On December 12, 2013, I posted this on Facebook.
Dear learners and educators,
Please think about one book you have read about education that has greatly influenced your thinking or practice or learning, and post the title of it in a comment. I’m trying to make myself a deliberate reading list. Thanks!
My friends, relatives, and colleagues — all of whom work in or care about education — suggested the following. Two of the titles were actually Christmas gifts to me from my daughters, Lydia and Grace, who probably saw the post on Facebook but did not at the time respond.
This is a lot of reading. I put the list below as a reminder to myself and also as a resource for others. Also for Christmas I received a handmade notebook from my son Eli. I am reserving it for making notes and reflections on this course of reading.
I begin with bell hooks and Teaching to Transgress because (a) I already own the book but have never read it and (b) new projects should begin with radical inspiration. Here is the first paragraph from her first chapter, “Engaged Pedagogy”:
To education as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. That learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.
And here we go. Most of these books do not directly apply to my work as a teacher of scientific and technical communication and college students in a private research university, but it is my belief that any books on writing, education, or human development are relevant to my thinking and practice. There are 17 listed and linked. Please add your suggestion(s) in a comment.
Change-Prompting Books on Education
A Surge of Language: Teaching Poetry Day by Day, by David Capella and Baron Wormser (recommended by Meghan Cadwallader, a poet and director of admissions)
Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, by bell hooks (recommended by Sally Kokernak Millwood, trained as a social worker)
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez, by Richard Rodriguez (recommended by Karen Baloo, a pseudonym for a psychology professor)
Writing/Teaching: Essays Toward a Rhetoric of Pedagogy, by Paul Kameen (recommended by Anne Geller, a writing program director, who says she thinks all the time about Kameen’s thinking on “the difference between performing being and performing becoming” and indicates that the book is also online: link for the download)
Student Writing: Access, Regulation, Desire, by Theresa Lillis (also recommended by Anne Geller)
Experience and Art, by Nancy Smith; When Teachers Reflect: Journeys Toward Effective, Inclusive Practice, edited by Elizabeth A. Tertell; and The Colors of Learning: Integrating the Visual Arts into the Early Childhood Curriculum, by Rosemary Althouse (all three recommended by Ann M. Lacey, who teaches young children, which once included Eli and Lydia!)
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv (recommended by Vibeke Andersen Guterman, a teacher of young children)
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life, by Parker Palmer (recommended by both Mary Caulfield, a fellow lecturer at MIT, and Neal Lerner, writing scholar and associate director of a writing program)
A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, by Ron Suskind (recommended by Susan D’Entremont, an archivist, PTO president, and fellow alumna of Wellesley College)
Democracy and Education, by John Dewey. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser (recommended by Diane Felicio, who is a former professor now senior manager in health care fund raising, who also mentions bell hooks and Audre Lord as worth reading)
They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein (recommended by Leia Davies Richardson, a high school English teacher who like me has her MA in English from Simmons College)
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, by Keith Johnstone (recommended by James Powers-Black, writer, singer, actor, writing center director, and university administrator)
The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism, by Naoki Higashida (given/recommended by Grace Guterman, 8th grade student)
Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, by Diane Ravitch (given/recommended by Lydia Guterman, high school senior)