From Bookends to Bookcases: On Finding Some Great Summer Reading

Oh hello! Still in that hammock from our last blog?

hammock

Well don’t worry—this time I’m not here to get you up to plan next year’s courses. 🙂  I do have more to say about bookends, but that can wait until closer to September, when you start planning your classes.

For now, I’m here to help with your summer reading list to fill up your bookcase. I’ve asked a few colleagues for ideas, and (as always) I have some ideas of my own.

bookcase

Dr. Lindsay Davidson contributed: Getting started with TBL by Jim Sibley http://learntbl.ca/book/ as an excellent way to introduce yourself to teaching with small groups as we do in Queen’s UGME.

Dr. Sue Fostaty-Young contributed one of her go-to books on teaching: Therese Huston’s Teaching What You Don’t Know. Sue says, Intended as a book for new and junior faculty members who frequently have to teach large service classes that may be far removed from their areas of interest or expertise, the book is simply one of the best all round books on teaching that I’ve come across.

Paola Durando, librarian at Bracken suggests: How to Teach: A Handbook for Clinicians (Success in Medicine) 1st Edition by Shirley Dobson, Michael Dobson, and Lesley Bromley. (Now in Bracken Library!)

Sandra Halliday, and Suzanne Maranda, also librarians at Bracken, remind us about the reading guides for medical education: http://guides.library.queensu.ca/healthed A quick skim of this really great resource turns up some intriguing titles: Medical education : a dictionary of quotations by Kieran Walsh, Medical Education: theory and practice with Tim Dornan, Karen V. Mann, Albert Scherpbier and John A. Spencer (Editors) (I think I’ve mentioned this one before—it’s another what I call a great “Dipping” book and anything by Karen Mann has my vote),

Dr. Richard Van Wylick contributes these 4 books. He says,

  1. This one got me off to a good start:  Guidebook for Clerkship Directors:
  1. I have not read it yet, but was recommended and I certainly need help personally with this these days!: Make it Stick by Peter Brown:  (Sheila’s note:  I’ve read this and it’s really helpful, practical and interesting for teachers as well as learners—turns traditional teaching “beliefs” on their head. Here’s what Amazon says, Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from

And now you’ll have to read it! SP)                   stick

  1. This is a light read,with funny short anecdotes and stories: The Surprising Lives of Small Town Doctors:
  2. And well, because I have two of them: The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt: https://www.amazon.com/Teenage-Brain-Neuroscientists-Survival-Adolescents/dp/0062067842

Sheila’s completely idiosyncratic picks:

  1.  As for me, I’ve finished dipping into The Question of Competence: Reconsidering Medical Education in the Twenty-First Century, with Brian Hodges as editor. With Competency-Based Education so critical, question it’s a great book to get at some of the implications of CBE and it truly is dippable—you don’t need to read it cover to cover in one setting, but can dip into chapters as interest guides you. I call these my “Dipping” books.

2.  Someone recently gave me Gratitude by Oliver Sacks (Thanks SM!) which has motivated me to pick up his Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. I find him an inspiring writer so I’m looking forward to reading this. And Gratitude is certainly worth picking up for its three lovely reflections.

3.  Recently, one of our faculty heard that it wasn’t her job to comment on students’ spelling, grammar and syntax as a medical educator. That’s actually not correct (it’s in our Red Book objectives) but to bolster the case, I found this book by Clive E. Handler that looks interesting: English and Reflective Writing Skills in Medicine: A Guide for Medical Students and Doctors. I’m ordering it to read over the summer so I can let you know. But anything that has writing skills and reflection in the same title is a hook for me!

4.  Because I’m fascinated by the odd reputation that reflection has in medical education, (I’ve seen medical students blanch and strong doctors flinch at the term :), I’ve been dipping into A Teacher’s Reflection Book, Exercise, Stories, Invitations by Jean Koh Peters, and Queen’s own Mark Weisberg. I’ve just finished Chapter 5, The Teacher and Vocation (I have a bad habit of reading chapters out of sync—I read Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, from the end backward—turned out to be a great book!). While the word vocation might make some shy nervously, I’m really liking the exercises. It starts off by asking “What if you had nothing to prove?” What a great question!

Since I’m reflecting on writing about reflecting for a later blog, I’ll save the full review for later, but try this one exercise: Write your personal mission statement or your “call” as a bumper sticker. And here’s a teaser. There is a paradigm shift in viewing your teaching as a vocation rather than a career. Here’s one example: Career = Who am I? What’s in it for me? Vocation = Whose am I? Who am I in teaching for? (James Fowler).

I’ve just started reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.   airIsn’t it a wonderful book? I also have a bad habit of reading 3 books at the same time, but this one is maintaining first place in my reading triad easily! When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir chronicling Paul Kalanithi’s life as he studies at Stanford University, and then at Yale University’s medical school. Kalanithi is close to finishing his training as a neurosurgeon when he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. This is a haunting book for me and one that is inspiring me as well.

And last but not least, because summer and especially vacations are a great time to exercise your right brain, and because she’s a favourite author of mine, may I recommend: The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop: Seven Lessons to Inspire Great Writing by Danell Jones? WolfeThis is another great dipping book, and I’ve tried each of the exercises—so much fun!

What about you?  What great books are you heading for this summer?  Feel free to write in with your suggestions!  And thanks to my colleagues for their suggestions!

Hope these give you some ideas so you can climb back into that hammock and bury yourself in many good books this summer! Have a peaceful, restful, reading-ful summer and I look forward to seeing you come the fall.hammock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to From Bookends to Bookcases: On Finding Some Great Summer Reading

  1. Chris Frank says:

    Strange as it sounds, I found The Sense of Style by Stephen Pinker really helpful for my academic (and even email) writing. It is an updated style guide that is engaging and, not surprisingly, very well written. I was reading it when doing revisions to a disastrous paper- and the revised version using his sense of style helped to get it accepted. It is not a hammock read but good for other times

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