10 books to buy teachers this Christmas

The safest gift choice is often found on a bookshelf, says Jonny Kay as he pulls together a cracker of a top 10 list
20th December 2020, 10:00am
Jonny Kay


10 books to buy teachers this Christmas

Teacher Christmas Presents: 10 Books To Buy This Year

With Christmas just around the corner, and secret Santa an annual minefield, it can be difficult deciding what to buy an FE teacher at Christmas. The safe, and probably best, choice will, of course, be found a bookshelf. However, with so many options to choose from (including 600 books published on one day in 2020), what are the best choices for further education teachers?

10 books to give teachers this Christmas

With something for everyone, here is a cracker (pun absolutely intended) of a top 10 list of books with something for everyone in FE.

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Teacher Resilience: managing stress and anxiety to thrive in the classroom by Jamie Thom

After what has felt like the longest term ever, even the most resilient teachers and leaders have had their resilience tested to the limit. However, this need not be the case as Jamie's excellent book covers strategies and practical advice on how to avoid burn-out, manage stress and deal with day-to-day anxieties.  

Motivating Unwilling Learners in Further Education by Susan Wallace

With self-isolation, remote learning and constantly changing rules, it has been difficult to find consistency in the classroom in 2020. A side effect could be a rise in challenging behaviour, but with Susan Wallace's excellent book, managing students and spaces (both online and face-to-face) is much easier. Some fantastic advice and approaches here.

How to be a Brilliant FE Teacher: a practical guide to being effective and innovative by Vicky Duckworth

This does exactly what it says on the cover. As useful for those just starting out in the sector as it is for those leaders who've spent a lifetime in FE, this book is packed with ideas and approaches that support and help to develop every aspect of practice. This should be on show in every FE library.

What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Psychology by David Didau and Nick Rose

A fascinating book highlighting why teachers are drawn again and again to certain approaches that just feel right. Research and theory-rich, it provides a fantastic insight into the psychological principles that every teach needs to know to be effective.

The Science of Learning77 studies that every teacher needs to know by Bradley Busch and Edward Watson

Similar to Didau and Rose's book, this tackles the theory and research behind the choices that teachers make, but with an innovative twist. Identifying innovative approaches, myths and well known approaches, this book thoroughly analyses educational approaches in short bursts of context, theory and research, concluding with the effectiveness of each in just a few short pages.  

The Little Book of Thunks: 260 questions to make your brain go ouch! by Ian Gilbert

Just as handy for lesson openings and conversation starters for all learners as it is around the Christmas dinner table, this book poses impossibly short questions that will leave you in discussion for hours: If you paint over a window, is it still window? If I switch the lights off, does the wall change colour?

Born To Run: a hidden tribe, superathletes and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall 

Not necessarily focused around education, but a fantastic book nevertheless. A book that focuses on one simple question (why does my foot hurt?) and leads the author on an adventure to track down a tribe of Mexican runners who have been described as the world's greatest long-distance runners. Something to help you unwind and refocus after a difficult term.

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

A fascinating book that looks at how highly successful people succeed. From David Beckham to James Dyson, what characteristics do they share and what traits do they have in common? This book focuses on how people and organisations from Apple to Southwest Airlines have succeeded, and analyses their journey and the people who travelled with them.

Making Habits, Breaking Habits: why we do things, why we don't and how to make any change stick by Jeremy Dean

It's Christmas. Then it's new year and the new year's resolutions. How long did your resolution last in 2020? There is a temptation to unwind like never before during Christmas 2020, and this book will help you to get back on track, and carry these positive habits into the classroom in 2021.

Improving English and Maths in Further Education: a practical guide by Jonathan Kay

Well, if you can't plug your own book, who will? Out in May 2021, the book is for teachers and leaders involved with English and maths in post-16 education.

Whether buying for an FE teacher or yourself, the above list of books should help you to relax and recharge ready for 2021.

Jonny Kay is the head of teaching and learning at a college in the North East. He tweets at @jonnykayteacher

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