Holiday reading

The holiday break is a good opportunity for many of us to catch up on some reading and re-charge our thinking ahead of coming back to face a new year. As we come to the end of the first decade of the 21st century, I thought I’d share a review of just a few of the books I’ve read through this year – two to inspire and one to challenge.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling Ronnlund and Anna Rosling, is subtitled “Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world and why things are better than you think“. It is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases. There is inspiration in here for educators working with learners to help them understand the importance of evidence over opinion, and how, by working on that basis, we can actually make a difference in the world.

Empower: what happens when students own their learning by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani is an easy to read and inspiring handbook for educators seeking ways to embrace the idea of learner agency in the classroom. The authors argue that we need to move beyond focusing on engagement and into empowerment. Here, students own every part of the learning journey so that they grow into self-directed, lifelong learners. 

What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy by Tom Slee is a challenging read for all of us who are embracing the disruptive power of social platforms that encourage the breakdown of the ‘middle man’ in our transactions. The author argues the so-called sharing economy damages development, extends harsh free-market practices into previously protected areas of our lives, and presents the opportunity for a few people to make fortunes by damaging communities and pushing vulnerable individuals to take on unsustainable risk.

Each of these books has significantly impacted my thinking – and actions – as I have read them during the year, and I share them here with encouragement for others to read also – particularly educators who are seeking to find connections of relevance to what is happening in our world and bring this into the context of the classroom for learners to engage in meaningful, authentic and ‘future making’ learning activity.

Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou!

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