Few things are more satisfying than finally getting your hands on a book you’ve been meaning to read. In 2015, you’re going to want to make room in your schedule for a lot of satisfaction.
Here are 12 books about education and learning you should look forward to reading this year:
1. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education
“Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organisation’s history. Now, the internationally recognised leader on creativity and human potential focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. At a time when standardised testing businesses are raking in huge profits and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalised, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes, observations and recommendations from professionals on the front line of transformative education, case histories, and groundbreaking research—and written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style—Creative Schools will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of education.”
2. The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardised Testing–But You Don’t Have to Be
“Your child is more than a score. But in the era of No Child Left Behind and the Common Core, America’s schools are sacrificing learning in favor of testing. How do we preserve space for self-directed learning and development, especially when we still want all children to hit the mark?
The Test explores all sides of this problem—where these tests came from, their limitations and flaws, and ultimately what you as a parent, teacher, or concerned citizen can do. It recounts the shocking history and tempestuous politics of testing, and borrows strategies from fields as diverse as games, neuroscience, and ancient philosophy to help families cope. It presents the stories of families, teachers, and schools that are maneuvering within and beyond the existing educational system, playing and winning the testing game.
Our students, teachers, and schools are being held accountable for the outcomes of tests that don’t cover the most important material that they need to succeed: qualities like collaboration, creativity, and self-motivation, to name a few. The Test describes what these better tests might look like.”
3. College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education
“For nearly two decades, pundits have been predicting the demise of higher education in the United States. Our colleges and universities will soon find themselves competing for students with universities from around the world. With the advent of massive open online courses (‘MOOCS’) over the past two years, predictions that higher education will be the next industry to undergo ‘disruption’ have become more frequent and fervent. Currently a university’s reputation relies heavily on the ‘four Rs’ in which the most elite schools thrive—rankings, research, real estate, and rah! (i.e. sports). But for the majority of students who are not attending these elite institutions, the ‘four Rs’ offer poor value for the expense of a college education.
Craig sees the future of higher education in online degrees that unbundle course offerings to offer a true bottom line return for the majority of students in terms of graduation, employment, and wages. College Disrupted details the changes that American higher education will undergo, including the transformation from packaged courses and degrees to truly unbundled course offerings, along with those that it will not. Written by a professional at the only investment firm focused on the higher education market, College Disrupted takes a creative view of the forces roiling higher education and the likely outcome, including light-hearted, real-life anecdotes that illustrate the author’s points.”
4. The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere
“Over the span of just nine months in 2011 and 2012, the world’s most famous universities and high-powered technology entrepreneurs began a race to revolutionise higher education. College courses that had been kept for centuries from all but an elite few were released to millions of students throughout the world—for free.
Exploding college prices and a flagging global economy, combined with the derring-do of a few intrepid innovators, have created a dynamic climate for a total rethinking of an industry that has remained virtually unchanged for a hundred years. In The End of College, Kevin Carey, an education researcher and writer, draws on years of in-depth reporting and cutting-edge research to paint a vivid and surprising portrait of the future of education. Carey explains how two trends—the skyrocketing cost of college and the revolution in information technology—are converging in ways that will radically alter the college experience, upend the traditional meritocracy, and emancipate hundreds of millions of people around the world.”
5. Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do
Daniel T. Willingham
“Everyone agrees that reading is important, but kids today tend to lose interest in reading before adolescence. In Raising Kids Who Read, bestselling author and psychology professor Daniel T. Willingham explains this phenomenon and provides practical solutions for engendering a love of reading that lasts into adulthood. Like Willingham’s much-lauded previous work, Why Don’t Students Like School?, this new book combines evidence-based analysis with engaging, insightful recommendations for the future. Intellectually rich argumentation is woven seamlessly with entertaining current cultural references, examples, and steps for taking action to encourage reading.
The three key elements for reading enthusiasm—decoding, comprehension, and motivation—are explained in depth in Raising Kids Who Read. Teachers and parents alike will appreciate the practical orientation toward supporting these three elements from birth through adolescence. Most books on the topic focus on early childhood, but Willingham understands that kids’ needs change as they grow older, and the science-based approach in Raising Kids Who Read applies to kids of all ages.”
6. Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education
George D. Kuh and Stanley O. Ikenberry
“Dynamic changes are underway in American higher education. New providers, emerging technologies, cost concerns, student debt, and nagging doubts about quality all call out the need for institutions to show evidence of student learning. From scholars at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education presents a reframed conception and approach to student learning outcomes assessment. The authors explain why it is counterproductive to view collecting and using evidence of student accomplishment as primarily a compliance activity.
