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Recommended Books for Teachers 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, together with a link to the podcast episode where they were recommended. I have also added my favourite selection of books on education that I have read over the years that were not already mentioned by guests.

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 ;-)

This page is a complement to my Recommended Educational Research Articles for Teachers to Read which contains links to articles and research suggested by my guests.

Contents

Books Recommended by Podcast Guests keyboard_arrow_up
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Title: Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
Author: Benedict Carey
Recommended by: Robert Bjork
Amazon description:
To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick "turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Title: How We Learn: Throw out the rule book and unlock your brain’s potential
Author: Benedict Carey
Recommended by: Robert Bjork
Amazon description:
The powerful, super-fresh new science of how the brain learns

Title:
Seven Myths About Education
Author: Daisy Christodoulou
Recommended by: Dani Quinn
Amazon description:
In this controversial new book, Daisy Christodoulou offers a thought-provoking critique of educational orthodoxy. Drawing on her recent experience of teaching in challenging schools, she shows through a wide range of examples and case studies just how much classroom practice contradicts basic scientific principles. She examines seven widely-held beliefs which are holding back pupils and teachers:
- Facts prevent understanding 
- Teacher-led instruction is passive  
- The 21st century fundamentally changes everything  
- You can always just look it up  
- We should teach transferable skills  
- Projects and activities are the best way to learn  
- Teaching knowledge is indoctrination.
 
Title: Teach like a Champion
Author: Doug Lemov
Recommended by: Dani Quinn
Amazon description:
This teaching guide is a must–have for new and experienced teachers alike. Over 700,000 teachers around the world already know how the techniques in this book turn educators into classroom champions. With ideas for everything from classroom management to inspiring student engagement, you will be able to perfect your teaching practice right away.

Title:
Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning)
Author: Liping Ma
Recommended by: Dylan Wiliam and Ed Southall
Amazon description:
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.

Title: The Academic Achievement Challenge: What Really Works in the Classroom?
Author: Jeanne S. Chall
Recommended by: Greg Ashman
Amazon description:
This volume addresses one of the central issues in education: how best to instruct our students. From the late Jeanne S. Chall, Professor of Education at Harvard University and a leading figure in American education, the book reviews and evaluates the many educational reforms and innovations that have been proposed and employed over the past century. Systematically analyzing a vast body of qualitative and quantitative research, Chall compares achievement rates that result from traditional, teacher-centered approaches with those resulting from progressive, student-centered methods.

Title: Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom
Author: Daniel T. Willingham
Recommended by: Tom Bennett
Amazon description:
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?

Title: What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Psychology
Author: David Didau and Nick Rose
Recommended by: Greg Ashman
Amazon description:
Much of what we do in classrooms is intuitive, steered by what 'feels right', but all too often intuition proves a poor, sometimes treacherous guide. Although what we know about the workings of the human brain is still pitifully little, the science of psychology can and has revealed certain surprising findings that teachers would do well to heed.

Title: Understanding Mathematics for Young Children
Author: Derek Haylock
Recommended by: Mark McCourt
Amazon description:
In this indispensable 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.

Title: Researching Your Own Practice: The Discipline of Noticing
Author: John Mason
Recommended by: Mark McCourt
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Experiencing School Mathematics
Author: Jo Boaler
Recommended by: Dylan Wiliam
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Visible Learning for Teachers 
Author: John Hattie
Recommended by: Greg Ashman
Amazon description:
In November 2008, John Hattie’s ground-breaking book Visible Learning synthesised the results of more than fifteen years research involving millions of students and represented the biggest ever collection of evidence-based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning.

