There have been just a few(!) changes in teaching in the last twelve months. We’ve all been part of or have witnessed the move to online teaching. And linked to that, we’ve also seen a number advances in educational technology. At the same time, diversity and inclusion has been a big focus for schools, publishers and teachers – as has mindfulness in the classroom.
So whatever 2021 brings us, it’s clear that the face of teaching – and education as a whole – is changing.
If you’re focused on staying ahead of the curve or keen to prioritise your professional development this year, our list of essential reading for teachers in 2021 is a great place to start.
1. The Fundamentals of Teaching by Mike Bell
Whether you’re a newly qualified or seasoned teacher, it’s likely that you will be constantly bombarded with tips and advice on how to teach. This can get a little frustrating!
In his latest book, Bell aims to demystify any confusion a teacher may have. He sets out to reveal how learning happens, which teaching methods work best and how to improve a students’ learning. He offers a five-step model for putting teaching research into practice. Using a range of case studies from teachers working with different age groups and subjects, he models practical strategies for:
- Covering prior knowledge
- Presenting new material
- Setting challenging tasks
- Offering feedback
- Using repetition and consolidation
If you’re looking for ways to consolidate your teaching, with clear, simple and well-researched advice, look no further.
2. Slow Teaching by Jamie Thom
‘Slow’ has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years. Meaning the slowing down of an activity, becoming more mindful and making more informed choices, the concept has been used as an antidote to counteract the detrimental effects of our ‘fast’-paced society.
In Slow Teaching, Thom offers a thoughtful exploration of what it truly means to slow down in the field of teaching. He shows the negative impacts of having students mindlessly absorb information at breakneck speed.
Instead, he advocates a slower approach, which he argues will provide better classroom management, offer more meaningful classroom dialogues, and improve students’ retention of knowledge.
Above all, Thom emphasises that “the treadmill approach to teaching can only lead to disillusionment and burn out. Slowing down both professionally and privately, can help to remind us of the many joys of both life and teaching.”
A great read if you’re looking for ways to take a more mindful approach to teaching.
3. Teachers vs Tech by Daisy Christodoulou
Christodoulou recognises the potential of educational technology to help both teachers and learners. In her latest book, she sets out to discover why it hasn’t yet had the transformative impact on education that was expected.
She explores both sides of the argument, exposing successes in the use of ed tech in the classroom, as well as missed opportunities to implement it. She draws case studies from big international teaching brands and up-and-coming startups, providing information about developments in ed tech and their effectiveness in education.
Finally, the book offers a vision for the future of education, examining the need for technology to be developed in line with teachers’ expertise. This, she believes, will improve education for all.
If you’re interested in ed tech, then this book is well worth a read.
4. The Inclusive Classroom by Daniel Sobel and Sara Alston
A new release for 2021, this book offers a guide for effective inclusion within the classroom. Of course, any classroom across the world will have a mix of students from different backgrounds, with different learning capabilities and needs. Yet, catering for all students equally can be challenging for some teachers.
Sobel and Alston offer a guide for teachers looking to provide support to their most vulnerable students. Their aim is to provide methods and activities for teachers looking to maximise the learning experience for the whole class.
Focused on offering solutions, each chapter recommends simple and effective ways to improve learning outcomes for vulnerable students. What’s more, it puts forward back-up ideas for when lessons don’t quite go as planned, as well as real-life anecdotes from teachers who have experienced and overcome problems with inclusion.
If you want to learn more about effective inclusion in the classroom, this book is the perfect mentor.
5. Stop Talking, Start Influencing by Jared Cooney Horvath
A must-read for anyone interested in teaching, this book argues that, in fact, we are all teachers. Horvath argues that there isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t have to disseminate knowledge to others in some way. In the case of teachers, disseminating knowledge is their profession.
So, how can we do this to the best of our abilities? The book draws on Hovarth’s experience conducting brain research at universities, teaching students from 10 to 80 years old and working with schools across 4 continents. He uses this experience and research to provide 12 scientific principles of how people learn. The result is a body of work that shows teachers how to teach in a way that truly influences their students.
Great for anyone looking to maximise their teaching potential!
Teaching in the Online Classroom by Doug Lemov
The closure of schools, in response to the pandemic, has been a common theme of the past year. As a result, a move to the online classroom has prevailed. It goes without saying that not everyone is tech-savvy – and many have found this transition challenging.
Timely in its release, this book offers a handbook for teachers making the move online. Lemov, a teaching expert, studied videos of online teaching in his research for this work. He aims to offer a clear guide to engage and educate students in a virtual environment. Lemov argues that learning these skills is important, as technology-supported teaching may be here to stay.
A valuable tool for any teacher, this book features real-life examples that you can apply and adapt to your own online classroom.