Today’s circumstances demand a fresh and more strategic approach to the processes by which evidence about student learning is obtained and used to inform efforts to improve teaching, learning, and decision-making. Whether you’re in the classroom, an administrative office, or on an assessment committee, data about what students know and are able to do are critical for guiding changes that are needed in institutional policies and practices to improve student learning and success.”
7. Mindful Learning: Reduce Stress and Improve Brain Performance For Effective Learning
Dr. Craig Hassed and Dr. Richard Chambers
“Mindfulness is increasingly being used in educational environments as a way to help students learn more effectively, develop personally, enhance their physical and emotional health, and deal with study and exam-related demands. In Mindful Learning, the authors provide practical insights and exercises on how to apply mindfulness in the educational setting, resulting in a book that clearly sets out how we can manage stress, improve performance and create better communication and relationships. Whatever your age, whatever your learning environment, mindfulness can make a positive difference.”
8. Making Classrooms Better: 50 Practical Applications of Mind, Brain, and Education Science
“Learning specialist Leslie Hart once wrote that designing educational experiences without knowledge of the brain is like designing a glove without knowledge of the hand. Making Classrooms Better takes this concept a step further, building from general knowledge of brain-based education science and current educational research to offer specific suggestions for how teachers can improve student learning outcomes. Covering a range of subjects, from creating an optimal classroom climate to maximising metacognitive skill development, this well-researched, state-of-the-art guide is an essential resource for highly effective practices that teachers, administrators, and curriculum planners can easily use.
The first half of the book provides a practical overview of teaching from a Mind, Brain, and Education perspective through an understanding of the intersection of the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and pedagogy. The second half shares 50 evidence-based classroom ‘best practices’ that have a proven positive impact on student learning outcomes and explains why they work.”
9. What Connected Educators Do Differently
Todd Whitaker and Jeffrey Zoul
“Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas are widely acclaimed experts on teaching and leading and are pioneers in the education twitterverse, and now they are sharing their best practices! In What Connected Educators Do Differently, 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’ll 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’ll be able to learn what you want, how you want, when you want. Best of all, you’ll become energised and inspired by all the great ideas out there and how you can contribute, benefiting both you and your students.”
10. Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
“Based on the authors’ wildly popular article “18 Things Creative People Do Differently,” this well-researched and engaging book uncovers what we know about creativity, and what anyone can do to enhance this essential aspect of their lives and work.
Filled with insights from the lives of well-known artists and visionaries, along with scientific findings and practical advice, this smart, lively and inspiring book reveals these creativity-sparking habits: daydreaming, taking time for solitude, seeking out new experiences, nurturing emotional sensitivity, turning challenges into opportunities for growth, making time for play, following passions, practising mindfulness, listening to intuition, challenging the status quo, and achieving mastery.”
We think this will be a very helpful guide for teachers and students, too.
11. Educating the More Able Student: What Works and Why
Martin Stephen and Ian Warwick
“An unprecedented collaboration between leading names from the independent and state sectors, this thought-provoking book addresses the current crisis in education for the most able. Grounded in the classroom, the authors draw on their own first-hand experiences and international research to scrutinise techniques and practices from leading countries, exploring the more divisive issues that have damaged teaching worldwide. Demonstrating what works well in teaching the most able, and also what does not work, the book offers a radical solution, a stimulus to thought and a way forward for teachers, academics and all those with responsibility for ensuring high standards in education, including governments and members of regulatory authorities.”
12. Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners: Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond
“Award-winning teacher, blogger, and author Larry Ferlazzo is back with more insightful research and strategies for helping students want to care more about school and learning. In his previous books on motivation—Helping Students Motivate Themselves and Self-Driven Learning—he tackled ways to help students build intrinsic motivation by how you use class time, manage your class, encourage students to feel positive about learning, help them not feel burned out by testing, and more. In this book, he looks at how teachers can create classroom conditions that are needed for motivation to grow in the first place. Ferlazzo provides research-based suggestions on what you can do today to help students want to develop qualities like physical health, grit, flow, and a desire to transfer what they’re learning to life outside of school.
At the end of each chapter, you’ll find high-interest lesson plans, correlated to the Common Core ELA/Literacy Standards, that set the stage for long-term positive impacts. Students will read about sports stars, how maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help them achieve their goals, and other engaging topics. They will integrate information from various texts and make connections to their own lives, hopes and dreams—a more powerful way to learn to care than being told they should.”