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Welcome! Professional Development Courses is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to hear directly from some of the most well- known authors of educational books in the United States! Every few weeks a new author will be featured.

Meet the writers of the textbooks used in our most in demand courses! Authors of our most popular textbooks have written brief descriptions about the contents of their books and why they are relevant and applicable to today's 21st-century teacher. Find out directly from the author why these textbooks and accompanying courses will have a positive influence on your teaching and in your classroom. We hope this intimate connection will aid you in your journey to finding courses that will help you reach your professional goals.

  • Author: Dr. Ellen J. Langer

    Posted: April 15, 2019

    Course: EDUC 711X Creating a Mindful Environment


     My name is Dr. Ellen Langer, and my books Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning are used in a course offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne. For educators considering enrolling in this course, I would like to introduce these books. The books make forty years of research available in an accessible form for teachers, and show how they might use the ideas to help their students approach their classes more mindfully. Sadly, this research makes clear that mindlessness is pervasive. The majority of us — teachers and students alike—are mindless most of the time. Happily, the research also makes clear that mindfulness is easy, fun, and does not require meditation. For example, simply teaching with conditional language like “perhaps,”from one perspective,” “could be” has been shown to lead to mindful learning and engenders creative use of the presented information.

    The experiments described in these two books have shown that Mindfulness helps us to be innovative, less stressed, improves our memory, and also our relationships. When we’re mindful, we’re seen as charismatic and trustworthy. A mindful outlook also leaves its imprint on the products of our labor. Essentially, it feels good and is good for us.

    In The Power of Mindful Learning we see that when we learn mindfully, we recognize that information looks different from different perspectives. As a result, we come to accept uncertainty and stay open to information. When I lecture on Mindful Learning, for example, I often start by asking people “How much is 1+1?” Everyone dutifully answers “2.” But 1+1 is only sometimes 2. If you add one pile of laundry to one pile of laundry, 1+1= 1; one piece of chewing gum plus one piece of chewing gum = 1 piece of chewing gum. Because we tend to learn mindlessly, we’re frequently in error but rarely in doubt. In contrast, Mindful learning reveals all sorts of opportunities to which we’d otherwise be blind.

    4 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. Shirley Cohen, Ph.D.

    Posted: April 1, 2019

    Course: EDUC 712Z Understanding Autism


    Material for New Blog for Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne

    Shirley Cohen, Ph.D.

    Author of the book Targeting Autism used in EDUC 712Z

    My book, Targeting Autism, seeks to help teachers and other professionals understand the world of autism from various perspectives including those of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), families of such children, and educational professionals. This book reflects my direct experience teaching children with autism as well as my later experiences observing such children in their educational settings, interviewing staff of the programs that serve them, meeting with parents, and training teachers who will be working with children on the autism spectrum.

    The goal of this book is to establish a strong foundation of understanding that will guide and support the variety of educational strategies helpful to children with ASD as well as to other children with special needs.

    3 Comment(s)

  • Author: David R. Dupper

    Posted: March 18, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 712O Bullying


    My name is Dr. David Dupper, and my book is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne. I want to let you know about my book and how it may be useful to teachers who wish to enroll in this course.

    The reason I wrote this book is because bullying is one of the most prevalent and insidious forms of violence in schools today and the fact that many teachers and other school professionals lack sufficient understanding of the phenomenon of bullying as well as best practices in bullying prevention and intervention. In my book, I expand the current discussion of bullying in schools to include all the ways in which power is misused and abused in schools including adult-student relationships. Rather than a “rite of passage” and “normal part of growing up,” I argue that bullying must be viewed for what it is: a systematic abuse of power that impacts the learning environment of schools in profound ways.

    I discuss bullying within the larger cultural context of the United States, and I also incorporate international perspectives on bullying. I utilize a whole-school approach as a framework for developing and implementing comprehensive interventions to combat bullying. A whole-school approach seeks to engage all members of the school community (e.g., students, teachers, staff, parents, community members) in developing a common vision and a commitment to combat all forms of bullying in schools. A whole-school approach seeks to change the entire culture and climate of the school.

