The foundational books from Ron Berger‘s EL Education project. Ron has over 3 decades of teaching experience and has been working to reshape the US conventional school system from within. A most beautiful illustration of the approach is “Austin’s butterfly” – do take a look, and be inspired.

Book 1: Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment. Book 2 – the companion book, with a lot more tools and practical suggestions for classrooms and how to overcome the inevitable challenges. Book 3: Learning That Lasts: Challenging, Engaging, and Empowering Students with Deeper Instruction

Fabrice Dini’s An Integral Education for Growth and Blossoming

Warren Berger’s The Book of Beautiful Questions and the even more relevant Beautiful Questions in the Classroom: Transforming Classrooms Into Cultures of Curiosity and Inquiry

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi’s reflections about an extraordinary and unusual school in Tokyo during WW-II that combined freedom, fun and love – Totto-Chan : The Little Girl at the Window

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by McDaniel, Roediger & Brown – a first-rate study about learning and memory, and how much of what we take for gospel about how to learn turns out to be largely wasted effort. This book is based on the work of two cognitive scientists who have spent their lives studying these subjects, and ought to be on the required reading lists of parents and teachers alike. Here are a few of my key notes and takeaways on this book.

Adam Grant’s Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Kireet Joshi’s The Good Teacher and the Good Pupil

Paths to Self-discovery: Reflective practices with children. A review.

Partho’s Integral Education : Beyond Schooling

John Gatto’s insightful critique of modern-day “schooling” : Dumbing us Down. Given that I’ve always had a strong rebellious streak, and a stronger distaste for conventional schooling, Gatto’s book resonated with me at a very fundamental and personal level.

Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction is less powerful, but still a great read to understand how ‘school’ as we know it came to be (the origin story, from Prussia, to UK/America, how it is poorly designed from ab-initio etc) :

The founding story of Acton Academy – Courage to Grow: How Acton turns Learning Upside Down. If you are inspired by their work and live in the US, Acton Academies are active in several cities across the country. Look them up here.

Robert Pirsig’s On Quality : An inquiry into Excellence

Mark Edmundon’s Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education

To me, the most profound insights on the subject of Education in our age come from Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, The Mother. The breadth and depth of their revealed knowledge on this subject is so vast, illuminating and comprehensive that I find it hard to suggest a single book or reference. That said, for interested readers there are a series of three books which are a fantastic starting point: Book 1 – Foundations of Education: Advice to Students and Teachers. Book 2 – Guidance on Education. Book 3 – Physical Education and Culture.


Here are two podcasts that I’ve found to be really helpful. Teaching tends to be lonely work, and these conversations really help me feel connected with the vast universe of fellow-travelers who are all trying to be better versions of ourselves.

1. Jennifer Gonzalez’ Cult of Pedagogy podcast

“Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology — if it has something to do with teaching, we’re talking about it. On the podcast, I interview educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you’ll never learn in a textbook. Other episodes feature me on my own, offering advice on ways to make your teaching more effective and more fun.”

2. Dan Jackson’s Effective Teaching podcast

“Through research and interviews Dan looks at all things education in order to help teachers implement strategies that focus on developing student capacity to be self-sufficient learners as well as providing other tips for teachers to enhance their effectiveness.”