5 Thoughtful Books About Teaching And Education

Our educational system needs to adapt and change, and some advances need to come from the top, while other innovations can come from individual teachers and the students they help. These authors all examine the ways people learn and how we can use our understanding of the processes of knowledge acquisition and retention to teach them more effectively. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Books Inviting Readers to Think About Education

Title Author Also by the Author
What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America Ted Dintersmith Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era (with Tony Wagner)
Reclaiming Personalized Learning: A Pedagogy for Restoring Equity and Humanity in Our Classrooms Paul Emerich France Supporting LGBTQ Students in Elementary School (published in Edutopia)
Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning Pooja K. Agarwal and Patrice M. Bain Powerful Learning Is All About Retrieval (by Agarwal, in ASCD Education Update)
The Writing Shop: Putting 'Shop' Back in Writing Workshop Suzanne Farrell Smith The Memory Sessions
The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux Cathy N. Davidson Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn

Ted Dintersmith on Standardized Testing

High School Graduation Rates By State

As of the 2016-17 school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics

State Graduation Rate State Graduation Rate
Alabama 89.3% Montana 85.8%
Alaska 78.2% Nebraska 89.1%
Arizona 78.0% Nevada 80.9%
Arkansas 88.0% New Hampshire 88.9%
California 82.7% New Jersey 90.5%
Colorado 79.1% New Mexico 71.1%
Connecticut 87.9% New York 81.8%
Delaware 86.9% North Carolina 86.6%
Florida 82.3% North Dakota 87.2%
Georgia 80.6% Ohio 84.2%
Hawaii 82.7% Oklahoma 82.6%
Idaho 79.7% Oregon 76.7%
Illinois 87.0% Pennsylvania 86.6%
Indiana 83.8% Rhode Island 84.1%
Iowa 91.0% South Carolina 83.6%
Kansas 86.5% South Dakota 83.7%
Kentucky 89.7% Tennessee 89.8%
Louisiana 78.1% Texas 89.7%
Maine 86.9% Utah 86.0%
Maryland 87.7% Vermont 89.1%
Massachusetts 88.3% Virginia 86.9%
Michigan 80.2% Washington 79.4%
Minnesota 82.7% West Virginia 89.4%
Mississippi 83.0% Wisconsin 88.6%
Missouri 88.3% Wyoming 86.2%

Cathy N. Davidson: How to Revolutionize the University

In Depth

As the educational needs of students continue to evolve, teachers are finding new ways to innovate in the classroom. Fortunately, there are numerous publications available to provide them with inspiration and fresh teaching strategies. Here, in no particular order, are books offering engaging and earnest insights into education.

At #1 is What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith. The book details the author's travels to every state in America to visit two hundred schools in a single academic year to discuss innovation in the classroom. John Merrow of PBS NewsHour calls it inspiring and deeply moving, while United States Senator Maggie Hassan hails it as thought provoking.

The book's discussion guide explores questions regarding essential skill sets for students, standardized tests, the role of college, and education reform. Dintersmith also helped produce the documentary Most Likely To Succeed, which was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. He has contributed articles to the Washington Post and CNN.

He has contributed articles to the Washington Post and CNN.

Entering the list at #2 is Reclaiming Personalized Learning by Paul Emerich France. The book explores such topics as how to nurture students, ways to humanize technology integration, and tips on designing curriculum. Tony Wagner, senior research fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, praises the text as brilliant and deems it essential reading for new and experienced teachers alike.

Paul Emerich France is a National Board Certified Educator in Chicago. His writing has appeared in a number of prominent education publications, such as EdSurge, ASCD's Educational Leadership, and Literacy Today. He has also been featured in the New Yorker. He frequently speaks at industry conferences including SXSW E.D.U. and Building Learning Communities.

In the #3 spot is Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning by Pooja K. Agarwal and Patrice M. Bain. In the book, they illustrate ways to successfully conquer everyday challenges in the classroom. In addition, the book offers tips on how educators can think critically about their teaching practices.

In the book, they illustrate ways to successfully conquer everyday challenges in the classroom.

Agarwal is an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, teaching psychological science to undergraduate musicians. She is also the founder of Retrieval Practice, a hub of resources and teaching strategies. Her research has been highlighted by The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American, and Education Week, and recognized by the National Science Foundation.

Coming in at #4 is The Writing Shop by Suzanne Farrell Smith. The author reimagines the traditional writing class by studying different kinds of workshops, including carpentry, textile, and machine. The book offers practical advice, encourages exploration and experimentation, and introduces skills beyond the mechanics of composition.

Farrell Smith teaches at the Westport Writers' Workshop and serves as a creative advisor to the Longridge Review. Her work appears in numerous literary and academic journals, and has been listed as Notable in The Best American Essays. Her flash essay, If You Find a Mouse on a Glue Trap, published in Brevity, won a Pushcart Prize.

Farrell Smith teaches at the Westport Writers' Workshop and serves as a creative advisor to the Longridge Review.

Wrapping up the list at #5 is The New Education by Cathy N. Davidson. The book profiles educators from elite private schools, public universities, and community colleges who are remaking their classrooms through creativity and collaboration. Kirkus Reviews calls it engaging, while Jill Lepore of Harvard University hails it as important and illuminating.

Davidson is a professor in the Ph.D. program in English at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She also served as Duke University's first vice provost of interdisciplinary studies. During her tenure, she introduced the iPod experiment, which encouraged students to design new learning applications for the device. She detailed the exercise in her book, Now You See It.