April 2016 Bookshelf
Books 10 April 2016
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
Chip & Dan Heath
Not surprisingly, science is increasingly coming to the conclusion that humans have two different decision-making systems hardwired into our brains: the rational brain, which wants that great beach body, and the emotional brain—the one lusting after that leftover pizza in the fridge. In Switch, authors and brothers Chip and Dan Heath explain how long-lasting change, on an individual, organizational, or systems-wide level, can be stymied by both the emotional brain’s desire for comfort and routine and the rational’s penchant for over-thinking and paralysis by analysis. Thankfully, by uniting both decision-making systems, Switch shows us how we can affect profound, positive change in ourselves and the world.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Daniel H. Pink
Many people take it as common knowledge that motivation inherently comes from “carrots”—rewards for success like money, power, and prestige—or “sticks”—punishments for failure. But, what if there was a third way proven to be a better motivator than extrinsic rewards and punishments? Author Daniel H. Pink posits that as society has changed, so must our assumptions about motivation. We must recognize and value our own internal drive to direct our own lives, to learn, to create, and to master new things—and to be active, contributing members of society.
How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
Think about your brain. Is it a muscle that grows stronger with more reps and more weight? Or, as author Benedict Carey suggests, is it a natural learning machine that actually benefits most from day-dreaming, distraction, and a good nap? If we buy Carey’s theory, we should focus less on the number of hours we spend on some endeavor and more on the how, when, where, and with whom we actually learn best. We might just end up living a more well-rounded life.
This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education
José Luis Vilson
A memoir, an inspirational coming-of-age story, and a laser-focused critique, This Is Not A Test is a powerful and important reflection on race, class, and education in America. In it, author José Luis Vilson chronicles his journey to become an activist and author—but first and foremost, to become a teacher. Telling a story that parallels the trials, hardships, and challenges his learners face every day, Vilson speaks with passion and humanity for those most ill-served by the current education system. In a chronicle that transcends the personal, singular story being told, This Is Not A Test conveys the fierce urgency of reclaiming education for those being educated.
World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements
When adults act irresponsibly or selfishly, we often say that they’re acting like children. But perhaps we should retire that phrase. In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, John Hunter shares the interactions he’s seen, insights he’s gained, and hope he’s found in watching his learners—children—play the World Peace Game. Through this elaborate and complex game (Hunter’s own creation) that mimics the real international stage, he has seen children organically create thoughtful, collaborative solutions to many of the supposedly intractable problems that confound today’s world leaders.”
Learners Rule: Giving them a voice improves the culture of their classroom
Written by Bill Zima, Superintendent of RSU2 in Maine, Learners Rule is a work of “tactical fiction”—mirroring the struggles and triumphs of real-life learner-centered environments like RSU2. Learners Rule illustrates the possibility that emerges when learners are truly at the center of their own experiences. Focusing on an educator who knows things can be done better but is frustrated by the lack of available solutions, the story highlights what it takes for the educator and community to make the shift in mindset and action.
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