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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. Patricia Wolfe

    Posted: December 2, 2019

    Course: EDUC 714Q Student Learning and the Brain

    Paragraph: My name is Pat Wolfe. My book is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses from the University of La Verne. I began my career as a teacher and have taught all grade levels in some capacity.  I moved from the classroom and spent eight years in a program which trained teachers and administrators in effective teaching and curricular design throughout the state of California.  At age 50, I received my doctorate from the University of La Verne, and soon after created my corporation, Mind Matters.  My goal has been to translate current neuroscience for educators, focusing on the applications and implications for the classroom.   Over the past 30 years, I have presented seminars, workshops, and keynote addresses, etc. to thousands of educators in 58 countries and every state of the U.S.  I am now semi-retired and live in a retirement community in Napa, California.

    It is my hope that by studying the brain and learning more about how it works, educators will be able to make informed decisions regarding selection of the curriculum and teaching strategies rather than relying on publishers to make these decisions for them.  I also hope that educators will continue to read and study new research as it becomes available in order to provide the best education possible for their students.

    2 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. Yasmin Kafai and Dr. Quinn Burke

    Posted: November 18, 2019

    Course: EDUC 718E Unlocking the Mysteries of Code

    Paragraph: Our names are Dr. Yasmin Kafai and Dr. Quinn Burke, and our book Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne. Dr. Yasmin is the Milken President's Distinguished Professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, and Quinn is a Senior Research Scientist in the Learning Sciences at Digital Promise Global's San Mateo Office.  

    We wrote Connected Code specifically with K-12 instructors in mind. When we started writing in 2013, it was clear that coding in schools clearly was experiencing a genuine renaissance. Pundits and policy-makers alike pointed to the economic benefits of programming as a skill and computer science (CS) as a discipline. What was important to us, however, was communicating with teachers the power of code not simply as an economic lever but as a veritable literacy for young learners. Code—across disciplines such as math, English, social studies, and science—was a means to truly tap into the potential of the computers to visualize the abstract, share stories and ideas, and express one's own identity. As chapter titles such as "From Code to Applications" and "From Tools to Communities" convey, early computer programming is best conceived as a social activity, optimally to be introduced to children not as a myriad of 0's and 1's but as an opportunity to create games, digital stories, and interactive textiles with and for each other. It is here where the role of the teacher is crucial—and we think the imperative nature of the book's title is as relevant as ever.

    Now, nearly six years after the book's initial publication, coding's ascent around the globe and within the United States continues, with some 40 states having adopted CS standards for K-12 implementation. While there is no shortage of standards nor tools and curricula for integrating programming and computational thinking into United States classrooms, what we still lack is sustained teacher capacity. Recruiting, developing, and supporting K-12 instructors to teach coding is the number one challenge facing the CS for All movement. To the extent that our book helps address such a gap with current and soon-to-be instructors, we are grateful.

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Susan Winebrenner

    Posted: October 30, 2019

    Course: EDUC 711H Teaching Gifted and Talented Students


    Susan Winebrenner wrote the following paragraph about her book Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom. Her book is currently used in the course, EDUC 711H Teaching Gifted and Talented Students.

    People often ask me, "Don't you miss teaching?"  My obvious reply is, "But I am still teaching!  The only difference is that my current "students" are educators and parents of gifted students."

    It excites me beyond description to realize that every teacher who uses my strategies, such as those at Professional Development Courses from the University of La Verne, allows me to impact far more students than I ever could have been able to reach as a classroom teacher or gifted program coordinator.  So, I am deeply grateful to all those people your college educates on this topic for helping my ideas reach kids and parents who need this information now, more than ever, because of the shifting policies about how to "do" gifted education.

    Over the years, I have been criticized for wanting to open access to "gifted" learning opportunities to far more students than just those formally identified as gifted. I am exceedingly grateful to observe that techniques we may have formerly "saved" for those whose exceptional learning abilities were easier to spot and support are becoming accessible to any students who might be able to benefit from such interventions as compacting, differentiation, connecting required standards to self-chosen topics for independent study, and increased access to cluster grouping models and practices.  I choose this truth as my proudest legacy, and always welcome contact from people who want to share their "success stories" with me by email or other technology-supported platforms. So please accept my thanks to all of you, without whom my impact on gifted students and their families may not have been realized.

    All the best,

    Susan Winebrenner

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. David Morrow

    Posted: October 9, 2019

    Course: EDUC 718M Critical Thinking


    Dr. David Morrow wrote the following paragraphs about his book that is currently used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses from the University of La Verne.

    When I walk into the first day of an undergraduate course on critical thinking, I ask the students what movie I should see that weekend. Then I ask for reasons: why should I see this movie rather than that one? Instantly, students start offering reasons for their own favorite suggestion and critiquing the reasons that other students have offered. The point of the exercise is to show that them that everyone already knows how to give reasons and how to evaluate them. Even though everyone can already do it, giving reasons is a skill--and it's a skill that people can always improve. Like any skill, getting better at giving and evaluating reasons requires deliberate practice and training. Drawing on over a decade of experience teaching critical thinking and moral reasoning courses, I wrote Giving Reasons to provide students with the fundamental concepts and training they need to improve their ability to understand complex arguments and develop cogent arguments of their own. 

