Top 10 education books to read these holidays

inquiry-based learning professional growth reading Jun 23, 2022

Reading books and applying them is key to being an effective teacher. I believe reading books on educational practices is one of the best ways for teachers to continually improve their practice. If we are going to constantly improve then we need to be constantly learning and reading books is just one way to do that. Since we are coming up to the school holidays I thought it would be a great time to highlight my top 5 books for PDHPE teachers.

10. Embedded Formative Assessment by Dyllan William

Dylan William is definitely the person you want to read if you are looking to improve how you provide feedback. This book is fantastic at guiding you through the different levels of feedback and helps you focus on the goal of effective feedback, which is to enable students to be able to provide their own feedback so they can improve their own learning. 

9. Transforming Schools by Miranda Jefferson and Michael Anderson

This book is one of my favourites. Miranda and Michael focus on the 4 C's throughout this book and give plenty of practical strategies to help you apply them in an authentic manner by embedding them into your practice. I love how they guide us to do more than just surface-level C's and instead guide teachers to really make the 4 C's part of the foundation for what they are doing. 

8. Shake up Learning by Kasey Bell

Kasey Bell is one of my favourite educators. She is super famous in the world of Google Workspace, and one of the leading education consultants in the States. Her book is definitely a much easier read than the two above, She provides 5 areas for teachers to consider when looking to create dynamic learning as opposed to static learning. In her outgoing Texas style, this book is motivational and very practical in livening up your classroom.

7. How learning works by Susan Ambrose Et al

I absolutely love reading and studying how we learn. It is so enlightening about how we should be teaching and this book is one of the easier-to-digest books on this topic. The book constantly switches between theory and practice with great little stories from teachers implementing these practices. If you want to begin to take advantage of how learning works and what research says works then this is a fantastic read.

6. The Learning Power Approach by Guy Claxton

This book has been doing the rounds at the moment in Australia. Guy's book is motivational and very practical. It has heaps of simple strategies we can use in our classrooms to help develop our students' "learning powers". This book highlights the skills students need to develop in order to become effective learners and I believe should be on the shelf of every teacher who is trying to help students prepare for more than just an exam.

5. Limitless by Jim Kwik

This book is not so much about education but instead focuses on learning. I really enjoyed this book when I read it. In fact, I have read it quite a few times. Jim is a guru when it comes to how the brain works. He is self-taught on the subject but has a lot of great insights to help us better understand learning. Jim's book is an easy read, and super helpful. I have even recommended it to a few senior students to read to help them begin to have a more positive mindset towards their learning. This book actually motivated me to work on my reading speed, which I am happy to say has more than doubled since implementing his advice. This means I get to read twice as many books as I used to ­čÖé

4. Mindset by Carol Dweck

Carol is amazing when it comes to midset. I'm sure many of you have at least heard of her and the whole growth mindset thing. If you haven't read this book, then please get it today. The book is applied across all of life and for any teacher looking to be an effective teacher this book has a lot to say. It will help you become more successful as well as your students.

3. Dive into Inquiry by Trevor MacKenzie

Trevor is one of my favourite authors and someone I love having as a guest on my podcast (if you don't listen to the podcast please check it out here). The reason I love this book so much is because Trevor brings together some of the other books listed here as well as a wealth of experience to help you dive into inquiry-based learning. If you don't know what inquiry-based learning is, you must check out this book and listen to the stories Trevor has and the impact he has made through this approach.

2. Flip Your Classroom by Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams

This book is what really helped me step up my game and begin to do "flipped learning". They have another book called "Flipped Learning", which is also a great read. These books are quite short but are really good. If you have ever wanted to flip your classroom, then this is a good place to start. Otherwise, you can also check out my online course (Introduction to Flipped Learning by clicking here). This is a super easy read that could have a huge impact on your teaching and the learning happening in your classroom.

1. Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

This book has got to be the book of all books in education. Understanding by Design has been around for a while and is essentially the textbook for how to create units of work. You have probably heard of backward mapping, or backward programming, well, this book is the heart and centre of that movement. This book is all about starting with the end in mind and creating a purposeful plan to achieve the end goal. Don't let the length of the book put you off. It is an amazing book, with lots of fantastic resources and scaffolds you can easily apply to really improve the units of work you create. It is my clear number 1 book for education. It would take something special to take its place.

Bonus Book - Work Less, Teach More by Me ­čÖé

I couldn't really include my own book in the list as I am totally biased. But I do want to recommend it. Not so much because it will tell you how to teach your class, but because it will help you reduce your workload and help you to focus more on the things that make you an effective teacher. I have a whole lot more information on this book here, which, if you didn't know, you can get for free if you just cover postage and handling.

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