Professor Deborah Eyre
Consililum Education library specialist, Sal Flint continues her new column – School Readers – in which she talks to educators about their favourite three books. This month’s Reader is Professor Deborah Eyre.
Why ‘School Readers?’
We all urge kids to read, but how has reading shaped our own personal and professional lives? I want to know which three books have most influenced the people I talk to – a novel, a work of non-fiction and a ‘go-to’ book about education.
This month’s School Reader is Professor Deborah Eyre who is Founder and Chair of High Performance Learning Services Ltd. A global educational leader, academic researcher, writer and influencer, Deborah has previously held senior roles globally and in the UK as well as advising governments and educational foundations in the UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, USA and Singapore. From 2010-2014 Deborah was Global Education Director for Nord Anglia Education and prior to that Director of the UK government’s innovative National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), based at the University of Warwick.
It was a privilege to learn about the books that have been influential to Deborah, though pinning her down to just three was no easy task! Deborah explained to me that she is an avid reader of fiction, which is her refuge.
Deborah Eyre’s ‘three books’
(Click the book cover to follow the link to Amazon)
1. Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
“I am never without a book and particularly like modern fiction. I am a member of a local book group and that challenges me to read books I maybe would not have chosen. It is almost impossible to choose a single book, but I am choosing Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. I read it in my late teens, long before the famous TV programme and thought it was definitely the culmination of Waugh’s work. There are books I go back to again and again like Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Winifred Holtby’s South Riding, A.S Byatt’s Possession and anything by William Boyd and Graham Greene. More recently Maggie Shipsteads’s Great Circle is well worth a read.”
What’s it about?
Brideshead Revisited follows the protagonist Charles Ryder’s complex relationships with the aristocratic Marchmain family. Set in 1920s and 1930s England, the story explores themes of love, religion, and the decline of the British upper class, with Brideshead Castle serving as a backdrop for their intertwined lives.
2. Professor Salim T. S. Al-Hassani: Muslim Heritage in Our World: 1001 Inventions
“Non-fiction is less of an interest for me. I read political books from time to time and enjoyed Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm and Tim Winter’s The Silk Road. But my book of choice would be Salim T.S. Al-Hassani’s Muslim Heritage in Our World: 1001 Inventions. I do a lot of work in the Middle East and this book is one that helps me to view life through an Arabic lens.”
What’s it about?
Professor Salim T. S. Al-Hassani: Muslim Heritage in Our World: 1001 Inventions highlights the contributions of Muslim civilization to science, technology, and culture throughout history. The book showcases groundbreaking inventions and discoveries, emphasizing the rich scientific and intellectual heritage of the Muslim world and its impact on global progress.
3. Michael Armstrong: Closely Observed Children: Diary of a Primary Classroom
“To choose a recent education book would be a little invidious for an academic who researches education. So instead I am choosing the book that most influenced me at the start of my career. Closely Observed Children: Diary of a Primary Classroom by Michael Armstrong. (1981). This idea of looking carefully at what is happening when you teach has shaped my career and made me a researcher. I hope my books are of similar influence to the next generation!”
What’s it about?
Michael Armstrong’s Closely Observed Children: Diary of a Primary Classroom offers an intimate account of a primary school classroom, chronicling the daily experiences and interactions of young children. The book provides insights into their behavior, learning patterns, and the challenges faced by both students and teachers, offering a valuable perspective on primary education.
What Deborah is reading at the moment:
Fiction: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Non fiction: The A-Z of Great Classrooms by Deborah’s good friend and colleague Dr. Roy Blatchford
Deborah’s publications, all very relevant to international education, can be purchased through Amazon.
If you would like to share your three School Readers, write to ITM on