Motivating Summer Reads: Books to Inspire You
Ahh, summer. Time to sit back, relax and read about 21st century learning.
Education gets a lot of us worked up. Whether we spend our days in the field, have children in it, or just follow it as interested bystanders, there are many of us who love little more than having our eyes opened and being inspired by the topic’s most compelling voices.
If inspiration is something you seek this summer, here are five books you’d do well to take to the beach:
- The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Sir Ken Robinson
Anyone who has read this far is likely already familiar with Ken Robinson (Google his TED Talk on creativity if not). The Element lays out the critical role passion plays in fueling people to reach their greatest potential. Passion is no longer an unnecessary bonus, but instead a factor to be catalyzed in schools and nurtured as a wellspring of energy and growth throughout life.
- Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer
What is creativity? How can we best develop it in ourselves and students? Research in education devotes exceptional time and money toward answering questions of this kind for reading, writing and arithmetic, but we are still in our infancy with understanding creativity. Lehrer handily starts addressing that gap.
- Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Tony Wagner
Readers may already be familiar with Wagner’s earlier best-seller The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the Survival Skills Our Children Need – And What We Can Do About It. Following the worldwide eye-opening it provoked, Wagner’s new book, Creating Innovators, remains a call to action and builds upon his earlier message with more detail and examples of the way in which schools, communities and families can all play a more effective role in developing the best in others.
- Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Jane McGonigal
Of all the books I’ve read lately, this one most opened my eyes to a perspective I didn’t see coming. Whether you currently love or hate video gaming, and whether you think it’s healthy or not, it’s here to stay and playing an increasing role in educational dialogue and practice. McGonigal’s book will leave most non-gaming readers with a newfound respect for games and their unique potential for making great things happen in the real world.
- Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg
Habits are the (habitually) overlooked driving forces that make or break us. Duhigg’s book eloquently brings habits to the fore, explaining how they form, how they work and how we can take charge of them, not them of us. Maybe all fields are as overrun by habits as education. That’s for others to say. Habits certainly play a powerful role in education, too often working against the positive potential educators work hard to achieve. Read this book, notice the habits in your midst, strive to break the bad and nurture the good. The sky’s the limit if we do.
May your summer be full of time to sit back, relax and read. And if it also inspires you to act in any way that improves education, whether as educator, parent or interested bystander, so much the better.
* * * * *
Have you read any of the above titles? Which ones might you pick up this summer? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!