Reading List

Research, sample units, and courses related to authentic learning
Innovative courses currently being taught at Stanford University


Instructional scaffolding to improve learning Dec. 5, 2014.

Research-based strategies designed to help teachers coach students inside and outside the classroom


Teachable Agents and the Protégé Effect: Increasing the Effort towards Learning.
Chase CC, Chin DB, Oppezzo MA, Schwartz DL.
J Sci Educ Technol. 2009;18:334-352.

The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning
Zull JE, Stylus Pub


Learner Centered Teaching: Putting the Research into Practice
Doyle, T. (2011), VA: Stylus

Based on the latest teaching/learning research the author presents very practical teaching strategies that college instructors can use to improve the learning of adults. The focus is upon coaching for student independence in “learning how to learn” and    developing opportunities for student problem solving for real world tasks.


The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain
Doyle, T. & Zakrajsek, T. (2013), VA. Stylus

The authors provide a summary of the latest brain-based learning research along with practical suggestions to improve learning.


Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Ratey, J. ( 2008), New York: NY Little Brown

John J. Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Research Synthesizer, Speaker, and best selling Author.  He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles on the topics of Aggression, Autism, ADHD, and other issues in Neuropsychiatry, and written 8 books published in 14 languages. With the publication of this book, “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain,”(2008), Dr. Ratey has established himself as a leading expert in the brain-fitness connection. See his videos about learning and the brain at


Teacher Man
McCourt, Frank. (2005), NY: Scribner

My favorite book about teaching is by the Pulitzer Prize Winning author of Angela’s Ashes. It chronicles his life as a teacher in the New York public schools system through his first struggling steps as a new teacher to his “coming alive in room 205”. It demonstrates that teaching is not easy, that it requires self-analysis, and that sometimes the stars align. It is also available as an audio book for those who love the Scottish accent. McCourt spoke at Maryville University twice as part of the Maryville Speakers series and the last time I was able to meet him. He stole my heart when I told him I was a teacher and he replied “you’re doing God’s work”.


What the Best College Teachers Do
Bain, Ken (2004), Cambridge:Harvard

This book was also required reading for students in the Nursing Education Masters Degree. Bain asks and answers questions about course design, delivery, and assessment that are essential for teachers who design their own courses. The book is the result of a qualitative research study in which Bain and his colleagues interviewed college teachers in a variety of disciplines who had been identified as “best” by their students and their peers. It really helped me learn to “think through” my courses.


My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
Nathan, Rebekah. (2005), Ithica: Cornell University

Nathan, an anthropologist, immersed herself in college culture by becoming an adult student who lived in the freshman dorm. Although the book is not a “how to teach” book, it is a fascinating look at what is actually going on in the lives of college students and at how different that is from the college life I experienced as a residential student in the 1970’s (Yes, I am that old!).


Developing Critical Thinkers (1987) and Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995)
Anything written by Stephen Brookfield!!!!
San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Obviously focused on critical thinking and reflective practice these books explain the theory, but also give practical tips about incorporating critical thinking into your life and your teaching. The latter was really an introduction into the scholarship of teaching and learning before I had been introduced to that term.


Critical thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World
Paul, Richard. (1993), CA: Foundation for critical thinking

This book, and the conferences I attended (and presented at), changed the way I taught as a beginning teacher. It introduces the components of critical thinking and clearly describes how to incorporate these into your teaching and into your assessment of student work.


Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning
Mezirow, Jack. (1990), San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Education is more than increasing knowledge and skills; it must also address affective learning. Mezirow (and associates) bring affective learning to the forefront. True learning must be transformational; it must change something at the core of the learner; it must free the learner from prior biases and untested assumptions about the self and the world. In many ways this book was the key to my continuing focus on teaching empathy. It has grounded my teaching practice.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Dweck, C. S. (2006), New York: Ballantine

The author explores how mental attitude that determines how people will interpret and respond to situations. Discussion includes how a fixed mindset inhibits learning whereas a growth mindset contributes to creativity, improve problem solving, The author argues that a growth mindset can be developed and offers ways to do so.


The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance
Ericsson, K. A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P. J., & Hoffman, R. R. (Eds.). (2006)
New York: Cambridge University Press.

The editors explore various disciplines to better understand how excellence is achieved. The editors propose that expertise results from a combination of factors including domain-specific practice, hard work, feedback of performance, and passion.

How the Brain Learns
David A. Sousa, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks California 2006, 3rd edition

Website Link:

Robert J. Marzano, PhD, is cofounder and CEO of Marzano Research in Colorado. A leading researcher in education, he is a speaker, trainer, and author of more than 30 books and 150 articles.

Sousa, Doyle, and Marzano offer insight into how we learn and then translate that knowledge to classroom strategies that work.  Marzano, in particular, aggressively researchers the strategies he supports.


The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners
Tomlinson, C. A.(2014)

Multiple Intelligences
Howard Gardner, Basic Books; Third Edition edition (March 29, 2011)

Gardner and Tomlinson remind us that we are not created equal, not do we have equal ability or have we had equal experiences.  Their work offers food for thought and gives us reason to search for alternative, non-traditional methods in the classroom.

The Advancement of Learning: Building the Teaching Commons
Huber, M. T., & Hutchings, P. (2005), San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass

The Advancement of Learning answers questions readers are likely to have: What are the defining elements of the scholarship of teaching and learning? What traditions does it build on? What are its distinctive claims and possibilities? What are the implications of the scholarship of teaching and learning for academic culture and careers? How does it shape the student experience? In addition, authors Mary Taylor Huber and Pat Hutchings introduce a new concept that expands on the scholarship of teaching and learning—the teaching commons. As the authors explain, the teaching commons is a conceptual space in which communities of educators committed to inquiry and innovation come together to exchange ideas about teaching and learning and use them to meet the challenges of educating students for personal, professional, and civic life.


Enhancing Learning through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling
McKinney, K. (2007), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

The Challenges and Joys of Juggling There has been growing demand for workshops and materials to help those in higher education conduct and use the scholarship of teaching and learning. This book offers advice on how to do, share, and apply SoTL work to improve student learning and development. Written for college-level faculty members as well as faculty developers, administrators, academic staff, and graduate students, this book will also help undergraduate students collaborating with faculty on SoTL projects. Though targeted at those new to the field of SoTL, more seasoned SoTL researchers and those attempting to support SoTL efforts will find the book valuable. It can be used as an individual reading, as shared reading in SoTL writing circles, a resource in workshops on SoTL, and a text in seminars on teaching.


Teaching as Community Property: Essays on Higher Education
Shulman, L. S. (2004), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

For almost two decades, acclaimed education scholar and current president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Lee S. Shulman has been bringing uncommon wit, passion, and vision to issues of teaching and learning in higher education. Teaching as Community Property brings together a brilliant collection of Shulman’s papers and presentations since 1987, giving readers a unique window into his ideas and proposals for the improvement of teaching and learning in higher education. What emerges is a vision of Shulman’s overarching agenda–to improve the quality of teaching for all students by making teaching a more respected dimension of all the disciplines and professional fields.