responds to its surroundings organically. It not only adapts, but it also integrates change into its process as one of its environmental variables. By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. A result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination. Replete with stories, this is a book that looks at the challenges that our education and learning environments face in a fresh way.

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