The Top 10 Educators Handbooks | Many books have been published in the last decade to help teachers significantly impact student learning.
Plato’s Republic along with Rousseau’s Émile, and Dewey’s Democracy and Education – as Dennis Hayes has argued, are the only books on education that teachers should read. But, if I were about to enter the classroom for the first time as a teacher or looking to improve my practice, I would probably want to read something with more practical advice on what I should and, more importantly, what I shouldn’t be doing.
Much of what happens inside of a classroom is variable and difficult to define. Still, over the last decade, a plethora of books have attempted to draw facts from a range of fields and provide a series of “best bets” on which strategies might have the most significant impact on student learning.
Why Should Teachers Read Educators Handbooks?
Educators Handbooks: Many teachers experience stress and a heavy workload during the school year, so is it surprising that teachers choose to read books about education during their vacations?
There has been some stigma attached to teachers who read education books in their spare time, with many on social media demonstrating a lack of understanding and using derogatory language to suggest that they don’t have a life.
Stress is not the best companion for learning and embracing new concepts. Teachers are more likely to achieve the nirvana of reduced anxiety and a sense of peace during the long summer break.
This is an ideal time to be open to new ideas, different points of view, and alternative research. Teachers will not only be more likely to retain this information but also have the mental space to evaluate it.
There is no requirement for teachers to read education books in their spare time, but those who do take advantage of an opportunity to expand their professional knowledge.
The skills learned at university, like those discovered in any other profession, are not the end goal. Teachers should never believe they are experts in everything. Reading educational books can often result in new knowledge and skills that make life easier.
Teachers should support one another and accept their differences instead of criticizing those who spend their time reading educational books.
Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel Willingham
Educators Handbooks: In this book Willingham takes findings from cognitive science and applies them to the classroom straightforwardly and practically in this eminently readable book. The main claim in this book is that, although we are naturally curious, we are not inherently good thinkers and can only honestly think about what we know. It is also known for containing one of the best lines written in an educational book: “Memory is the residue of thought.”
The Hidden Lives of Learners by Graham Nuthall
Educators Handbooks: A classroom, according to Nuthall, contains three worlds. First, the public world is controlled mainly by the teacher and contains easily visible lesson activities and routines. The second type of environment is the “semi-private world of ongoing peer relationships,” in which students develop and maintain social roles in the classroom. Finally, there is the private world of the student’s mind, where learning occurs. This book peels back the layers of those worlds, revealing many unexpected discoveries.
Trivium 21c by Martin Robinson
This book has it all as a general model of what should happen in schools. Using the classical triumvirate of grammar (knowledge), dialectic (questioning and debate), and rhetoric (expression), Robinson proposes a model of education for his daughter that draws on the past to anticipate an uncertain future.
Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam
Formative assessment is most likely the most influential concept in schools today, as well as the most misunderstood. The architect of formative assessment lays out the core principles of practical assessment in this book. Still, most importantly, he applies them to the classroom with efficient examples based on years of research in the field.
Seven Myths About Education by Daisy Christodoulou
Christodoulou challenges several educational orthodoxies in this brief but explosive book, including the claim that teacher-led instruction is passive and why you can’t just look it up on Google. Even if you don’t agree with everything in this book, every teacher should be familiar with its arguments.
Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn by John Hattie and Gregory Yates
Visible Learning, Hattie’s original alchemy book, was first published in 2009 and attempted to illuminate the dark arts of pedagogy through a meta-analysis of hundreds of studies. Hattie collaborates with cognitive psychologist Gregory Yates in this book to provide yet another efficient overview of how teachers can apply cognitive science lessons in various contexts. A must-have reference guide for busy teachers.
Bringing Words to Life by Isabel L Beck, Margaret G McKeown, and Linda Kucan
Simply the best book on vocabulary instruction. Tier one words are those that rarely require instruction, such as “dog” or “run,” tier two words have “high utility for mature language users,” such as “contradict” or “precede.” Tier three terms are domain-specific, such as “pantheon” or “epidermis.” Tier two words are critical to children’s development, and this book offers sound advice on how to expand that vital range and a variety of approaches to broadening children’s vocabulary.
Make It Stick by Peter C Brown, Henry L Roediger, and Mark A McDaniel
One of cognitive science’s more factual findings is that many factors promoting effective learning are highly counterintuitive. For example, many students will re-read and highlight material in preparation for a test, which the book’s authors demonstrate is little more than coloring in. Interleaving, spaced learning, and retrieval practice, which are expertly outlined in this easily accessible book, are far more effective.
Urban Myths About Learning and Education by Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul A Kirschner, and Casper D Hulshof
Do students have distinct learning styles? Do they learn more effectively if they discover things for themselves? Is it true that we only use 10% of our brains? Is it necessary to know facts in the age of Google? This book is for you if you’ve ever asked questions like these. The authors use a massive body of evidence to dispel many common classroom myths that we could all do without.
Why Knowledge Matters by ED Hirsch
This vital book contends that students have been taught how to read but not what to read and that cultural literacy is far more critical than vague notions of 21st-century skills. In short, a more serious examination of the curriculum is required, as is a greater emphasis on what we teach rather than how we teach it.
The Last Page: Educators Handbooks
Educators Handbooks: The end of an academic year is ideal for teachers to take stock and consider any changes teachers could implement in September. Summer reading is an excellent time to absorb new ideas from an educational book and make new plans for the coming year.
Of course, this could apply to each new term, and the holidays throughout the year are a great time to self-assess and identify concepts that will help the rest of the year. Any teacher willing to change their mindset can benefit from the changes they make from ideas gained from reading educational books.