The first annual School of Education Summer Reading Book Club met on September 12 to discuss professional reading that students and faculty completed over the summer.  

Organized as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) by Dr. Beth Kobett (Assistant Professor of Education), eight students and six faculty read one or more selected titles on current educational topics and issues over the summer. After assembling in the School of Education’s new conference room, the group divided into four smaller circles to focus on one of four titles before coming back together to share their insights and reflections.

Pictured (left to right): Kendel Rippel (junior, Elementary), Nicole Forsman (senior intern, Early Childhood), Maureen Gast (sophomore, Elementary), Robert Pelton (Professor of Education), David Nicholson, (Professor of Education)

Beth Kobett commented, “Everyone’s engagement in the discussion and perspective on the readings was so exciting to observe. I wish I had video-recorded the discussions, the insights were so powerful! I also think it is pretty spectacular that we had representatives from faculty, mentors, and students in every year and major in the program.”

Pictured (left to right): Rosemarie McAuliffe (freshman, Elementary), Joy Zimmer (senior intern, Elementary), Autumn Horrell (sophomore, Early Childhood). Not pictured: Natalie Shramko (junior, Early Childhood)​, Sara Goldman (senior intern, Elementary)

“I had an amazing time at the Book Talk!” exclaimed Nicole Forsman, senior intern in Early Childhood Education. “I was able to apply the knowledge from the book on Growth Mindset to the students in my classroom. In addition, our discussion group was filled with rich information and was engaging. I highly recommend the book!”

Pictured (left to right): Barbara Lutz (PLC Coordinator, SU Mentor and Faculty member), Danielle Newill (SU Mentor and Faculty member), Brad Herling (SU Mentor)

Joy Zimmer, senior intern in Elementary Education, remarked, “The experience of book club helped to establish a rapport with the faculty, mentors, and students from every stage of the program. I am very grateful for this experience.”

The four books discussed, and highly recommended by the participants, were:

Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator, by Dave Burgess, describes specific techniques that can transform​ a teacher-centered classroom to one that engages, inspires, and supports active learning.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck, describes that learning and success is built upon much more than ability. Dweck explains that how we approach adversity, described as a fixed and growth mindset, forecasts potential success in all aspects of our lives.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough, by Paul Tough, translates a large body of educational research aimed at determining what makes children successful. He uncovers powerful research revealing particular student traits may be more important than the lesson plan.

The Hidden Lives of Learners, by Graham Nuthall, explores students’ and teachers’ beliefs about learning and describes the complicated interplay of the teacher’s lessons, peer influence, and the student’s inner world on learning.

“The knowledge I gained from the book was enhanced by having a true learning experience alongside our teacher candidates, as we talked and made sense of the information,” observed Dr. Pelton, Professor of Education. “Vygotsky would dig this!”