10 Books That Can Revolutionize Teaching Practice

Excellent professional development may just be one book away.

Mature woman at home reading

There are very few books that will resonate with every member of your staff. But the right book can make a big difference with the right teacher. By forming small study groups, you can give teachers the chance to read and discuss books that will enhance their skills in ways that will positively impact their performance in the classroom. This collection of titles offers teachers the chance to explore niche interests that could benefit your whole community.

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1. I Wish My Teacher Knew: How One Question Can Change Everything for Our Kids by Kyle Schwartz

Excellent teaching and learning happen when strong relationships are at the foundation of the classroom experience. Eye-opening and inspiring, this book suggests practical ways to engage kids and build community at all ages.

2. Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls by Lisa Damour, PhD

This is the much-anticipated second book by Dr. Lisa Damour, New York Times  columnist  and expert on teenage  girls . Her work provides solid analysis of common behavioral issues. Damour offers practical approaches for adults who want to help girls find more joy in their learning.

3. Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them  by Ross Green, PhD

Developing disciplinary practices for students with a wide variety of needs is a challenge. Greene’s powerful vision for systematic change is great food for thought for any group of educators. This is a must read for any school looking to reevaluate their disciplinary culture.

4. Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

As the college admissions process had grown more competitive, student anxiety around it has increased. Bruni, a  New York Times columnist , offers a refreshing reframing of the admissions process. If you work in a high school, your students could benefit from the common language and pragmatic approach that Bruni describes.

5. Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD

So many great conversations about gender in school have focused on empowering girls. Boys Adrift does essential work by starting a conversation about underachieving boys. This book arms adults with excellent tools to help serve this population at your school.

6. Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education by Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo

We all start in very different places in our approaches to equity and inclusion. For teachers at the beginning of their learning, the path can seem intimidating. Is Everyone Really Equal? provides a judgment-free threshold for teachers wanting to begin learning about social justice issues in the classroom.

7. The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students by Jessica Minihan and Nancy Rappaport, MD

Most teachers know that good classroom management makes teaching and learning easier. However, not all teachers are confident in responding to students with challenging behavior. Minihan and Rappaport—one a child psychologist and the other a behavioral analyst—offer priceless advice for supporting students. Learning the science behind behavior gives teachers language and perspective to help kids move forward.

8. Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess

There comes a time in the school year when we all need a little boost. Dave Burgess’ seminars and books offer inspiring ways to spark student engagement and investment. Burgess shows readers how to unleash their creative genius to create fun and engaging classroom experiences. Bonus: This approach has a huge following on Twitter, and there are a variety of weekly chats associated with it. Search the hashtag #tlap to find them.

9. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel, MD

If you work with teenagers, then you know that they are both challenging and wonderful. Few of us know the brain science behind their emotional dynamics. Siegel combines clear explanations and great strategies for coaching kids through this tumultuous time. This is a great book for those of us trying to guide older kids as they head toward graduation.

10. The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups by Erika Christakis, PhD

Dr. Christakis is a leading expert on early childhood education. And she writes extensively on the importance of play . Christakis offers helpful perspectives for creating inquiry-based experiences for kids to build skills from genuine learning. This read is great for pre-K–5 teams looking to expand their practice.

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Posted by Anne Rubin

Anne Gomez Rubin has been a dean and teacher in Minneapolis, MN, since 2016. She tweets about education, intersectional feminism, and tacos on Twitter at @annegrubin .

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