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Curriculum Opinion

Three Must-Reads for Educators in 2016

By Patrick Larkin — January 02, 2016 2 min read

As we head into the New Year, I wanted to a highlight my three favorite books from 2015. All three of the books below are not only great books for educators, but they are also great reads for school communities to use to foster conversations about what is most important in regards to the success of our students.

The Innovator’s Mindset

I posted an interview with George Couros, the author of The Innovator’s Mindset, back in October. Couros noted the following: “I did not want to write a book that told people how to become an innovative school, because that is the exact opposite of the idea. It is meant to push conversations forward, while also providing ideas and inspiration for schools to become places where creativity flourishes. This will only happen if this book becomes the start to a conversation, not the end of it.”

This book is a perfect jumping off point to promote discussions at all levels in a school community about changing the way we approach teaching an learning.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be

With my oldest child in the midst of his college search, I was drawn to this book by Frank Bruni which helps put the college search in perspective by focusing on the fact that the skills and attitudes that our children bring with them to college are more important than the college or university that they ultimately attend. “Life is defined by little snags and big setbacks; success is determined by the ability to distinguish between the two and rebound from either,” says Bruni. “And there’s no single juncture, no one crossroads, on which everything hinges.”

I think it’s important that we parents exhale a bit and reduce the anxiety for both ourselves and our children by realizing that Bruni is correct in his assertion that "(our children) are going to get into a college that’s more than able to provide a superb education to anyone who insists on one and who takes firm charge of his or her time there.”

The Gift of Failure

This wonderful book by Jessica Lahey is perfect for parents at all levels. Sharing her insights as both a parent and a teacher, Lahey acknowledges why we have gotten to the point of hovering over our children during every move they make. But more importantly, she makes a clear case as to why we need to step back and let our children make some mistakes along the way so that they can gain the confidence and resilience that will help them mature into the independent adults that we long for them to become.

“Every time we rescue, hover, or otherwise save our children from a challenge, we send a very clear message: that we believe they are incompetent, incapable, and unworhty of our trust,” writes Lahey. “Furthermore, we teach them to be dependent on us and thereby deny them the very education in competence we are put on this earth to hand down.”

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