7 Reading Books For Your Winter Bookshelf

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Reading Books


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 you reading?

Reading books on the move is perfect for people with busy lives. Here are a selection of audiobooks I’m currently reading…

Since lockdown, I’ve been (broadly) at home for 281 days, adapting to a new way of living and working. To keep a sense of productivity, I’ve managed to walk my dog once a day and listen to many audiobooks…

1. Moonwalking with Einstein

A book I first discovered when working with Chris Moyse and something I am returning to.

Josh Foer meets amnesiacs, neuroscientists and savants – including a man who claims to have memorized more than nine thousand books. In doing so, he reveals the hidden impact of memory on our lives.

Learn the techniques of ‘mental athletes’ to transform our understanding of human remembering.


2. Livewired

I first read a book by David Eagleman in March 2020. I was fascinated to learn why London cab drivers could remember so many street names and what were the teaching secrets to help improve memory.

In this book, it’s not simply about what the brain is; it is about what it does. And that’s where I can currently with my own learning.

Eagleman discusses his own research, from synesthesia to dreaming to wearable neurotech devices that revolutionize how we think about the senses.


3. Remember It!

For 30 years of my life, I’ve used all sorts of techniques to remember thousands of pupils’ names. In the vast number of scenarios I got it right, but those times I got the name wrong, those unconscious moments stick out.

So, what techniques did I use? Well, here is the crux of what I’m trying to learn, and something I haven’t written much about.

The author teaches us how to make the most of our memory, using various techniques, presenting everyday information – such as shopping, an area I’m always forgetting and over-spending – in a user-friendly way.

4. Understanding the Brain – Lectures

This is a book I am currently listening to – 36 lectures in all – and it’s fascinating!

I’ve already blogged some thoughts in my bid to learn more about the brain, its structure and use this information to learn how we learn.

There is a combination of neurology, biology, and psychology, this course helps you understand how we perceive the world through our senses, how we move, how we learn and remember, and how emotions affect our thoughts and actions.

I can’t wait to report back on what I’ve learned.

5. Understanding the Brain

From cells to behaviour and cognition, this is a book I’ve not yet read, but one I’ve purchased for comparison and alternative points of view.

Examining the progress humans have made in understanding how brains work and shedding light on discoveries to do with ageing, mental illness and brain health.

Plus, higher-level concepts such as vision, perception, language, memory, emotion and consciousness.

As with all the books, I hope it makes me a better educator – and parent!

6. Delivering Happiness

I had no idea who Tony Hsieh was until he recently passed away. I was saddened to read a young man (47) die so early, but equally amazed by his success.

The book is relatively old, and you may know about his successful business, Zappos. Researching a little more, I discovered much of what Hsieh had achieved is where I hope to go with my own ‘customer experiences‘ on this site with TeacherToolkit.

I attribute my small audience to experiences in favour of ‘the person I’m working with’, and although customer service is broadly alien to teachers, I’m keen to learn what services teachers offer indirectly to our communities and how this can translate into our role as school teachers (and in my life as a successful blogger and evolving entrepreneur).

What struck me was this one line in the book we don’t see existing in many businesses: “Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.”

How true is this of every adult working in a school? In a supermarket, in an online store or on a plane?

7. Why Don’t Students Like School?

A book I’ve been wanting to read for ages, have dipped in and out of over the years and long overdue for me to be honest.

Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham has focused his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning and has a deep understanding of the daily challenges faced by classroom teachers.

This book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn.

I suspect this book will shape my thoughts significantly.

Despite the challenges we have all faced this year, what books are you reading this winter to help you unwind?

I hope you get some downtime whatever you are doing. Keep safe and keep reading…

3 thoughts on “7 Reading Books For Your Winter Bookshelf

  1. I find posts like this fascinating as I’m often intrigued by which books others are reading.

    I find though that my #TBR (to be read) pile is often increasing in size rather than decreasing.

    Although I only have a 2-week holiday my list of books to read includes:
    1. The Confident Teacher by Alex Quigley
    2. Mark Plan Teach 2.0 by Ross Morrison McGill (which arrived a few days ago)
    3. What Works? by Lee Elliot Major and Steve Higgins
    4. Evidence-Based Teaching by Geoff Petty
    5. Making Kids Cleverer by David Didau

    There’s a few more in the pile but they may have to wait a while.

    1. I agree Michelle. We cannot read everything and my piles far outweigh what I actually do read, but there’s something to be said for dipping in and out of books. I’m not sure I’ll stick with Audible forever though; something to be said for having a physical collection

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