    For aspiring teachers, in particular, my hope is that Giving Reasons not only helps people excel in their own studies, but that it gives them practical tools and exercises that they can use to teach their own students to think for themselves. In an educational system that often prioritizes memorizing facts and figures and preparing for standardized tests, teaching young people to think critically is one of the most important things we can do as educators. I hope you'll find this book enjoyable and useful, both for yourself and for the young people whose lives you'll change with your teaching.

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. Christopher A. Kearney, Ph.D.

    Posted: September 30, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 712U Child Behavior Disorders


    My name is Dr. Christopher Kearney, Ph.D., and my book Casebook in Child Behavior Disorders is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses from the University of LaVerne. I have been a clinical child psychologist, researcher, and professor for over 25 years and am pleased to be able to present in this book the wide array of cases that many mental health professionals face in children and adolescents.

    Teachers are often those on the front lines with respect to children and adolescents with mental health issues.  Indeed, many students with psychiatric disorders never see a mental health professional and instead rely solely on interactions with school-based professionals such as teachers, guidance counselors, and school-based social workers and psychologists.  As such, it is so important that educational professionals be knowledgeable of many of the most common mental health challenges in their students, particularly learning disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct and oppositional problems, and emotional disorders that include anxiety and depression.  The casebook conveys real-life cases and includes examples of how these youth interact with school officials and classrooms.  A key goal of the book is to illuminate the most common symptoms and approaches for these problems so that those on the front lines are better equipped to recognize and address these problems.

    Christopher A. Kearney, Ph.D.

    Distinguished Professor and Chair, Psychology

    Director, UNLV Child School Refusal and AnxietyDisorders Clinic

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Thomas Lickona, Ph.D.

    Posted: September 9, 2019

     Course: EDUC 711C Effective Character Education


    Dr. Thomas Lickona, Ph.D., Professor of Education Emeritus State University of New York at Cortland, wrote the following paragraph about his book Character Matters. His book is currently used in the course, EDUC 711C Effective Character Education.

     My work for the past half-century as a developmental psychologist and educator (www.thomaslickona.com) has focused on helping teachers and parents foster good character in youth.  Character Matters, the text for your course, describes “10 essential virtues” that make up good character and more than 100 best practices for fostering character development in the home, classroom, school, and community.  Chapter topics include how to raise children of character, strengthen the home-school partnership, build positive relationships with students, teach academics and character at the same time, prevent peer cruelty and promote kindness, teach good manners, use a character-based approach to discipline, develop a schoolwide character education initiative, and get students to take responsibility for building their own character.  The examples and stories in the book are all drawn from classrooms, schools, and families across the US that I have been privileged to work with.

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  • Author: Dr. Pat Wolfe, Ed.D

    Posted: August 7, 2019

    Course: EDUC 714Q Student Learning and the Brain


    Dr. Pat Wolfe, Ed.D. is the author of Brain Matters, which is used in the course EDUC 714Q Student Learning and the Brain. Dr. Wolfe wrote the following paragraph as an introduction to her book.

    I remember clearly how excited I was to begin my first year of teaching.  I had chosen what I felt was a noble profession, an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of children.  I loved learning and couldn’t wait to instill that love in the children I would teach.  But during my first year, reality set in. Teaching was so much more difficult than I had imagined.  My teacher preparation courses had been aimed at a general population as if every child came from the same mold.  But my classes were filled with children who were quite different from one another.  What worked with one student or class didn’t work with the next.  The problem that stands out the most was teaching first-graders to read.  No matter what I tried, only about two-thirds of the students finished the year reading.  Different problems surfaced as I changed teaching assignments.  How on earth could I make history meaningful to middle-school students?  Why did algebra make sense to only a few of my secondary math students?

    Then, one day attending a researcher’s lecture at a conference, I heard the term neuroscience for the first time.  I was hooked!   Maybe the research on the brain could provide solutions to some of my problems.   After all, we are teaching children’s brains, so wouldn’t it make sense to find out how they worked?  It occurred to me that we were like orthopedic surgeons who knew nothing about the structural anatomy of the human body.  Thus my journey began.  Over the past 30 years, I have read everything I could about the human brain, much of it over my head!  I have attended scientific conferences, talked to, and emailed neuroscientists with my questions.  I arranged seminars where the scientists discussed their research and engaged in dialog with teachers.  After moving out of the classroom into a staff development position, I developed workshops for teachers designed to help them see the connections and the possible links between the research and their teaching practices.  And finally, I spent two years writing a book entailing all I believed I’d learned about the vital connection between brain research and education.   I certainly don’t have all the answers, none of us do, but as the research continues to accelerate; I believe educators will continue to benefit from the findings.  I truly believe that the better we understand the brain, the better we will be able to help all our students reach their fullest potential.

