December 19th, 2014

Our 14 Most Popular Articles of 2014, Part 2

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Today concludes our countdown of the top 14 articles of 2014. On Wednesday we revealed article number 14 on down to number eight. Today’s post reveals the seven most popular articles of the year. Each article’s ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click-thru rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, reprint requests, and other reader engagement metrics.

Here they are, articles 7-1, starting with number 7:

7. Six Questions That Will Bring Your Teaching Philosophy into Focus
Eventually, our teaching philosophies need to be made manifest in our students’ learning outcomes and, it seems to me, mindful of individual students’ learning philosophies. We need to ask ourselves, ‘What is the evidence that how we teach is successful?’

6. Learning That Lasts: Helping Students Remember and Use What You Teach
Have you ever gotten to the end of a class and excitedly “pulled back the curtain” to reveal the big moment of connection for everything you have taught only to see uninterested and expressionless faces staring back at you? It is likely that students in this situation have “zoned out” during the lesson, so any grand conclusions you make mean nothing to them.

5. Why You Read Like an Expert – and Why Your Students Probably Don’t
A recent experience in class left me a bit rattled, and made me wonder if I’ve long been trying to teach an impossible skill. It confronted me with a fundamental question: What’s teachable, and what do students simply have to figure out on their own with the passage of time?

4. Students Riding on Coattails during Group Work? Five Simple Ideas to Try
The benefits of group work are well recognized, as are the reasons students don’t like working in groups. We have all had groups that operated magically, when group members brought out each other’s strengths and helped each member to shine; but we have also had groups that failed miserably when members did not get along or did not pull equal weight in completing a group project.

3. Four Student Misconceptions about Learning
Students think that learning can happen a lot faster than it does. Take, for example, the way many students handle assigned readings. They think they can get what they need out of a chapter with one quick read through (electronic devices at the ready, snacks in hand, and ears flooded with music).

2. Seven Characteristics of Good Learners
I’ve seen lots of lists that identify the characteristics of good teachers. They’re great reminders of what we should aspire to be as teachers. I haven’t seen many corresponding lists that identify the characteristics of good learners. I decided to put one together and invite your input.

1. “She Didn’t Teach. We Had to Learn it Ourselves.”
The teacher is making students figure out things for themselves. They are doing the hard, messy work of learning. This is a style of teaching that promotes learning, but that’s not how students see it. Based on experiences in lots of other classrooms, they have come to believe that “good” teachers tell students what they need to know.