Faculty

College of Education Book Club Recommendations

By The Room 241 Team January 14, 2020

From as early as the 1600s, book clubs have been a way for people to connect, reflect, and grow together. Book clubs have spanned mail-order businesses, bookstores, libraries, TV shows (thank you, Oprah!), and online forums. It is estimated that there are more than 5 million book club members in the United States alone. 

At Concordia University, the College of Education faculty model their core belief: #lifelonglearning. Recently, the team formed a book club, where they meet twice a month to discuss reflections, applications, and strategies for both PreK-12 and higher ed, gleaned from their shared reading. 

Take a look at this list of recently published books focused on the research behind and implementation of social-emotional learning principles (you can learn more about SEL from CASEL.org):

  • Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar (2018)
    • Elena Aguilar tries to tackle the high attrition rate of educators (70% in the first five years) by providing a four-part framework to combat the stress and burnout of teaching. Her step-by-step framework encourages teachers to find balance emotionally, physically, and mentally so that both students and teachers can strive for resiliency together. Dr. Stephanie Murphy, Assistant Dean of Licensure Programs at Concordia said that she “appreciated the book’s practical applications, especially in regard to self-care and care for others … Onward was a great reminder that connections with colleagues are paramount in order to buffer against isolation and/or disillusionment.” She found that the faculty even implemented many of the strategies in real-time as they read! 
  • Start with the Heart: Igniting Hope in Schools Through Social and Emotional Learning by Michelle Trujillo (2019)
    • In order to build a positive school culture, former high school principal and Nevada′s 2016 Innovative Educator of the Year, Michelle Trujillo, encourages educators to assess their own SEL aptitude to better instill a foundation of trust and connection within a school community. Trujillo provides concrete strategies for both students and teachers to make SEL a “way of being.”
  • Better than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management by Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey (2015)
    • This classroom management book outlines a collaborative blueprint for teachers and students to work together on in order to build a classroom climate of respect. With an introduction to (or refresher of) restorative practices in schools, readers then have context for establishing and implementing their own conflict resolution strategies that promote cooperation and relationship-building to build a more supportive classroom environment. Better Than Carrots or Sticks has been adopted as required reading for Concordia’s MAT students in the “Classroom Management” course as one of many tools to prepare teacher candidates to utilize restorative justice practices in creating culturally responsive, equity-focused and inclusive learning spaces.  

Most educators are unprepared, nevermind ill-equipped, to support the half of their students who have faced chronic stress, violence, or trauma. In three parts, Jennings, an Associate Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, reviews the signs and effects of trauma, provides trauma-sensitive practices, and underscores the connections of mindfulness and resilience all with the goal of nurturing more compassionate classrooms. Jennings’s cross-discipline approach will empower educators to guide their most vulnerable students towards success. Dr. Juliana Smith, full-time faculty member and chair of the ESOL program at Concordia, reflected, “I really liked the distinction the book made between empathy and sympathy. It helped me see things in a whole different light and I now pay more attention to how I respond to people.”

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