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Recommended Books to Read

I often ask my guests on the Mr Barton Maths Podcast what books they would recommend teachers to read. People regularly get in contact to ask for links to these books, so I have decided to put them all in one place.

All the links take you to Amazon. Now, you are under no obligation to buy them from Amazon... but if you did, then I get a few pennies commission. But please don't feel any pressure ;-)

Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom

Daniel T. Willingham
Tom Bennett Dan Willingham, rare among cognitive scientists for also being a wonderful writer, has produced a book about learning in school that reads like a trip through a wild and thrilling new country. For teachers and parents, even students, there are surprises on every page. Did you know, for instance,that our brains are not really made for thinking?


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Experiencing School Mathematics

Jo Boaler
Dylan Wiliam Experiencing School Mathematics is the first book of its kind to provide direct evidence for the effectiveness of 'traditional' and 'progressive' teaching methods. It reports upon careful and extensive case studies of two schools which taught mathematics in totally different ways. Three hundred students were followed over three years and the interviews that are reproduced in the book give compelling insights into what it meant to be a student in the classrooms of the two schools. The different school approaches are compared and analysed using student interviews, lesson observations, questionnaires given to students and staff and a range of different assessments, including GCSE examinations.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

A Mathematicians Apology

G H Hardy
Dylan Wiliam A Mathematician's Apology is the famous essay by British mathematician G. H. Hardy. It concerns the aesthetics of mathematics with some personal content, and gives the layman an insight into the mind of a working mathematician. Indeed, this book is often considered one of the best insights into the mind of a working mathematician written for the layman.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching

Jo Bolaer
Dylan Wiliam  Drawing on her extensive research with thousands of students, author Jo Boaler reveals how teachers, parents, and other caregivers can transform children′s ideas and experiences of math through a positive growth mindset method. Filled with illustrative examples, Mathematical Mindsets is an important guide to the information, techniques, and activities that can be put in place to make math more enjoyable and achievable for all students. Mathematical Mindsets shows how the entire approach to math teaching and learning from paying attention to the math questions and reviewing the tasks students work on to the methods teachers and parents use to encourage or grade students needs to be changed to help students realize the joys of learning and understanding math.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning)

Liping Ma
Dylan Wiliam and
Ed Southall
This book describes the nature and development of the "profound understanding of fundamental mathematics" that elementary teachers need to become accomplished mathematics teachers, and suggests why such teaching knowledge is much more common in China than the United States, despite the fact that Chinese teachers have less formal education than their U.S. counterparts.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Charming Proofs: A Journey into Elegant Mathematics

Claudi Alsina and Roger B. Nelsen
Ed Southall Theorems and their proofs lie at the heart of mathematics. In speaking of the purely aesthetic qualities of theorems and proofs, G. H. Hardy wrote that in beautiful proofs 'there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy'. Charming Proofs presents a collection of remarkable proofs in elementary mathematics that are exceptionally elegant, full of ingenuity, and succinct. By means of a surprising argument or a powerful visual representation, the proofs in this collection will invite readers to enjoy the beauty of mathematics, and to develop the ability to create proofs themselves. The authors consider proofs from topics such as geometry, number theory, inequalities, plane tilings, origami and polyhedra. Secondary school and university teachers can use this book to introduce their students to mathematical elegance. More than 130 exercises for the reader (with solutions) are also included.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Researching Your Own Practice: The Discipline of Noticing

John Mason
Mark McCourt The discipline of noticing is a groundbreaking approach to professional development and research, based upon noticing a possibility for the future, noticing a possibility in the present moment and reflecting back on what has been noticed before in order to prepare for the future. John Mason, one of the discipline's most authoritative exponents, provides us here with a clear, persuasive and practical guide to its understanding and implementation.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Collaborative Learning in Mathematics: A Challenge to Our Beliefs and Practices

Malcolm Swan
Mark McCourt Many people find mathematics an impenetrable subject. It is a subject where it seems possible to spend many years practising skills and notations without having any substantial understanding of the underlying concepts. This book describes one systematic attempt to intervene and transform this situation. It documents the difficulties experienced by teachers and students as they attempt to adopt new approaches to teaching and learning - approaches based on collaborative discussion and reflection. The book describes an iterative design approach to research and development in which theoretical arguments and reviews of existing research studies are brought together in the design of innovative teaching approaches. These are evaluated in typical classrooms and the outcomes lead to the further refinement of the theories and approaches. Revised approaches are then tested further on a wider scale. The emerging results reveal ways in which teaching methods in mathematics may be designed to become more effective.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Understanding Mathematics for Young Children

Derek Haylock
Mark McCourt If you are a teacher or student teacher in a nursery or primary school, you need a secure understanding of the mathematical ideas behind the material you will use in the classroom. To help young children develop their understanding of mathematics, you need to develop your own understanding of how mathematics is learnt.

In this indispensible book, the authors help you to understand mathematical concepts and how children come to understand them, and also help develop your own confidence with mathematical activities.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Children Discover Arithmetic: Introduction to Structural Arithmetic

Catherine Stern
Mark McCourt It is a tragedy for junior school education that this book is unavailable, at least for the present. The methods advocated in it are tried and tested and not just by Sterne herself. Many of the methods had been used previously by other extremely successful maths. teachers, notably W.T.E.Davies, the late headmaster of Barry Island Junior School in South Wales. The book genuinely treats the early years of maths., that is arithmetic, as being structured. This seemingly obvious approach is not always followed by those wishing primarily to make names for themselves. If, however, it is followed, the claims made in the book are soon found to be justified,- a fact attested to by many.
This book should be compulsory reading for all intending infant and primary school teachers and the methods it advocates should be adopted in all our junior schools. This act alone would have an enormous positive impact on maths. teaching in Britain, provided the advocated methods were adhered to rigidly.
I sincerely hope this admirable book will be back in print soon and remain in print for many years to come.


Amazon Link Title and Author Recommended by Description

Action Research: Principles and practice

Jean McNiff
Mark McCourt The book is a valuable addition to the literature on research methods in education and nursing and healthcare, and professional education, and contributes to contemporary debates about the generation and dissemination of knowledge and its potential influence for wider social and environmental contexts.

Practitioners across the professions who are planning action research in their own work settings will find this book a helpful introduction to the subject while those studying on higher degree courses will find it an indispensable resource.