Our top education books to put under the Christmas tree this year

What are the education books you should be looking to put under the Christmas tree for the educator in your life this year?

We think we are living in a golden age of education books. We’re spoilt for choice with accessible ways to infuse the latest and greatest research from Cognitive Science and Teaching & Learning with practical advice and strategies.

So, to help you navigate this wonderful problem, we’ve collated some amazing edu books from 2023, as well as a few classics from the vaults. Some are old, some are new; all are brilliant. There may be twelve days of Christmas, but here are seventeen books we think will make your festive holiday break all the better, in no particular order.

11 great education books released in 2023

SEND Huh, by Mary Myatt and John Tomsett

Part of their amazing “Huh” series, this book is a must read for all teachers. Whereas SEND may once have been seen as just the SENDCOs’ responsibility, it now is everyone’s responsibility (and truth be told, always should have been).

A truly eye-opening read, filled with personal stories and testimonies that will shift the needle when it comes to Special Education Needs. Perfect for absolutely every teacher in your life.

Simplicitus Altius, by Emma Turner

With so much Cognitive Science research focusing on older students, the question about how best to apply some of its principles to younger students is an important one. In this book, Emma puts primary at the heart of everything, leading to conversations that are rich and full of nuance. This makes the areas discussed both age- and stage-appropriate. Perfect for the primary teacher in your life.

Ausubel’s Meaningful Learning in Action, by Sarah Cottingham

With many schools now becoming more familiar with Cognitive Science research, this book is much needed, as it extends the conversation. Sarah introduces probably the most important learning theory that you haven’t heard of, and with clear precision and clarity breaks down its key tenets and discusses what it may look like in the classroom. Perfect for the Cognitive Science loving teacher in your life.

The Power of Teams, by Sam Crome and Building Culture, by Lekha Sharma

Okay, we kind of cheated by putting two books here. Both are brilliant standalone reads. But read them in tandem and you will really see how they complement each other. Perfect for the teacher in your life who is managing a team.

How Learning Happens (2nd edition), by Paul Kirschner and Carl Hendrick

This is the book we wish we could have written. As well as covering theory and seminal studies, the authors have returned with a second edition to go into more depth and detail as well as covering a larger range of areas. Perfect for the teacher in your life who wants to take their understanding of research to the next level.

Power Up Your Pedagogy, by Bruce Robertson and Finola Wilson

Fans of Bruce’s prior work, The Teaching Delusion, will be delighted to see this book, as it covers the key concepts along with beautiful sketch notes. And if you haven’t read any of Bruce’s work yet, this book acts as a great introduction too. Perfect for the teacher in your life who likes their Teaching & Learning with a splash of illustrations.

Understanding Your Role in Curriculum Design and Implementation, by Henry Sauntson

An incredibly insightful book. Henry’s writing style is a joy to behold. This really is essential reading, as you’ll never look at curriculum the same way again. Perfect for the early career teacher in your life.

Tips for Teachers, by Craig Barton (2023) and What Every Teacher Needs to Know, by Jade Pearce (2022)

You won’t be able to fit much else in the Christmas stocking if you buy either of these, because they are BIG. And that is the beauty of these books – both, in different ways, provide a one-stop shop for teachers. Jade’s book covers a lot of the essential theory, whereas Craig’s is jam-packed with tips. Perfect for teachers who want to dig deeper and hone their craft.

A Critical Guide to Evidence-Informed Education, by Tom Perry and Rebecca Morris

This book dives deep into the world of “what works best”. From randomised control trials to meta-analyses, this excellent book provides information about how to weigh up research and what that might mean for your classroom. Perfect for the teacher in your life who loves research.

6 more education books from the vaults

Cleverlands, by Lucy Crehan

An incredibly original and unique book where author, Lucy Crehan explores the different approaches that different countries take to education, by travelling to and working in schools in each of these countries.

As well as covering the context and culture of each country, this book gives a great overview of psychology and learning theories. Perfect for the teacher in your life who wants a broader overview of education on a global level.

Motivated Teaching, by Peps McCrea

Motivation is probably one of the most important aspects in education. Millions of words have been written about it. None as succinctly and beautifully as managed by Peps. In it, he makes the complex simple and the confusing clear. Perfect for the teacher in your life who wants to motivate their students.

Dunlosky’s Toolkit, by Amarbeer Singh Gill

Simply put, we think that the study this book is written about is the most influential research paper of the last two decades. And this book is the best application of it that we have ever seen.

Special shout out to the section on Interleaving, which is the trickiest area of Cognitive Science for most people to get their head around. The perfect book for the teacher in your life who is looking to start their evidence-informed journey.

Inventing Ourselves, by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Sarah-Jayne’s knowledge of how the adolescent brain develops is second to none. As well as being an incredible researcher, her book demonstrates her brilliant skill of disseminating these findings to a wider audience. Perfect for the secondary teacher in your life who wants to understand teenagers better.

Reconnect: Building School Culture, by Doug Lemov

Now more than ever we need to ensure that our students feel like they belong in our schools. In a post-pandemic age, where absentee rates are increasing and students are at risk of feeling disconnected, books like this are worth their weight in gold. Perfect for the teacher in your life who wants to focus on the power of relationships.

The Goldilocks Map, by Andrew Watson

If you are looking to dig deeper into the world of research and explore where to find papers and how to evaluate them, this is the perfect book. A great combination of both witty and wise, this is one of our favourite books of recent years. Perfect for the teacher who finds research a bit daunting.

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