Parents, educators, school staff—and anyone who cares about educating our children should read these books
Happy Education Week!
Once again, our Minister of Education made a declaration.
MLA Wayne Ewasko hath declared April 18–22, 2022 to be Education Week here in Manitoba.
Great! So…. Education funding will improve?
Greater supports for school staff and students?
Oh. But we’ll get better ventilation in schools at least, for sure, right? I mean, the Covid pandemic has been ongoing for more than two years, surely by now they’ve figured something out… right?
In honour of educators and school staff everywhere, I share with you my collection of related book recommendations and articles.
Books About Education and School
Education & School
Connections over Compliance, by Lori L Desautels : This book is aimed at school administrators and school staff, but is also an important read for parents, especially parents whose children have challenges in the school environment. This book can provide parents tools for advocating for their differently wired children in the school system, and has invaluable advice for any adult working with children. A key take-away is that focusing on relationship-building first and foremost is a necessity when helping children and teens work through big feelings and difficult situations.
Managing ADHD in School, Dr. Russel Barkley : This book is also primarily geared towards teachers, but is also very helpful for parents to read so they can work collaboratively with their child’s school.
Lost and Found, by Dr. Ross Greene: This is an updated and revised edition of “Lost At School”. This book explains Dr. Greene’s Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) approach, which focuses on the problems that are causing concerning behaviours, and helps school staff partner with students to solve those problems rather than simply modifying the behaviour.
Lost at School, Dr. Ross Greene: A compassionate, child-centred approach to supporting children who are struggling at school. This book focuses on children who exhibit challenging behaviours in the school environment, it is aimed at teachers, but is also very helpful for parents to read so they can work collaboratively with their school from a perspective of “ children do well when they can”. Please visit www.livesinthebalance.org to learn more about Dr. Ross Greene and his collaborative, proactive approach and philosophy.
Nowhere to Hide, Jerome Schultz : Although the title is a bit dramatic, this book is incredibly compassionate and also evidence-based. It explained, from a scientific and also empathic viewpoint, why children with ADHD and learning disabilities may be so resistant and stressed (or, as some like to call it, “ defiant”) at school.
Relationship-Based Education, Dr. Josette Luvmour : This book outlines key components of Relationship-based Education that are essential for every teacher and parent to engage when teaching children. Take home message: children and students can’t learn until they feel safe and have a relationship with their educator (and an educator can be a teacher, parent, coach, etc.). This book is currently *FREE* as an eBook with a Kindle Unlimited membership (I have no affiliation).
Wounded by School, Kirsten Olson : This book may be difficult to read because we may see ourselves and our children in so many of the stories shared. Wounded by School talks about how our traditional school system can be harmful for those children who do not fit within their box of what an ideal student should be. Thankfully this book also talks about ways in which we can heal from school trauma and ways we can use our past difficulties to motivate us to push for change.
Declarative Language Handbook, by Linda K. Murphy: Using a thoughtful language style to help kids with social learning challenges feel competent, connected, and understood. This book would be beneficial for parents, educators, and anyone who supports or works with children. Actually, declarative language can be adapted to work with people of any age. It helps to reduce conflict and promotes social and interpersonal skills. This book is currently *FREE* as an eBook with a Kindle Unlimited membership (I have no affiliation).
Kids These Days, by Jody Carrington: This book combines many of my favourite writers, researchers, psychologists, and philosophers in one easy-to-read and easy-to-understand book. If you enjoyed (or have been wanting to read) Self Reg, Raising a Secure Child, Lost and Found, or Relationship-based Educaiton, this book has elements of all of these. Kids These Days is written for educators, but is a book that anyone who cares about children should read.
Anything and everything by Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn is an educator, researcher, critical thinker, author, and general smart-ass (and I love that about him).
The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Coddled Kids, Helicopter Parents, and Other Phony Crises — Alfie Kohn shows us that complaints about pushover parents and coddled kids are hardly new, and there is no evidence that either phenomenon is especially widespread today — let alone more common than in previous generations.
Punished by Rewards — Using rewards and consequences to manipulate children’s behaviour causes them to become more self-centred rather than less, because they’re focusing on how to obtain rewards and avoid punishments, not on doing what’s right for the sake of being kind to themselves and others.
The Case Against Standardized Testing — I think most educators and administrators will agree with Kohn on the myriad problems behind standardized testing. In this book, he concisely explains just how little test results really tell us and how harmful a test-driven curriculum can be.
The Homework Myth — Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, teachers continue to assign overwhelming amounts of homework to younger and younger students each year. This faulty idea that we can help gets “get ahead” in school completely ignores what is developmentally appropriate for children. It also focuses on entirely the wrong priorities for childhood.
Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community — The focus of classroom and behaviour management seems to always be about strategies to get students to comply with the adult’s expectations. Why is blind obedience and compliance our perpetual goal, rather than teaching children critical thinking skills, and fostering a love of learning?
Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling — A belief that harder automatically means better threatens to banish both joy and meaningful intellectual inquiry from our classrooms. Alfie Kohn’s collection of essays question the assumptions too often taken for granted in discussions about education and human behaviour.
Visit Alfie’s website for more books, essays, and articles.
My Articles Related to Education
There are even more!
Those are just the education-related pieces I’ve written over the past six months. The previous six months are compiled here:
When you join medium, as a member you’ll have access to unlimited reads for only $5 per month. If you use my referral link, I’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll earn my undying gratitude.
I also write about neurodiversity, ADHD, autism, parenting, advocacy, disabilities, mental health, and psychology. I’ve been named a Top Writer in four different categories.