Eight edu books to gift (yourself) this Christmas

Stuck for a gift for that special teacher in your life or just fancy a bit of holiday reading? JL Dutaut has you covered with 8 of the best from a bumper year in edu publishing

Stuck for a gift for that special teacher in your life or just fancy a bit of holiday reading? JL Dutaut has you covered with 8 of the best from a bumper year in edu publishing

12 Dec 2021, 5:00

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For the classroom teacher 

Retrieval practice resource guide 

By Kate Jones

“Crammed full of practical tips, ideas and takeaways, it’s perfect for busy classroom teachers looking to introduce a new dimension to their teaching immediately,” wrote reviewer, Emma Cate Stokes. At under one hundred pages, it’s the perfect short read over the Christmas period to inspire some January classroom resolutions 

For the pedagogue 

Organise ideas. Thinking by hand, extending the mind

By Oliver Caviglioli and David Goodwin 

“When it comes to graphic organisers, I’m about as nerdy as it gets. So to say I was excited about reading this book would be an understatement. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed,” said Steve Turnbull. At 336 pages, it’s not a small book, but the highly considered presentation (as you’d expect) makes the text highly accessible and easy to dip in and out of in between celebrations.  

For the system reformer 

Beyond the tyranny of testing 

By Scherto Gill and Kenneth Gergen 

“Educational conservatives will find plenty to criticise,” wrote James Mannion, “but you’re never going to satisfy everyone with a word like ‘tyranny’ in the title – and nor should you try.” Readers will however find a plethora of tried-and-tested exam alternatives here, with a focus on relational assessment they can perhaps begin to try out on their relatives over Christmas dinner.

book review tyranny testing

For the subversive 

The great education robbery 

By Nigel Gann 

“You won’t find some crank conspiracy in these pages but a carefully unfolding analysis of the academisation programme,” wrote MAT CEO, Dan Morrow. Not just a book for the politically enraged then, but a challenging look at what we mean by democratic accountability in a (mostly) re-imagined system, whether you work in an academy or local authority school. 

For the trad 

Teach Like A Champion 3.0 

By Doug Lemov 

“Whether you’re a trainee, middle or senior leader, you will find a veritable treasure trove of useful strategies here.” Shivan Davies trained when the first iteration of this book was making pedagogical waves here and abroad. Today, its third iteration – which takes its critics head-on and makes concessions when justified – is just as relevant and just as provocative.  

For the prog 

The future of teaching 

By Guy Claxton 

It’s fair to say that reviewer, Mary Hind-Portley was not taken with Guy Claxton’s latest tome. “Overall, “ she concluded, “it is a diatribe against ‘DIKR’ (Direct Instruction and Knowledge-Rich) rather than a positive exposition of its author’s approach.” However, she concedes that it is right to challenge current dominant ideas. As a stalwart champion of the progressive movement, Claxton is among the best-placed to do that. One teacher’s Christmas treat is another’s stimulus for new year’s reflection. 

For the senior leader 

Back on track. Fewer things, greater depth 

By Mary Myatt 

“Surely better doesn’t have to mean more.” Reviewer, Sarah Watkins’ musings on workload are surely familiar to many. To her satisfaction, she found that, commensurate with its subtitle, Fewer things, greater depth, Myatt’s book was a “quick, easy read whose concepts and ideas are far-reaching”. An ideal Christmas read to inspire any leader worried about the pandemic’s toll on workload. 

For the middle leader 

Middle Leadership Mastery 

By Adam Robbins 

Kristian Shanks opened his review by acknowledging the lack of transitional support between the frying pan of the classroom and the fire of middle leadership. He concluded it by saying that although no single book could do justice to all that middle leadership entails, “with this book at least, middle leaders have a practical and accessible guide to their core mission”. What better way to begin to look ahead to the new year? 

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