Books about teaching?
October 24, 2016 11:52 AM   Subscribe

What are the "must have" essential books on teaching? Not necessarily about classroom management or working with kids, but about connecting with students (children or adults), helping them process and retain information and build understanding particularly when it is voluntary learning (i.e. there are no grades involved.)
posted by roaring beast to Education (11 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I'll start us off with Vivian Gussin Paley. She is an American, retired, preschool/kindergarten teacher that focused heavily on inclusion through encouraging the children to engage in storytelling. I would start with You Can't Say You Can't Play or The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter but she has several books that might be of interest to you.
posted by eisforcool at 12:11 PM on October 24, 2016

This Wikipedia article on John Holt discusses several of his books that I found useful.
posted by Bruce H. at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

John Hattie's work Visible Learning is pretty popular with schools in Australia. He looks at things that affect learning- tv in bedroon, negative impact, homework in primary/elementary no real impact, teacher feedback to students on what they are doing is a large impact.
posted by freethefeet at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2016

Not sure if it's what you're looking for, but Alfie Kohn is pretty great.
posted by heavenknows at 1:58 PM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am a speech therapist in a school, not a classroom teacher, but I liked Rafe Esquith's Real Talk for Real Teachers. I haven't read his other book, Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, but I've heard good things about it.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:12 PM on October 24, 2016

I've gotten an incredible amount of value from the Teach for America materials, particularly Instructional Planning and Delivery (PDF). I haven't taught with TFA, but no one else talks about having learning objectives nearly as precisely and meaningfully as they do. More available at
posted by danceswithlight at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2016

I've also heard many teachers highly recommend The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar. I haven't read it myself (yet), but a cursory glance via the Amazon preview suggests that it's an excellent resource.
posted by danceswithlight at 4:38 PM on October 24, 2016

Please ignore the terrible title and read Teach Like a Champion 2.0. It is by far the best book on teaching I've ever read.
posted by Barnifer at 6:23 PM on October 24, 2016

Dan Spalding's How to Teach Adults is good. The first edition is available from his website as a free ebook.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:09 PM on October 24, 2016

Paley is great. I have to add Teaching Children to Care and The Power of Our Words. As a teacher of young children, these are absolutely the most valuable and practically useful books I've come across.
posted by transient at 10:39 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

2nding Teaching Children to Care. It was my Bible. Also, when I graduated with my teaching certification, my program director gave us all a copy of 36 Children.
posted by Miko at 7:54 PM on October 28, 2016

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