Books for Better Teaching

Take time to educate yourself. Here are just a few books that have changed my life – and my teaching.

I love the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. It is a wonderful resource for teachers of any subject. 

According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their implicit views of where ability comes from. Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a “fixed” theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on having opposite mind set, which involves hard work,learning, training and doggedness are said to have a “growth” or an “incremental” theory of intelligence (growth mindset). Individuals may not necessarily be aware of their own mindset, but their mindset can still be discerned based on their behavior. It is especially evident in their reaction to failure. Fixed-mindset individuals dread failure because it is a negative statement on their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals don’t mind or fear failure as much because they realize their performance can be improved and learning comes from failure. These two mindsets play an important role in all aspects of a person’s life. Dweck argues that the growth mindset will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life.

I have found this book to be very helpful when I encounter anyone (parent or child) who believes that intelligence and ability are innate and have nothing to do with hard work. It’s one of those books that I keep buying over and over because I loan my copy or just give it to a parent I think needs to read it.

 The Mislabeled Child will help you understand all of students better – whether they have a diagnosis or not. Highly recommended.

I had the good fortune to hear Edward Hallowell speak last year and wrote about it. For those of you who have any interest in learning differences and especially Attention Deficit Disorder, please read Driven to Distraction.

The Explosive Child literally saved my life when my children were young. I felt empowered with real strategies after reading it. If you have children or students who lose control and can’t keep it together during lessons please read this book. I’d give you my copy but I’ve already given away dozens.