Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Book Circles - Winter 2024

Book CirclesThe CTLT hosts book circles every academic quarter and during summers. They are open to all Cal Poly educators. Selected books draw from a broad array of thoughtful and inspiring educational literature. These are opportunities to enrich your knowledge about timely and significant topics related to higher education while engaging with colleagues from across campus. Participants receive a complimentary copy of the selected book with the expectation that they will engage in three or more discussion sessions. Themes for book circle selections include: Mindful Educators, Mastery Teaching, Inclusive Educators, Navigating Academia, Sustainability Educators, and Writing Educators. 

NOTE: Our cumulative Book Circles list of titles is available on the CTLT's Book Circle archival webpage.

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons From The Science of Teaching (2nd Ed.)

by James Lang

 Resilient book coverTwo elements in the book's title touch on key aspects of the book's purpose that are worth noting when considering joining this circle. One is the focus on the "... Science of Learning." In recent years, researchers have been compiling numerous new insights into how the human brain learns. These findings are terrifically valuable for ideas on more powerful teaching techniques, and Lang has identified many of the most relevant research to share in this book. The second element of the title worth noting is the focus on "Small Teaching." Lang's emphasis is on small-scale adjustments that are not difficult or time-consuming to implement but that could yield big benefits for student learning. Lang is a graceful and engaging writer, which means he introduces and contextualizes complex concepts in accessible and enjoyable ways. If you want to learn about new findings in the science of learning to apply to your teaching, this book is for you. You will come away with many compelling ideas that you will be able to put into immediate practice to enhance your teaching effectiveness.

A "Mastery Teaching" selection

  • Dates: Jan 31, Feb 7, 14, and 21
  • Time: 12:10-1 pm
  • Location: Online in Zoom (a link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Dianna Winslow, PhD (CTLT)


Ungifted - Intelligence Redefined: The Truth About Talent, Practice, Creativity and the Many Paths to Greatness

By Scott Barry Kaufman

 Resilient book coverA characteristic common to many of the best educators is that they hold a deeply held belief in the potential of every learner to grow and excel. Those educators convey that confidence to all of their students, including those who struggle and those who don't fit the typical profile of the successful student. Ample research confirms that when teachers hold high expectations for coupled with high confidence for learners' success (along with appropriate support), more students achieve more. Kaufman's book is a personal journey through the scholarship of what we know about what intelligence is and the different pathways that learners can find to achievements. Kaufmann, labeled at three as learning disabled, vividly shares his own path to achievement (he earned a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale and is the Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania). Through his experiences and his use of a broad array of scholarship we learn what educators need to know about many forms of intelligence so that we can better support the potential in all learners.

An "Inclusive Educators" selection

  • Dates: Tuesdays, Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, and 13
  • Time: 9:10-10:00 am
  • Location: Onsite: Chase Hall room 104 and online (Zoom link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Patrick O'Sullivan, PhD (CTLT)


Solito: A Memoir

by Javier Zamora

 Resilient book coverA memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito provides an immediate and intimate account not only of a treacherous and near-impossible journey but also of the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier Zamora's story, but it's also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.This memoir documents Zamora’s three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He leaves behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone amid a group of strangers and a "coyote" hired to lead them to safety, Javier expects his trip to last two short weeks. At nine years old, he cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests, and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside fellow migrants who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

An "Inclusive Educators" selection

  • Dates: Fridays, Jan 12, 26, and Feb 9
  • Time: 12:10-1:00 pm
  • Location: Online in Zoom (link will be sent to registrants)
  • Facilitators: Diana Menendez, PhD (Counseling Services) and Kari Mansager (Wellbeing Services)

REGISTER FOR WINTER 2024 BOOK CIRCLES  (Registration closed)

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