Books Encountered & Recommended before 2011
The Power of Mindful Learning – Ellen Langer : Not quackery or new age. Langer is a Harvard Psychologist after all.
The Farther Reaches of Human Nature – Abraham Maslow: Forget the hierarchy, it’s a tiny amount of what this man wrote about and not even the best bit. He’s also funny.
You Are Thinking of Teaching? – Seymour Sarason (out of print so get a used one for about 50p): The only book I’ve ever read that tells you all the really crap things about being a teacher. Sarason is one of the best and most honest writers I’ve ever been entertained by. If anyone asks you about becoming a teacher GET THEM THIS. If they still go into the profession then they are supposed to be there.
How to Write a Lot – Paul J. Silva : It’s not really about writing a lot, it’s about writing well. I did two degrees before I could write a clearly understandable essay. The switch never came about because of a professor, or pratice, or a writer’s workshop – it happened because of this book (andanother by Howard Becker but if you’re only going for one then Silva is the snappier read).
Attachment Theory and the Teacher-Student Relationship – Philip Riley (£24.60): Freud said that everyone should have therapy, but if one group really really should have it, that group is teachers. Of course, Freud also seemed to suggest women couldn’t really comprehend existence so there’s a lot of bullshit in his developmental twaddle too. However a few idiotic proclamations should not have us denying the importance of attachment and relationships to what happens in our classrooms. People sometimes get scared when I recommend this book, afraid that their own moments of feeling unloved are going to resurface when it is ‘long behind them’, but that is precisely why teachers should read this. All day long we deal with kids who use emotion as a weapon to get at us – being prepared for that is part of the responsibility of a teacher and learning to respond in healthy ways is a life’s work. If you’re not scared of reading it, do so, and see if you still think it’s psycho-crap by the time you get to the end.