Resources on Learning and Pedagogy

I’m often asked for sources for teaching and learning. These requests come from educators at all levels of education and learners from across the life span. Many of these resources I have discussed in others posts like my end of year review of books I’ve “read” or as part of a post about a Student Affairs Live episode I’ve hosted. I wanted to pull them together here in an easily accessible and linkable place. I’ve organized these into categories including the science of learning, critical pedagogy, learning for social justice, learning beyond the classroom, and applied pedagogy.

Science of Learning

Much of what we are more recently learning about how learning works contradicts what we have traditionally understood about learning. More details in this previous post 8 Tips from Neuroscience for Learners & Teachers of All Kinds.

Make It Stick
Peter Brown, Henry L. Roedigger III, & Mark A. McDaniel

Excellent insights on how to learn better for learners and teachers from two prominent cognitive psychologists but written by a journalist who uses great analogies and stories to explain complex concepts. A scientific exploration that is also easily accessible and applicable for learners of all kinds.


Daniel J. Siegel

A superb exploration of how the mind works and how we can work with the mind. The first third of the book is an excellently explained overview of brain science. The other two-thirds of the book are case studies of clients who have used their understanding of the brain to manage emotional disconnection, divorce, autism, bi-polar, and more.

neuroscience learning and development

Neuroscience of Learning and Development
Marilee Bresciani Ludvik

An overview of neuroscience with a particular focus on implications for learning beyond the classroom. An edited volume that builds on neuroscience discoveries and applications for learning across the student experience.

How Learning Works
Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, Marie K. Norman

This book was written by several folks who run centers for teaching and learning on college campuses. The authors provide good explanation of learning and research based ways to engage in smart teaching. The seven principles for smart teaching are very useful in constructing courses, workshops, or strategies in curricular approaches.

Multiple Pathways to the Student Brain
Janet Nay Zadina

This book offers a detailed and scientific explanation of the multiple ways that learners engage. The author discusses ways for teachers to use multiple pathways (sensory, attention & memory, emotional, and more) to engage both within and across learners. The book makes the point that learning across pathways strengthens the learning.

Teach Yourself How to Learn
Saundra Yancy McGuire & Stephanie McGuire

Written for students rather than teachers, this book focuses on strategies based in science that may seem counter-intuitive to some of the traditional understandings of learning. This would be a great gift to a new college student who perhaps has gotten away without developing study skills or needs to develop better ones.

The New Science of Learning
Terry Doyle & Todd Zakrajsek

This book focuses on the ways to encourage learning through practices such as exercise, embodiment, using all your senses, chunking, and more and how nutrition, sleep, hydration, and exercise all help us prepare to learn. A very useful approach to learning for those who are busy and want to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.

Brain Based Learning
Eric Jensen

Another text focusing on new learning about the brain and the role of exercise, embodiment, and how to understand and utilize how the brain gets, retains, stores, and utilizes learning.

Critical Pedagogy

Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Paolo Freire

One of my all-time favorites. Freire’s ability to explain complexities of oppression and the role of education in reinforcing this oppression and its potential role in liberating both the oppressed and the oppressors from systems of oppression. This book is one I come back to regularly as it has shaped my world-views and perspectives.

Teaching to Transgress
bell hooks

Another all-time favorite of mine. hooks has shaped my perspective on feminism, social justice, teaching, and liberation. hooks has shaped what it means to be a researcher and teacher of liberation pedagogy for me. I also randomly met bell hooks once during a travel adventure for a job interview. It is a great story.

The Courage to Teach

The Courage to Teach
Parker Palmer

I’ve read through this multiple times and still find quotes that inspire me as a teacher and make me ponder the importance of our inner life as educators. It always reinforces for me the importance of educator developing a deeper awareness of who we are and our purpose so that we can be clearer in our efforts to help learners learn better.

Laura Rendón

This is a wonderful book building on the three books above from Palmer, Freire, and hooks. Rendón calls for a pedagogical approach grounded in both our thinking and feeling to foster deeper and more meaningful learning. She discusses how to integrate critical perspectives with liberation pedagogy and contemplative practices.

Learning as Transformation
Jack Mezirow & Associates

A deep scholarly exploration of transformational learning, which they define as changing how we view the world. This edited volume includes chapters by some of the most prominent thinkers on learning including Brookfield, Langer, Kegan, Mezirow, and more.

