Recommended Reading for Educators

Of the texts I've read in the field of education, these are the ones that stand out for me as particularly insightful and useful to educators at virtually all levels.


 Understanding Curriculum by William Pinar et al. 
This giant text surveys the thinking across the history of curriculum theory.  Multiple facets are explored from approaches ranging from postmodernism, gender theory, and global perspectives.  It offers an almost overwhelming range of perspectives on the process of education.

 A Post-Modern Perspective on Curriculum by William Doll
One of the best books I have ever read on teaching and theories of cognition.  Doll synthesizes concepts from psychology, neuroscience, evolution, and chaos theory to explain how education can be shifted into the post-modern paradigm.

 Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching by Madeleine R. Grumet
This is perhaps an esoteric read for classroom educators, but this text examines the parallels and contradictions between motherhood and the role of professional teachers.  It calls into question many of the fundamental concepts in the structure of the education system.

 Horace's Compromise by Theodore Sizer
While the author sometimes describes his style as "fictional non-fiction," I didn't find the style especially radical.  The book does a good job of creating a composite profile of a typical American public school, and examining the organization and the problems within it.


 The Construction Zone: Working for Cognitive Change in School by Denis Newman, Peg Griffin, and Michael Cole
This was my first introduction to constructivism, and it held my interest through the use of examples in classroom settings.  Both beginning and advanced educators could benefit from the discussions of constructivist approaches in this volume.

 The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach by Howard Gardner
Although Gardner is probably best known for popularizing the concept of "multiple intelligences," this is a superior work in that it directly addresses the psychology underlying children's problems internalizing academics based on traditional methods of instruction.

 A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne
This short book provides a theoretical framework for understanding the social structure ingrained by our economic classes.  I found it valuable for in a broader context than merely as an educator working with students from multiple socioeconomic backgrounds.  It is very straight-forward and makes its case plainly without delving into unnecessary jargon. 

 Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey
Personally, I regard this as the single most useful text in understanding ADD/ADHD.  It is very easy to read (it is designed with attention deficient readers in mind, after all), and approaches the topic from multiple angles (e.g., case studies, checklists, strategies, etc.).

 Inside The Brain: Revolutionary Discoveries of How the Mind Works by Ronald Kotulak
For educators looking for an accessible introduction to brain research, this text covers the basics of neuroscience.  This is essential information for learning just what a neuron is versus a synapse when you might not otherwise have the background to follow a discussion in this area.

 Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the 'Net Generation by Don Tapscott
This text was an introduction to the first internet savvy generation coming up through the school system.  Although it's a bit dated now, the principles laid out concerning how these kids think is still valid, so this is a worthwhile read for those interested in technology and society.




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