    With best wishes,


    Pat Wolfe, Ed.D.

    Mind Matters

    2 Comment(s)

  • Author: Bill Collar

    Posted: July 22, 2019

    Course: EDUC 714A Personal Motivation and Maintaining a Postive Attitude in the Classroom


    My name is Bill Collar, and I am pleased that my text is used in a course offered at Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne.

     My book, Exceeding the Standards:  Teaching with Pride, Poise and Passion, is a product of 35 years of teaching.  It is based on the premise that all educators have greatness within them.  The challenge is to perform in a manner that brings out the best in every individual.  Readers are provided with numerous time-tested checklists that provide the opportunity for self-reflection.  I believe in reflective teaching and encourage individuals to utilize their creativity and life experiences to maximize the student learning experience.

    I believe every educator is unique and the path to educational excellence is based on a motivational formula consistent with personal growth in all aspects of life.  My experiences have taught me that a laughing classroom is a learning classroom and humor fosters a relaxed, but highly organized educational experience.  The subtitle, Teaching with Pride, Poise and Passion emphasizes the need for enthusiasm and commitment.  Illustrations, humorous anecdotes and practical advice make this book a significant step along the path to teaching success.

    Bill Collar, Wisconsin Teacher of the Year

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Dr. William Damon

    Posted: July 8, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 711C Effective Character Education


    Dr. William Damon, Professor of Education at Stanford University, is the author of The Moral Child, which is used in the course EDUC 711C Effective Character Education. Dr. Damon wrote the following paragraph as an introduction to his book.

     I wrote The Moral Child to communicate up-to-date scientific knowledge about the moral and character development of children and adolescents. The book covers the child’s acquisition of moral ideas such as fairness and authority, the role of moral emotions, the importance of virtues such as honesty and compassion, and the ways that young people around the world learn these core moral principles through their own cultural lenses. The book is written for teachers, parents, and students, and it covers major approaches to moral and character education that have made their way into k-12 schools in recent years.

    William Damon

    Professor of Education

    Stanford University

    1 Comment(s)

  • Author: Charles Corbin

    Posted: June 26, 2019

    Course(s): EDUC 715C Fit for Life


    My name is Chuck Corbin, and I am pleased to discuss Fitness for Life, a text that I co-authored with Guy Le Masurier. I am happy to provide the following paragraphs with the hope that it will provide you with insight into the course and its content. 

    The Origins of Fitness for Life.  Chuck Corbin, Author.

    In the late 1970s, I was interested in writing a text for high school students.  My college text was successful, and I wanted high school students, including those who do not go on to college, to have the same type of experience as college students but at an appropriate level.  I proposed the text to many different publishers, but at the time none were interested.  Finally, I convinced a publisher to give it a try, and Fitness for Life was born in 1979.  The text published by Human Kinetics, now in its 6th edition, is designed to help students learn concepts, principles and self-management skills (e.g., self-assessment, goal setting, self-monitoring, self-planning) that will help them to make good decisions and plan a personal program for use throughout life.  Fitness for Life is based on the HELP philosophy, Health and Health-Related Fitness, for Everyone, for a Lifetime, with emphasis on the Personal needs of each student.            

    Fitness for Life is designed to help students meet all of SHAPE America’s physical education content standards as well as its fitness education framework benchmarks. It is an evidence-based and theory-based program and is the recipient of the Text and Academic Authors Association’s Texty Award Students who participate in Fitness for Life:

    • Become physically literate individuals as defined by SHAPE America.
    • Meet the national, state, and local grade-level standards and outcomes. 
    • Meet college and career readiness standards by learning and using critical thinking, decision making, and problem-solving skills.
    • Meet national physical activity guidelines of the USDHHS, exercise prescription guidelines of ACSM, and health goals of Healthy People 2020. 
    • Use the Stairway to Lifetime Fitness concept, created by author Chuck Corbin, to encourage higher-order learning (move from dependence to independence).
    • Use the Physical Activity Pyramid, created by the authors, to help students understand the FITT formula and benefits of the major types of physical activities. 
    • Become informed consumers on matters related to lifelong physical activity and fitness and other healthy lifestyles (e.g., good nutrition and stress management).
    • Learn self-management skills that lead to adopting healthy lifestyles.
    • Perform self-assessments, including all tests in the Fitnessgram® battery and the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. 
    • Take personal responsibility for setting individualized goals and personal program planning. 
    • Develop a love for lifetime fitness activities.

    In recent years, high school physical education programs have decreased (see SHAPE America, Shape of the Nation Report).  Fitness for Life programs, however, have increased over the same time periods and implementing FFL programs has saved many programs.  One of the primary reasons is the research showing the long-term effectiveness of the program.  Among the many are three separate published studies that have been conducted over the past 20 years, each showing that this type of program result in increased physical activity and reduced inactivity years after students finish the class. 

    1 Comment(s)

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