Books – Teaching Philosophy/General Teaching Advice

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He’s the Weird Teacher by Doug Robertson

Doug Robertson takes all the creative energy and zany antics he uses to inspire the students in his classroom and has channeled it into a fun to read, irreverent, but deeply meaningful guide to teaching. (Goodreads)

Bethany’s sister, an elementary teacher, recommended this book. It is a quick read, but don’t be deceived by that! This book is informative, fun, and gets to the heart of teaching with both philosophical ponderings and proven teaching techniques. Good for teachers and parents alike!

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Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire’s work has taken on especial urgency in the United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in cities and urban centers is increasingly accepted as the norm. With a substantive new introduction on Freire’s life and the remarkable impact of this book by writer and Freire confidant and authority Donaldo Macedo, this anniversary edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed will inspire a new generation of educators, students, and general readers for years to come. (Goodreads)

Recommended by Bethany’s undergraduate TESL professor, this book leans on the philosophical side of praxis. In many ways, this is a book for educators and those seeking an education, but in other ways, this is a book that analyzes social dynamics. It is not a new book, but it remains relative today.

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Teacher by Sylvia Ashton Warner

TEACHER was first published in 1963 to excited acclaim. Its author, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, who lived in New Zealand and spent many years teaching Maori children, found that Maoris taught according to British methods were not learning to read. They were passionate, moody children, bred in an ancient legend-haunted tradition; how could she build them a bridge to European culture that would enable them to take hold of the great joy of reading? Ashton-Warner devised a method whereby written words became prized possessions for her students. Today, her findings are strikingly relevant to the teaching of socially disadvantaged and non-English-speaking students. TEACHER is part diary, part inspired description of Ashton-Warner’s teaching method in action. Her fiercely loved children come alive individually, as do the unique setting and the character of this extraordinary woman. (Amazon)

We admit this description sounds quite a bit like Ashton-Warner is a “white savior,” but her approach to teaching is definitely worth reading, especially when dealing with true beginner ESL students. One thing Ashton-Warner did well was to help her students find their agency.

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The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen

Continuing the case for free voluntary reading set out in the book’s 1993 first edition, this new, updated, and much-looked-for second edition explores new research done on the topic in the last ten years as well as looking anew at some of the original research reviewed. Krashen also explores research surrounding the role of school and public libraries and the research indicating the necessity of a print-rich environment that provides light reading (comics, teen romances, magazines) as well as the best in literature to assist in educating children to read with understanding and in second language acquisition. He looks at the research surrounding reading incentive/rewards programs and specifically at the research on AR (Accelerated Reader) and other electronic reading products. (Amazon)

We cannot recommend this book enough. Our thoughts: read, read, read, read, read!

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