Books Teachers Recommend to Other Teachers

*Photos by Gil Epshtein

My aunt in the U.S.A.  has said she wants to send me a book. I went looking for recommendations.

Since I couldn’t find such a list I’m starting one myself. I hope placing the recommendations in one place will be helpful to others and will allow me to have a list to look at next time someone wants to send me a book!

Please feel free to add a book recommendation!

slightly open doors

Here are four books I own and recommend:

1) The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer

The Courage to Teach

This book deals with our feelings as a teacher. For example, Palmer writes about how we can get hurt by being vulnerable with our students yet how being vulnerable allows us to really connect : “ Unlike many professions, teaching is always done at the dangerous intersection of personal and public life”.

Not light reading but really relevant.

2) Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn R. Jackson

Never Work Harder

The author writes as if you were hashing out the issues with her face to face. Lots of practical advice regarding structuring classroom practices so that the children benefit and the teacher doesn’t collapse from overwork! Very readable.

3) The Classroom of Choice: Giving Students what they need and getting what you want. By Jonathan C. Erwin

Classroom of Choice

The author focuses on the emotional side of the learner. As he points out – who doesn’t know students that could do well academically but don’t because of emotional issues?

Lots of practical things to try out no matter what subject you teach.

4) Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching By Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury

Just began reading this one. I’m very interested in the theory and am eager to learn more about it!

The following are recommendations by other teachers. I haven’t read any of them YET! Please add your own!

let there be light!

5) Images by Jamie Keddie


Recommended by @harrisonmike – “lots of practical stuff”!

6) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Talk about Kevin

Recommended by @harrisonmike – “A MUST READ!

7) Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities by Penny Ur and Andrew Wright

Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities

Recommended by @CeciELT – An old favorite!

(note: I HAVE read this one though don’t own it! Great!)

8) Bluff your way in Education by Nick Yapp

Recommended by IateflPoland – “for the cynics among us, only 64 pages long, funny too”! “A very humorous, skeptical look at the profession by a teacher who became a Headmaster and went back to being a teacher again”.


9) Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom by Tricia Hedge

Teaching and Learning

Recommended by @nutrich – {Have used } “during DELTA and my MA module on approaches and methods. It’s accessible, not too academic”.

10) Visual Impact Visual Teaching: Using Images to Strengthen Learning by Timothy Gangwer

Visual Impact

I remember getting a warm recommendation for this book and that it is full of practical ideas. Although I duly noted that info I’m embarrassed to say that I did not note who recommended it… Will be happy to add that information!

11) Lexicopoly 1: Reproducible Resources for Language Teachers by Helen O’Brien


Helen (@warnhopepark) was kind enough to send me activities in the style that appear in the book. An impressive array of varied activities designed around a theme.

“Lexicopoly is packed with ideas for integrating vocabulary, grammar and language functions through speech.”

The comment-space can be used to add suggestions of your own!

13 thoughts on “Books Teachers Recommend to Other Teachers”

  1. Dialogue activities Nick Bilbrough

    This is crammed with great teaching ideas and also manages to do something quite new and fresh, looking at spoken interaction/discourse.

  2. Hi Naomi!

    I have recently read the Courage to Teach and loved it too 🙂 Am thinking of others to suggest but there are just so many!

    I would add Teaching Unplugged (Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings – some great ideas), Practices of ELT (Jeremy Harmer – I use it to go back and remember some concepts sometimes, and there are some great ideas as well)… I’ll think of more.

    Thanks for the great post Naomi… will look at it next time I go book shopping 🙂

  3. Hi Naomi,

    Psychology for Language Teachers (Williams and Burden 1997) had a profound effect on my approaches to and understanding of teacher education.

  4. Ceci and Sean!
    Thanks for adding books!
    Literature (which I love) I can get at the library, but building my own “teaching library” requires special effort and it is so helpful to get recommendations. On a book listing everything sounds great, but is it?

  5. Gareth!
    This book sounds so relevant!
    Just watched a webinar by Jonathat C Erwin on how much emotional factors play a part in academic achievement and on what goes on in the classroom (with practical suggestions for dealing with the issue). Our students are not just English learners!
    Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Adam!
    Oh – vocabulary! One of the topics I focus so much work on with my deaf students – thank you!

  7. Hi Naomi,
    First, you are a blogging machine! Every time I come to your blog there are 10 new posts–amazing dedication. I have to admit that I’ve only read through (or skimmed through as many are resource books rather than a typical, read from start to finish type) most of the books on your ‘recommended’ list, none on your actual-have-read list.

    You have a great deal of reading ahead of you it seems.

    1. Tyson!
      Glad you enjoy the blog!
      The Courage to Teach IS a book to read through, not a resource book. Not a light read as it examines the feelings you have when teaching, but not resource material. Never Work Harder Than Your Students is also VERY readable.

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