Put Your Reading Socks On!

A Perfect Time to Read

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“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King wrote, so spend the rest of this pandemic with your reading socks on! It is a stressful time; reading a good book or an educational article can be extremely therapeutic! 

In this blog entry, I will briefly review some professional articles and Canadian books I think you might enjoy. I would love an exchange of ideas if you read or have already read some of my suggestions listed below.

 Professional Development

Here are some of my favourite academic articles about education.

  • Creativity and Learning in Four Metaphors by Dr. Judy Wearing

In this delightful article, Dr. Wearing takes us through the interpretation of four very different metaphors to show how learning and wonder are deeply connected through creativity. Creativity does not have only one definition, but rather many forms: a Cro-Magnon person painting in a cave, a group of people tasting food, a girl discovering how to make her potatoes taste better, or even the dissection and contemplation of a mollusc or a seashell can be creative. This article made me rediscover the role of wonder in teaching and learning.

  • Freedom to Fail by Andrew K. Miller

Miller gives a very unique take on failure in the class, defining it as the beginning of innovation and a growth mindset. Miller maintains that it is necessary to fail in order to improve and learn. He describes ways in which he fosters improvement and growth in his classroom by building upon students’ mistakes and failure; in making it OK for the students to fail, Miller has found that risk-taking and creativity have dramatically increased in his classrooms, leading to final results that are overall more satisfying and long-lasting.

  • The Case for Philosophical Mindedness by Dr. Theodore M. Christou and Dr. Shawn M. Bullock

In one of my favourite articles about education, Dr. Christou and Dr. Bullock redefine the role of educationists as individuals who are willing to adopt a reflective and philosophical mind in everyday teaching and learning; people who are educationists are much more than teachers: They are willing to foster ideas and help birth them. Educationists are involved in the community of teaching and learning at large and, as the authors say, they are not afraid of pursuing wisdom, higher truth, and knowledge. This article is a great way to become familiar with the philosophy of education in a way that is engaging and stirring.

Canadian Literature

The lockdown has given me the opportunity to delve into some Canadian literature. Here are my picks.

  • Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

In this fictional story, Davidson writes about a small group of people who are linked to each other by friendship or family ties. Together, they investigate haunted places in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where the story takes place. The novel is appropriate for both adults and young teens; it made me laugh, cry, and discover bone chilling legends about my beloved Niagara region.

  • The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa by Neil Peart

Written by Rush legend Neil Peart, this book is a great read if you love words as much as I do! Peart describes in a detailed, sarcastic, and tangible fashion his trip to West Africa. Written in journal style, it encompasses passages describing both the physical and emotional journey.

  • An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Commander Hadfield walks us through his life from his early childhood, when the moon landing inspired him to become an astronaut, to his captaincy of the International Space Station and his return to Earth.  He focuses on the importance of being prepared and eager with a healthy dose of modesty. He gives advice on how to be ready for life in general and on how to become a formidable leader by helping others succeed, by training to be the best version of yourself, and by being humble.

  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

You don’t have to be a child to appreciate the unbridled enthusiasm of Anne, an orphan who is adopted by the Cuthbert siblings. Many of you may have read this story during childhood, but don’t be fooled! Anne of Green Gables is a story for every age. It offers adventure, drama, love, friendship, hard work, and a very interesting look at education in the late 1800s. In the sequel, Anne of Avonlea, Anne herself becomes a teacher who is quite innovative and inspiring.

Concluding Thoughts

Being an avid reader, it wasn’t easy to choose only a few articles and books! I hope, however, that I have inspired you to enjoy some reading time. I look forward to your replies and comments and getting the discussion going. Have you read anything interesting lately? I’d love to hear about it and add titles to my reading list!

References

Articles

Christou, T. M., & Bullock, S. M. (2012). The case for philosophical mindedness. Paideusis, 20(1), 14–23

Miller, A. (2015). Freedom to fail. How do I foster risk- taking and innovation in my classroom? ASCD Arias.

Wearing, J. M.(June, 2015). Creativity and learning in four metaphors. Paper presented at the International Conference on Thinking, Bilbao, Spain.

Books

Davidson, C. (2018). The Saturday night ghost club. Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto, ON.

Hadfield, C. (2014). An astronaut’s guide to life on Earth. Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto, ON.

Montgomery, L. M. (1908). Anne of Green Gables. Arcturus Publishing Limited, London, United Kingdom.

Peart, N. (1996). The masked rider: cycling in West Africa. Pottersfield Press, Lawrencetown Beach, NS.

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