Back in college I almost changed my major around 100 times. I actually only changed it once and only once. I changed it during my first week of college from Education to History. I guess that doesn’t make too much sense considering I am now a teacher. One major that I seriously considered changing to numerous times was International Affairs (also perhaps interesting to note that I am now an instructor in a graduate school of international studies). I didn’t change my major from History to International Affairs because I was scared of economics. All those graphs. Guns and butter. Math. I was kind of terrified so I just stuck with History. It strikes me as funny that all these years later, economics would become a personal interest of mine. To be honest, I am still not all that interested in or confident with the graphs but I have been reading books with some relation to economics in the last few years. Popular (or mostly popular? Well-known? Well-known in certain circles?) non-fiction books like Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics, The Logic of Life, The Undercover Economist, What Money Can’t Buy, Justice, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism, and Wikinomics come to mind. I guess these are a bit more like pop-economics or something along those lines but I found them enjoyable and informative.
Other semi-related books that have caught my attention in the past few years include The Wisdom of Crowds, Outliers, Blink,
[Health warning (for some of y’all): There is probably more than a bit of what some of you good people might consider “junk science” or pseudo-intellectualism in some of these books!]
One thing I am especially interested in these days is change. Some books I’ve enjoyed that address this are Adapt, The Tipping Point and the exquisitely titled Nudge. I am not suggesting that “change” need to be a module on training courses but it strikes me as interesting that this has not been a common topic in most of my official training in the field. Perhaps this is another area that is deemed too complicated for beginning teachers? Roll on with the grammar then I suppose.
I thoroughly enjoyed the books listed above and I believe they have helped me think about the world in a slightly different way than I previously did.**That said, I don’t think I made much of a connection between my reading addiction and my teaching life until relatively recently. In this post over on the #iTDi blog I talk about one book that has helped me think about change and some of the factors to consider when trying to bring about change.
It wasn’t until I had been teaching for around 10 years before I ever saw the connection between my reading habit and the work that I do as a teacher and teacher trainer. I guess I just thought of them as separate worlds but lately I have been able to make some connections and draw some parallels and apply insights from “outside reading” to teaching, learning and the field. At this moment I am very much looking forward to the end of term when I can read more without guilt. I am also wondering if any readers would like to share book recommendations, stories related to how “outside reading” has impacted their teaching or anything else in between.
**I also think the reading habit has helped me build up my personal corpus so that I can respond better (but not perfectly of course) to students questions on usage. Also, considering that many of the speeches my interpreting students work on are related to economics I think I have appeared far less foolish than I otherwise would have.