    I dispel myths about bullies, and I discuss the increasingly important role that peer witnesses play in combating bullying in schools. A unique feature of my book is the discussion of several “under-the-radar” forms of bullying in schools (i.e., religious bullying, bullying by teachers and other adults in schools). Perhaps most importantly, I discuss specific steps, based on best practices, that can be taken to combat all forms of bullying in schools in as comprehensive a manner as possible. My hope in writing this volume is that it will assist educators, parents, students, and other interested individuals to understand bullying in all its forms and complexity and to plan and implement comprehensive and effective interventions across a number of levels based on this complex understanding. I firmly believe that we have the knowledge and tools necessary to change our schools from a culture of bullying to a culture of compassion.

    3 Comment(s)

  • Author: Todd Whitaker

    Posted: March 4, 2019

     Course: EDUC 712X Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents


    Todd Whitaker wrote the following paragraphs about his and Douglas J. Fiore’s book, Dealing with Difficult Parents, which is used in the course EDUC 712X Understanding and Dealing with Difficult Parents.

    Do you have parents that you just dread dealing with? When they call on the phone, walk into your classroom, or you see them in the office, do you get a sinking feeling? Do you ever have to deliver bad news to nice parents? This book is designed to provide valuable tools for educators to deal with hostile parents, build relations with all parents, and learn new techniques that can help you effectively deliver tough news in a positive manner. You will develop skills which will allow you and everyone in your organization to be more effective in dealing with these most challenging people.

    You will learn specific language to defuse the toughest situation. There are scripts to assist in starting every conversation. Confidence is the most valuable gift we can have, and this book is designed to fill your toolbox with immediately applicable approaches for every situation with parents. Good reading and good luck! -- Todd Whitaker

    2 Comment(s)

  • Author: Sandra Rief

    Posted: February 19, 2019

    Course(s): ADD/ADHD Strategies and Interventions for the Classroom


    I have been an educator for over 40 years.  Prior to the years I spent consulting to school districts and presenting teacher workshops/seminars nationally and internationally on best practices for helping students with ADHD and LD succeed in school, I taught in San Diego Unified School District as a resource specialist.    I have authored and co-authored several books and other teacher resources that provide practical strategies and key information for teaching students with learning, attention, and behavioral challenges.  I am happy to learn that one of my books, How to Reach and Teach Children and Teens with ADD/ADHD, 3rd edition (published by Jossey-Bass) is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses from the University of La Verne.  

    Unfortunately, many students with ADHD are struggling in school due to their lack of identification and effective treatment/intervention, as well as the misinterpretation of their behaviors by teachers and others who don’t really understand this brain-based disorder and its impact on their functioning.  Of all the books I have authored, this one is my favorite.  It has my heart because of the numerous contributions from other teachers, parents, and teens/adults who generously shared their personal stories, insights, and strategies with me, and granted me permission to be able to share with you. I am sure that you will find the interviews, case studies, and particularly Section 5.1: A Parent's Story...What Every Teacher, Clinician, and Parent of a Child with ADHD Needs to Hear to be compelling and enlightening.    The message I would like you to take away from this book, above everything else, is that it is never too late to help a child or teen, and often the kind of help that can make a huge difference doesn’t take a lot of effort.  Sometimes it's even small changes, such as the way we respond to a student ’s behavior, or a few supports and accommodations provided by the teacher that can lead to significant improvements.  Those teacher efforts go a long way in building a close home-school relationship, as well.  Don’t underestimate the power of your encouragement, guidance, and support.  A quote on a plaque my friend saw summed it up nicely: “Teachers affect eternity.  One can never tell where their influence ends.” I am truly delighted that my book is being used as one of your textbooks and hope you will find it to be a valuable resource. Thank you!

