by Grant Wiggins
With the holidays soon upon us, I thought it appropriate to provide a list of what are arguably the most historically influential books in education, as we ponder gifts for colleagues, friends and loved ones who are educators.
This list came from a crowd-source appeal via Twitter and an email to colleagues and friends. Each book on the list received at least 5 votes from the 50 or so folks who responded; good enough for me. Yes, I know – it’s subjective. Yes, I know – it’s almost all men. Yes, I know – you are appalled at the inclusion of x and the failure to include y. Yes, it probably reflects educators ‘of a certain age’.
But, hey – it’s my blog (editor’s note: or his space on TeachThought!), and that’s why there is a REPLY box: make your case! But recall the criterion: influential, not merely “I liked it”.
In case you are interested, my choices were: Plato, Rousseau, Dewey, Polya, and Tyler. It’s truly shocking to me how few math teachers have read Polya, IMHO; it’s sad how few people read Dewey anymore (admittedly not easy reading) since his vision framed the mission for most modern educators. And Tyler is my guru – the author of ‘backward design’ thinking, 70 years ago. I would not have included Lortie, Callahan, or Silberman even though I like all 3 books, because they are more of about history/sociology than a theoretical or practical guide. I wanted Alvin Toffler for Future Shock – no one else selected him, alas.
I can honestly say I had read all of them except one: I was initially unfamiliar with the Rosenblatt, a surprisingly modern view of teaching English from many decades ago, and have now read it – good stuff.
Note that there are no books on the list from 1990 – present. Too early to make the call, in my humble opinion. The books that follow are thus ‘classics’, deserving of your time and thought. All of them, even the ones with which you might have issues, provide great food for thought. So, bon appetit!
|Adler, Mortimer||Paideia Proposal|
|Apple, Michael||Ideology and Curriculum|
|Bloom, Benjamin||Taxonomy of Educational Objectives Vol 1|
|Boyer, Ernest||High School|
|Bruner, Jerome||The Process of Education|
|Callahan, Raymond||The Cult of Efficiency|
|Dewey, John||The Child and the Curriculum|
|Dewey, John||Democracy & Education|
|Freire, Paulo||Pedagogy of the Oppressed|
|Gardner, Howard||Frames of Mind|
|Goodlad, John||A Place Called School|
|Hirsch, E. D.||Cultural Literacy|
|Kozol, Jonathon||Death At An Early Age|
|Kuhn, Thomas||The Structure of Scientific Revolutions|
|Lortie, Dan||School Teacher|
|Montessori, Maria||The Montessori Method|
|Neill, A. S.||Summerhill|
|Piaget, Jean||The Language & Thought of the Child|
|Plato||Allegory of the Cave from The Republic|
|Polya, Georg||How To Solve It|
|Postman, N & Weingartner, C||Teaching As A Subversive Activity|
|Rosenblatt, Louise||The Poem, the Text, the Reader|
|Rousseau, Jean Jacques||Emile|
|Silberman, Charles||Crisis in the Classroom|
|Simon, S; Howe, L; Kirschenbaum, H||Values Clarification|
|Sizer, Ted||Horace’s Compromise|
|Taba, Hilda||Curriculum: Theory and Practice|
|Tyler, Ralph||The Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction|
|Vygotsky, Lev||Thought and Language|
|Whitehead, A. N.||The Aims of Education & Other Essays|
This post first appeared on Grant’s personal blog