As summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, TeachBeyond’s Educational Services team would like to share some of our recommendations for “must read” books for teachers and school leaders. While there are many worthy subjects clamoring for our attention, our team has focused on books that have informed our understanding of what it means to deliver transformational education in a variety of cultural contexts. We’d love to hear your suggestions as well! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom. by David I. Smith. 2018.
This book was by far the top recommendation from our Education Services team (recommended by Harold Klassen, Amanda Ferris, Becky Hunsberger, Joe Neff, & Michael N). Smith captures an oft neglected aspect of “teaching Christianly,” but one that hits at the very heart of what TeachBeyond is all about.
“David Smith’s emphasis on the HOW of teaching is helpful and his stories challenged me to move beyond “normal” to something more transformational in HOW I teach as well as WHAT I teach.”—Harold Klassen (Teacher Education Services)
Global Humility: Attitudes for Mission. By Andy McCullough. 2017.
While written for church planters, this book contains a lot of excellent and challenging perspective for those of us who are working in a cross-cultural setting. It’s broken up into six easy to read sections each of which asks readers to consider how they might consider the world from a different perspective–that of a learner.
“I found McCullough’s book a thoughtful and engaging exploration of what it means to engage culture as a learner, entering in with an attitude of humility. I didn’t agree with all his conclusions, but the questions he raises caused me to think long and hard about what our role as teacher educators should be—especially as we work in cultures that look and think differently than our own.”—Becky Hunsberger (Teacher Education Services)
Teaching Cross-culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching. Lingenfelter & Lingenfelter. 2003.
TeachBeyond’s first imperative is not teaching, it is changing lives for the Kingdom, often in cross-cultural contexts. This book was another that was recommeded by several of our team (Joe Neff, Michael N.)
“Teaching Cross-culturally reminds us how to be better Kingdom workers in the field of education. Lingenfelter affirms that culture is either a prison that inhibits learning and Kingdom impact, or a paradise that enhances and facilitates education and the Message; it all depends on our cultural approach and mindset.” –Michael N. (School Services)
Teaching Across Cultures: Contextualizing Education For Global Mission. James F. Plueddemann. 2018.
This is another work dealing with the unique challenges of teaching in intercultural contexts. Amazon describes this books as one that “unpacks how different cultural dynamics may inhibit learning and offers a framework for integrating conceptual ideas into practical experience. [Plueddemann] provides a model of teaching as pilgrimage, where the aim is not merely the mastery of information but the use of knowledge to foster the development of the pilgrim learner. “
“I found Plueddemann’s book Leading Across Cultures to be one of the most helpful studies in intercultural interactions that I’ve read. I’m so excited to discover this book where he applies the same principles to the ministry of teaching.”–Becky Hunsberger (Teacher Education Services)
To Infinity and Turn Left: Exploring God’s Purpose for Christian Teachers. Graham Coyle. 2020.
“It’s not a ‘how to’ manual, it’s a collection of stories, most from my own teaching career. I’ve drawn out the lessons God has helped me to learn through them, in the hope will encourage and inspire many, many others.”—Graham Coyle (author, director of the Christian Schools Trust in England, leader of EurECA)
“I haven’t read it yet, but I suspect it will be an easy and encouraging read.”—David Midwinter (Teacher Education Services)
The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. Parker Palmer. 1997.
This book has been around for awhile, but the wisdoms and insights Palmer offers are ageless.
“Palmer’s work will help you ‘catch your breath’ and focus on a renewal of your own spirit. This book will assist you in reflecting on your inner motivations and passions that shape ‘who’ you are, and ‘who’ you want to be, as a transformational teacher who is also being transformed.”—Wyndy Corbin-Reuschling (Higher Education Services)
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading. Ronald Heifetz & Marty Linsky. 2002.
This is another book that isn’t directly geared towards educators, but which comes highly recommended for all those who find themselves in a leadership role (including those leading a class of students).
“Though not expressly for educators, this book is applicable to school leaders and teachers alike. Leading staff or students is worthwhile but can be perilous at times; nevertheless by understanding these ideas and concepts, you can live to celebrate your efforts. An easy read with deep implications that can have a lasting impact on your role as a leader and educator.” –Michael N. (School Services)