    2 Comment(s)

  • Author: Jared Covili

    Posted: February 4, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 717E Creating a Google Apps Classroom


    Greetings online learners!  My name is Jared Covili and my book, Going Google, is part of the curriculum for a course offered at Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne.  I am currently a technology integration specialist at the Utah Education Network and taught workshops across the US helping educators use technology in their classrooms.  I have spent the past twenty years in education and love seeing the impact that technology plays in learning. I hope the following information about my book is useful for teachers who wish to enroll in this course.

    I wrote the book Going Google as a way to help educators and administrators tap into the amazing Google library of tools to help students learn in new and innovative ways.  Google has been a leader in helping connect ideas and people, and its impact on the classroom is nothing short of revolutionary.  As you read through the text, I share practical examples of classroom activities using a variety of the Google tools, and you'll learn even more as educators from across the world share how they are implementing Google in their own classrooms.  Even though the tools may be updated and change from time to time, the concepts in this book will help you design activities incorporating essential learning skills like collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.  I hope you'll find something to help you in your classroom and beyond.  Perhaps you too will find these tools will make you say you've Gone Google!

    5 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.

    Posted: January 15, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 718B The Special Needs Brain: Helping it Learn, EDUC 717S Making Math Meaningful, Maybe Marvelous!, EDUC 718A How the ELL Brain Learns, EDUC 717W How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation, and EDUC 718C Understanding and Teaching the Rewired Brain



    My name is Dr. David A. Sousa, and I am pleased that my texts are used in courses offered at Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne. For more than 20 years, I have studied and implemented ways to translate brain research into educational practice. After all, teachers try to change the human brain every day. So the more they know about how the brain learns, the more successful they can be. The university recognizes the importance of including in its courses the findings from brain research. I have provided the following paragraphs about my books that are intended to be useful to teachers who take these courses.


    EDUC 718B The Special Needs Brain: Helping it Learn

    How the Special Needs Brain Learns, 3rd Edition: Brain research continues to reveal insights into the problems that can arise when people learn. I wrote this book to assist K-12 teachers in understanding the various categories of learning difficulties that affect students with special needs. I included important information, suggestions, and classroom-tested strategies that teachers can use to address different disabilities and to help these students become successful and motivated learners. Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.


    EDUC 717S Making Math Meaningful, Maybe Marvelous!

    How the Brain Learns Mathematics, 2nd Edition: K-12 teachers often hear students say, “I can’t do math,” but seldom hear them say, “I can’t do language.” Yet both capabilities are pre-wired in the young brain. In this book, I explain in plain language how the student’s neural networks process mathematics. With this information, I suggest instructional strategies teachers can use that allow students to clearly understand and apply mathematical concepts. Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.


    EDUC 718A How the ELL Brain Learns

    How the ELL Brain Learns: As the number of ELL students in K-12 classrooms continues to grow, teachers face the challenge of understanding their language needs. This book presents research on how ELL students learn a new language and offers research-based suggestions that teachers can use to develop instructional strategies to successfully meet those needs. I also include important new research findings that help teachers identify and support ELL students with learning disabilities. Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.


    EDUC 717W How the Brain Learns to Read: Decoding, Comprehension, and Motivation

    How the Brain Learns to Read, 2nd Edition: Reading is probably the most difficult learning task we ask an individual’s brain to do. Using the latest findings from brain research, I explain in this book how young brains learn to make sense of printed language and how teachers you can use this information to reach students of all ages and skill levels. I included a chapter on how to teach for comprehension and one on strategies for helping students with dyslexia and older struggling readers master subject-area content. Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.


    EDUC 718C Understanding and Teaching the Rewired Brain

    Engaging the Rewired Brain: Recent research suggests that children’s brains are being rewired by their constant interaction with technology, leaving educators questioning how instruction needs to change to successfully teach these digital natives. In this book, I give teachers the tools they need to address the changes in students’ attention systems, memory networks, thinking processes, and social skills, and show them how to adapt instruction to keep students motivated to learn. I recommend strategies to determine whether, when, and how to use technology, and how to launch the type of classroom that engages the rewired brain. Dr. David A. Sousa, Ed.D.

    6 Comment(s)