Learning for Social Justice

Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice

Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice
Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, Diane J. Goodman, & Khyati Y. Joshi

A great sourcebook on theory, design, pedagogy and core concepts for learning for social justice. This book includes overall design, concepts, and frameworks as well as more specific content for different forms of oppression including racism, ageism, religious oppression, genderism, and more.

Readings for Diversity and Social Justice

Readings for Diversity and Social Justice
Maurianne Adams, Warren J. Blumenfeld, D. Chase J. Catalano, Keri “Safire” DeJong, Heather W. Hackman, Larissa E. Hopkins, Barbara J. Love, Madeline L. Peters, Davey Shlasko, & Ximena Zuniga

An edited companion to the volume above with selected readings providing content related to different areas of social justice including racism, genderism, ableism, and more.

Advancing Social Justice

Advancing Social Justice
Tracy Davis & Laura Harrison

This book makes the case for approaches to social justice education that bring about greater individual and collective liberation. I’d recommend this to those who are looking to deepen their personal work around social justice to be more effective social justice educators.

The Art of Effective Faciliation

The Art of Facilitation
Lisa Landreman

A book with various perspectives on the art of social justice education. My two favorite chapters were Kathy Obear’s chapter on Navigating Triggers and Kristi Clemens and Brian Arao’s chapter on Brave Space.

Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy

Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy
Beth Berila

A great read about why and how to integrate mindfulness based approaches in the classroom. The author makes the case for, provides the rational, and illustrates ways to effectively integrate these pedagogies for social justice. Great applications for beyond the classroom as well.

Radical Dharma
angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens, Jasmine Syedullah

A written collection of public dialogues about racism, white supremacy, and liberation. These Buddhist teachers discuss both racism within Buddhist communities and how to utilize Buddhist teachings and practices as tools to foster individual and collective liberation. A solid read for those interested in new approaches to grounded liberation approaches to racial justice.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning Reconsidered

Learning Reconsidered
Richard Keeling, Patrick Day, Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, Nancy Evans, Jane Fried, Susan Komives, William McDonald, & Susan Salvador

This document uses brain science to dispel the myth that students learning differently in the classroom and beyond the classroom rather than having a bifurcated experience students have a unified experience – “college.”

Learning Everywhere On Campus

Learning Everywhere On Campus
Jane Fried & Ruth Harper

Various educators make the case for learning opportunities across the student experience with various examples to illustrate the power of the holistic student experience.

Student Learning in College Residence Halls

Student Learning in College Residence Halls
Greg Blimling

An overview of the history, research, and approaches to student learning in residence halls. The author reviews the history of different approaches; discusses the research from a macro level on what works, what doesn’t work, and how it works; and offers suggestions and recommendations.

Applied Pedagogy

Small Teaching
James Lang

Lang integrates much of what we are learning about learning and offers suggestions for small changes to teaching based on the science. His focus is on small changes for college faculty to increase student learning but these strategies can be utilized for facilitators, coaches, and teachers of all kinds.

Learning Partnerships

Learning Partnerships
Marcia Baxter Magolda and Patricia M. King

The book explores learning partnerships as a way for educators and learners to work together in the right balance toward self-authorship. When should educators take a leading role to guide learners and where should educators allow learners to take the lead and provide a supporting role?

Contemplative Practices in Higher Education

Contemplative Practices in Higher Education
Daniel Barbezat & Mirabai Bush

An exploration of the many contemplative practices from mindfulness to yoga to meditation to embodied learning that can be utilized to foster learning in higher education. A great resource for folks looking to expand how they teach in ways that are aligned with both thousands of years old spiritual traditions and the latest neuroscience.

Of Education, Fishbowls, and Rabbit Holes
Jane Fried

Fried offers clear explanation of pedagogy and suggestions for teachers to bring a more updated approach to teaching and learning in the classroom, beyond the classroom, and in how we think about higher education broadly.

Teaching Across Cultural Strengths
Alicia Fedelina Chavez and Susan Diana Longerbeam

The authors discuss tangible ways for teachers to not only avoid marginalization but to utilize cross-cultural approaches to strengthen the learning for all learners. Their approach of tending to both integrated and individualized ways of knowing, learning, and applying is simple and useful.

Learning as a Way of Leading
Stephen Preskill & Stephen D. Brookfield

Stephen Preskill and Stephen Brookfield outline a new way of leading by learning. They particularly focus on nine practices with a different leader for social change as a model for each. This book offers a useful history lesson in social change as well as leadership lessons that are well organized and applicable.

What would you add?

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