Which of these Top 10 Books on Teaching would you most like to read?


Thank you, James M. Lang, for a convenient Top 10 list posted in this week’s Chronicle.  Hard to disagree with this statement:

I firmly believe that if every teaching faculty member could carve out the time to read one or two great books on teaching and learning every year, we would collectively serve our students much better than we do already.

Many of us read Ken Bain’s book (#1) as part of Faculty Center reading groups a few years ago, and How Learning Works (#3) was the text for a Faculty Center reading group this spring. What looks good to you for some fall reading group selections?


Developing creativity in our students and in ourselves

From a recent piece by Alison James and Stephen D. Brookfield in Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter, here’s a list of four things creative teachers ask themselves as they face the task of course planning:

Creative teachers are open to using many pedagogic models, including problem based or inquiry based learning, dependent on the context for learning.  They ask themselves what different kinds of students they are dealing with, what they wish the students to be able to know or do, how best to use the time and other resources available to them, and what successful colleagues have done that they can steal.

That certainly helps to explains why prepping for classes can take much, much longer than we think (hope/expect) it will. I appreciate seeing this often internalized process articulated!

The authors of Engaging Imagination: Helping Students Become Creative and Reflective Thinkers (Jossey-Bass, 2014) discuss the importance of emotional intelligence and suggest that “anyone working in fluid situations involving colleagues and clients relies far more on the limbic system [the part that controls emotions],” so it’s worthwhile to consider ways to develop creativity and emotional intelligence in our students and in ourselves. The good news is, teaching offers us lots of opportunities for creative growth:

Unless you choose to sleepwalk your way through your teaching days and ignore how students are responding to learning, no matter what the discipline you teach, your work as a teacher is inherently creative.