Outstanding Academic Titles 2022: Teaching and Education

This week we highlight 2022 Outstanding Academic Titles in Teaching and Education

1. What we value: public health, social justice, and educating for democracy
Pasquerella, Lynn. Virginia, 2022

Philosopher and medical ethicist Pasquerella (American Association of Colleges and Universities) has created an excellent, important text examining what being American means in times of moral distress, political polarization, and inequity and explaining that the answers to facing these growing crises lie in liberal education. The first chapter examines medical ethics and moral injury, pointing out how public trust and compassion fade in the face of COVID-19 and growing political divides. The second chapter addresses the role of liberal education in weathering campus storms, focusing on the need for balancing free speech with equity, especially facing accusations of liberal bias and legislation aimed against antibias training and other activities labeled by accusers as “unpatriotic.” The author in general states the case for liberal education as the key to speaking across differences and coming together for the common good. Pasquerella’s final chapter culminates the overall theme by arguing that liberal education is essential to US democracy, particularly in times of growing racial and economic segregation and extreme polarization. Pasquerella rounds out the book with extensive notes and bibliography sections. Readers will find this book timely and thought-provoking: worth reading, processing, and then reading again. infectious disease. View on Amazon

2. Between the state and the schoolhouse: understanding the failure of Common Core
Loveless, Tom. Harvard Education Press, 2021

Loveless, an education researcher, former senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and former representative of the US at the General Assembly of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, effectively examines the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) from its creation to its inadequate outcomes. CCSS was one of the most ambitious education reforms of the past century, promising to raise students’ success, prepare them for both college and careers, and close the achievement gap. Yet, according to the author, CCSS has had little positive impact on student learning over the past decade. Loveless informs policy makers, professors, school administrators, and teachers about the many layers between the state and the classroom, which hinder the effectiveness of any national standard approach. Providing a series of critical lessons that recognize the political and structural challenges of top-down reforms, he claims that top-down policies are unpredictable and vulnerable to the pendulum effect as new reforms are created. This is a must-read text for anyone desiring to understand the debate over the standards movement and the role of federal and state governments in education reform. View on Amazon

3. Reimagining the call to teach: a witness to teachers and teaching
Hansen, David T. Teachers College Press, 2021

This brief volume by Hansen (Columbia Univ.) is a well-researched, well-organized, and well-referenced sequel to his classic work A Call to Teach (1995). The author believes that teaching is not just a vocation but a calling in that it is a transformative ethical exercise: a teacher must develop an ethical relationship with students and with the profession of teaching. Viewing teaching from this perspective is not the dominant trend today, which instead adopts a “managerial” model. Hansen contrasts his perspective with the dominant managerial perspective, i.e., the occupational claim on the curriculum and top-down testing. The first couple of chapters draw from the author’s 1995 book; the remaining chapters look at teachers who practice the proposed ethical approach and examine how that affects their relationships with students and class content. Hansen hopes that moving away from current models will accelerate a desire to foster society’s well-being, educating students for lives of meaning and purpose. Of interest to all who study or work in the field of education and in all disciplines in which teaching and learning occur. A very important book for the present. View on Amazon

4. Equity and inclusion in higher education: strategies for teaching
ed. by Rita Kumar and Brenda Refaei Cincinnati, 2021

Edited by Kumar (Univ. of Cincinnati) and Rafaei (Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash College), this collection tackles the notion that only certain college disciplines have the skill sets or knowledge to create inclusive classrooms. They argue that each college instructor must promote equity so that all students feel welcomed and respected. Specifically, the contributors focus on the intersectionality of race, class, age, sexuality, and disability. This reader-friendly text is easy to navigate. The book is organized into six parts, and the first (“Setting Up Inclusive Learning Environments”) and last (“Inclusive Assessment”) are essential reading for educators in all disciplines. Other chapters address specific disciplines such as STEM, the humanities, and the social sciences. These chapters have practical applications that can help educators create inclusive environments by offering guidance on developing curriculum; setting up a syllabus; establishing a student-centered teaching classroom; and, because the world is still in the middle of a pandemic, creating an inclusive online classroom. This is an important text for educators interested in creating equity-based learning environments in their classrooms. View on Amazon

5Dyslexia in higher education: anxiety and coping skills
Abbott-Jones, Amanda T. Cambridge, 2022

Understanding the lack of research related to college students who have the severe reading disorder dyslexia, Abbott-Jones, who received her doctorate in education from University College London, has made a great effort to fill this void. Her book is a detailed discussion of a study she undertook to describe what dyslexia is and is not, the self-described types of anxieties/stress that college students with dyslexia experience, and the various coping strategies these students employ to either cover up their reading problems or overcome their difficulties both academically and socially. The study took place in the UK, but its ramifications have great import for students in most English-speaking countries. Perhaps the best takeaway from the text are the suggestions offered to assist these students in their academic careers in higher education and later employment situations. This well-written text includes authoritative references and will be welcomed by higher education instructors and counselors who see increasing numbers of students with academic challenges in their courses and caseloads. Students with dyslexia may find the book useful to understand that their reading problems are not unique. View on Amazon

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