10 Books For Your Teacher Bookshelf

Reading time: 5
Summer Reading Books 2019


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What books are on your reading list?

Teachers time to reflect on their practice is precious, yet the summer holidays provide them with the opportunity to switch off and a moment to read. For some, they choose to research deeply on education topics that interest them the most. It is for this reason I offer a range of books for my readers that will help develop your thinking …

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From the hundreds of books I have received throughout 2019, here are the 10 books I am reading this summer.

1. Stop Talking, Start Influencing

This is a book that will be in my travel suitcase for a number of reasons: teaching, teacher training and neuroscience.

A book full of practical concepts, Jared Cooney Horvath’s book covers brain research at prominent universities, teaching students from 10 to 80 years of age, and working closely with organizations and schools across 4 continents.

The result is a book that shows readers how to impart their knowledge to others in a manner that sticks with and truly influences them – regardless of the situation or circumstance.

Personally, this is a must-read for teachers …


2. Why The Brain Matters

Jon Tibke explores neuroscience and misrepresented claims and what it means for teaching and learning – something I have blogged about for many years.

In this book, teacher, neuromyths and evidence-informed ideas are challenged with thought-provoking tasks.

This book is for teachers who want to end the notion of silly ideas …



3. Principled Resistance

When I was presented with the opportunity by Harvard University to interview Doris A. Santoro, as well as be sent a copy of her book, I jumped at the chance!

I learnt so much just from our podcast and I cannot wait to get to the bottom of her research to unpick why teachers find it so hard to say ‘no’, and what ethical dilemmas we face as educators that may lead teachers to become demoralised, rather than burnt out …

This is a critical and unique resource for teacher educators.



4. 100 Ideas: Questioning

I am a huge fan of questioning pupils in the classroom and I firmly believe that this is a teacher’s greatest repertoire. We can all ask questions, but do we have the ability to hold pupils to account, to engage them and to manage classroom behaviour with effective questioning strategies that unlock learning?

Questioning – or asking the right questions at the right time – provides instant feedback to the teacher and helps all students to progress – whilst at the same time, providing critical feedback for the teacher to inform them which direction to take next.

This is an excellent book and probably one of my favourites in the 100 Ideas series.


5. Celebrating Difference

I am yet to meet the author, but I am working behind-the-scenes to arrange this and have Shaun Dellenty feature on my podcast. Shaun has worked tirelessly to develop a whole school approach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion in our schools.

With the recent incidents in primary schools across Birmingham, this book includes practical strategies to eradicate prejudice, prevent bullying, embrace diversity and improve whole-school outcomes such as attendance and attainment, particularly for parents who hold out communities back!

Every school needs a copy.

6. The Alliance Way

Again, Harvard University got in touch with me and sent me a copy of this book. It later led to a podcast with Tina Owen-Moore and I feel privileged to be able to have a copy and have had the honour of a one-to-one conversation with her.

As well as understanding her research, what I find fascinating about Tina’s work, is not only that it received national recognition across the United States, but to create a bully-free school is not an easy feat!

There is something in this book that we can all learn from …


7. Love To Teach

Kate Jones is a British teacher working in the Middle East and this is her first book. She is very active online and in Love To Teach, Kate presents a wide range of educational research which is accessible and highly-informative.

For a debut book, it is fantastic and a great start for any teacher interested in educational research. The practical resources are easily adaptable and ready to be implemented in any classroom …

This is a good start if you want to translate research into the classroom.



8. The Best For My Child

This is a book I have included in my own research, as well as sharing online over the last year since it was published in 2018.

The Best For My Child is stooped in education history and media experience, in which author and journalist Fiona Miller unpicks the way schools have evolved, and how they now work within the England education system, particularly over the last 10 or 20 years.

This is a good book for all school leaders.


9. Shitstorm

This is an unusual book to list here, first shared with me via Darren Chetty when I met him in early 2019 to record a podcast.

This is a short read that captures online culture accurately. I took particular fascination with this book because of my experiences of social media, particularly using Twitter (as part of my doctoral research), dealing with teachers who have criticised others online, bringing the Teachers’ Standards into disrepute.

This book captures ‘Dr Walter Turner is a wealthy nobody until he accidentally slays a protected lion on the plains of Africa. This niche fallout spirals out of control when global news agencies latch onto the story and celebrity outcry coupled with public uproar cultivates the perfect social media shitstorm…’

This is one example of what we see on social media, even amongst teachers almost every day.

10. Dual Coding With Teachers

Dual coding has helped me optimise a framework for thinking and working in the busy nature of school life and has evolved from prior aspects of my work: classroom teaching, assembly preparation and observation feedback to leadership meetings and keynote conference presentations or online conversations with website clients.

This book is written by Oliver Cavigliolo who asked me to write a chapter for the book – I was just too late to submit my chapter, so you can read it here. It’s a book worth buying …

Why so many reading books?

Over the past 10 years as a blogger, I’ve been sent more books than I could ever read! This is flattering, but in all honesty, it comes with its challenges. Firstly, thanking the author and publisher for a copy is the easy step. Secondly, sharing the book publicly on Teacher Toolkit social media channels. Thirdly, being asked to endorse the book before publication presents a small workload challenge, but I try to meet all requests. You can read my endorsement for Education: A Manifesto for Change.

Until you’ve put your work in front of your peers, no one truly understands the hard work that is required in writing a book and what little financial reward they offer. Today, let’s celebrate the fact that there are more teachers publishing their work in print than ever before. I hope some of my suggestions spark your imagination.

7 thoughts on “10 Books For Your Teacher Bookshelf

  1. Hi Ross
    Hope you are well. About 6 months ago I took the plunge and changed my career path from research scientist to science teacher. I’ve been following you on twitter for a few months and really enjoy your tweets. I’m about to embark on my ITT journey and am eager to get off on the right foot and channel my enthusiasm in a productive manner. Can you recommend a good starter book for me to read before starting the course please?

    Thank you in advance.
    Kind regards,


  2. Great post! A number of these are new to me and I will need to add to my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ List.

    Would you consider featuring this post on the Teacher Blogs podcast?

    If you’re game, simply use your phone’s voice memo app to record yourself reading your post. Then share the clip to TeacherBlogsPodcast@Gmail.com.

    I’ll make sure you get credit. Let me know if interested! – Tim

  3. Hi Ross,
    Do you have anything you would recommend that really shakes up the way we deliver professional learning.. what makes the biggest impact.. how can it look different?

  4. Thanks, Ross, I’m about to buy some of these to distribute amongst our staff; it’s about time 2020 wasn’t all about Remote and Blended Learning!

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