Title: A Mathematician's Apology
Author: G H Hardy
Recommended by: Dylan Wiliam
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Collaborative Learning in Mathematics: A Challenge to Our Beliefs and Practices
Author: Malcolm Swan
Recommended by: Mark McCourt
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching
Author: Jo Bolaer
Recommended by: Dylan Wiliam
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Step-By-Step Model Drawing: Solving Word Problems the Singapore Way
Author: Char Forsten
Recommended by: Paul Rowlandson
Amazon description:
Educators Resource offers products for preK-8 learning materials and educational toys used by schools, teachers, parents and children. At last, here's the problem-solving approach to math that teachers have been looking for. As Bob and Char walk them through this process, adapted from the much-acclaimed Singapore system, they'll learn how to apply the same 8 steps to everything from simple addition to rates, ratios, and percentages.

Title: Questioning and Explaining in Classrooms
Author: Trevor Kerry
Recommended by: Paul Rowlandson
Amazon description:
This text addresses traditional skills for classroom management, as well as adapting these skills for modern schools and adopting new ones for the future. Questioning and explaining are two vital areas for teaching, and this book explores them, with ideas for everyday classroom use.

Title: Teaching for Understanding
Author: Douglas P Newton
Recommended by: Paul Rowlandson
Amazon description:
At a time when league tables can be everything, examination grades matter. Perhaps more than many would admit, the cost is a lack of understanding. The new edition of this book provides practical advice about how to support understanding in both children and adults. It is for all teachers and lecturers, experienced or otherwise, who want learners to do more than simply memorize and regurgitate information. It describes what understanding means in the different subjects and offers a framework for supporting understanding.

Title: Charming Proofs: A Journey into Elegant Mathematics
Author: Claudi Alsina and Roger B. Nelsen
Recommended by: Ed Southall
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Children Discover Arithmetic: Introduction to Structural Arithmetic
Author: Catherine Stern
Recommended by: Mark McCourt
Amazon description:
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.

Title: Action Research: Principles and practice
Author: Jean McNiff
Recommended by: Mark McCourt
Amazon description:
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.

Books Recommended by me keyboard_arrow_up
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Title: Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning
Author: Daisy Christodoulou
Amazon description:
Making Good Progress? is a research-informed examination of formative assessment practices that analyses the impact Assessment for Learning has had in our classrooms. Making Good Progress? outlines practical recommendations and support that Primary and Secondary teachers can follow in order to achieve the most effective classroom-based approach to ongoing assessment. Written by Daisy Christodoulou, Head of Assessment at Ark Academy, Making Good Progress? offers clear, up-to-date advice to help develop and extend best practice for any teacher assessing pupils in the wake of life beyond levels.

Title: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers: The Michaela Way
Author: Katharine Birbalsingh
Amazon description:
At Michaela, teachers think differently, overturning many of the ideas that have become orthodoxy in English schools. In this book, over 20 Michaela teachers explore controversial ideas that improve the lives of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. Michaela is blazing a trail in education, defying many of the received notions about what works best in schools.
Michaela teachers, from founders to classroom teachers to senior leaders, lead readers through different aspects of what makes Michaela unique. The school gets hundreds of visitors a year. So many ask: what's the secret? But the reality is that it isn't only one thing that makes Michaela work.

Title: Yes, but why? Teaching for understanding in mathematics
Author: Ed Southall
Amazon description:
Ask yourself: why do we have odd and even numbers? Why do two negative numbers multiply to make a positive? Why do fraction operations work? What is cosine and where does it come from? Yes, but why? answers all of your questions, and sheds light on the hidden connections between everything in mathematics at school. Maths makes sense. It always has, but until now maybe no-one ever showed you.

Title: The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths
Author: Jo Bolaer
Amazon description:
Jo Boaler offers concrete solutions for parents and teachers that will revolutionise children's experiences with maths. Drawing on Jo Boaler's work with Carol Dweck, demonstrating how teachers and parents can give children a growth mindset, while investigating changes to the National Curriculum The Elephant in the Classroom shows where we are in mathematics education. Along with practical teaching activities, strategies and questions that can transform a child s mathematical future Jo Boaler shares a range of free and accessible online resources.