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K-State Today

March 1, 2022

K-State agricultural economics professor authors book for educators

Submitted by Mary Bowen

Andrew Barkley, an agricultural economics professor at Kansas State University, authored and recently released "Imperfect Heroes: Teaching in Challenging Times to Motivate Student Achievement." This new book is intended to help teachers flourish during challenging times.

"The book is written for all educators but especially those who seek renewal in their ability to help students learn and grow," Barkley said. "Included are the inspiring and motivational stories of 12 teaching heroes. Successful leaders, writers and artists face challenges strikingly similar to obstacles faced by teachers. Iconic individuals often use life hardships as a springboard to achieve higher levels of effectiveness. Teachers can do this, too."

The main idea of "Imperfect Heroes" is that learning about the lives of other people can provide benefits. The application of ideas from new and divergent sources to teaching practices can result in transformative growth in the ability to help others learn. Included in the book are chapters featuring Muhammad Ali, Anne Frank, Mother Teresa and Mister Rogers, to name a few.

"Teachers can use the hero stories intertwined with classroom examples to gain confidence, motivate students and renew their commitment to making a positive contribution to the world," Barkley said. "In each chapter, I share common teaching experiences to stimulate reflections, dialog and action. Emphasized throughout the book is my conviction that any teacher who desires to improve can become a great teacher, regardless of personality type, classroom style, submit matter or pedagogical tools."

Each chapter describes how one of the heroes motivates improvement in teaching and learning. Characteristics that educators can adopt to enhance their teaching style and improve student learning are summarized.

"The reason behind why I wanted to write this book is because teachers have an enormous positive impact on the world through enhanced student learning. This book was written to inspire teachers to continue their efforts to motivate and support student learning, and through their actions make the world a better place," Barkley said.

His book is receiving positive reviews on Amazon.

Barkley specializes in agricultural and public policy at K-State and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses. His research areas focus on the wheat industry, teaching and learning. Barkley has won numerous awards for teaching, advising, research and scholarship at the college, university, regional and national levels. In addition to K-State, he has taught at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, the University of Arizona, Quaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan and the University of Chicago.

"Imperfect Heroes" is available on Amazon and Rowman and Littlefield websites.