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December 19, 2023
ASCD Blog

ASCD’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2023

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From the rise of ChatGPT to the cultural significance of sneakers, we’re revisiting the most popular blog posts of the year.
Professional Learning
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As the curtain falls on another whirlwind year in education, it's time to don our virtual party hats and celebrate the essence of ASCD—our blog community. In a year that witnessed the publication of over 100 thought-provoking blogs, covering everything from leveraging ChatGPT to classroom management for new teachers, our blogosphere has been a trove of wisdom from educators, authors, experts, and ASCD readers.
As we wind down the year, take a moment to immerse yourself in the posts that captured the hearts of our readers. The countdown awaits, from #10 to #1, offering a glimpse into the educational pulse that resonated most profoundly throughout the past year.

10. Let’s Bring Joy Back into Learning by Jennifer Gallagher

Superintendent Jennifer Gallagher addresses the all-too-critical issue of declining student engagement within the constraints of standardized learning. Emphasizing the importance of joy in the academic journey, Gallagher contends, "Humans are wired to be curious and want to learn, but the rigid structure, mandatory curriculum, and standardized testing that rule today, particularly in secondary schools, often extinguish natural creativity and curiosity." She explores practical solutions for school leaders, advocating for a redefinition of essential knowledge, a revamp of curricula for relevance, and support for diverse post-secondary pathways.

9. Leaders: It’s Time to Rethink Teacher Burnout by Elizabeth Dampf

A consistent and popular voice throughout the year, Elizabeth Dampf sheds light on the pervasive issue of teacher burnout, impacting a staggering 44 percent of educators. She challenges leaders to move beyond superficial fixes, urging genuine dialogue with teachers to identify and address workplace issues. The blog advocates for a shift in leadership priorities, emphasizing the importance of listening to educators and adapting strategies to combat burnout. In these turbulent times, Dampf proposes reevaluating traditional leadership techniques, focusing on teacher satisfaction as a foundation for improved student achievement and overall school success.

8. Designing Meaningful Norms for Professional Learning by Megan Kortlandt and Samantha Keesling

If one of your goals for 2024 is to design or facilitate more engaging professional learning at your school, authors Megan Kortlandt and Samantha Keesling share the importance of professional learning norms. Defined as shared expectations shaping group dynamics, Kortlandt and Keesling present three strategies to elevate norms into a vital aspect of professional development. The blog underscores the significance of anchoring norms in purpose and beliefs, adapting them to group needs, and authentically embedding them in the learning process.

7. Why Teachers Shouldn’t Have to Submit Lesson Plans by Paul Emerich France

This blog by Paul Emerich France sparked lots of healthy debate and discussion as it delves into why school leaders shouldn't force their teachers to submit lesson plans. Reflecting on the unpredictable nature of teaching, France questions the efficacy of administrators reviewing individual plans and suggests a shift to unit plans on a school website for pedagogical transparency. He emphasizes the importance of treating teachers as professionals and advocates for trust-building alternatives, such as administrators participating in planning meetings.

6. Why Black Boys' Sneakers Should Matter to Educators by Phelton Moss

In this thought-provoking blog, Phelton Moss explores a unique perspective on engagement tools for Black boys in education—sneakers. Moss reflects on a transformative encounter with a student, Jaylin, and his realization of the deeper meaning behind Black boys' affinity for sneakers. Beyond mere footwear, sneakers become expressions of personality, self-worth, and cultural identity. The blog challenges educators to recognize the significance of these symbols. Moss advocates for anchoring engagement tools like sneakers in learning, envisioning a future where Black boys' humanity is centered and celebrated.

5. Coaching “Resistant” Teachers by Lauren Vargas

“Put yourself in a teacher’s shoes: What might be behind a teacher’s resistance to coaching?” Lauren Vargas tackles the nuanced issue of coaching resistant teachers, redefining resistance as fear, confusion, or other emotions. Vargas advocates for building connections, providing practical solutions, and celebrating successes as strategies to engage teachers effectively. With an emphasis on active practice, addressing resistance directly, and respecting teachers' time, the blog offers valuable insights for instructional coaches navigating these challenges.

4. Looking to Research for Literacy Success by the Scientific Advisory Committee, Knowledge Matters Campaign

Our fourth most popular blog, the first post of a well-received series, introduces the critical intersection of knowledge-building and literacy. The Scientific Advisory Committee emphasizes that while foundational skills are crucial, a narrow focus on phonics often overlooks the importance of building knowledge for comprehensive literacy. The blog sets the stage for a four-part exploration, offering 10 practical recommendations for educators to integrate knowledge-building into their literacy instruction.

3. Planning Professional Development on ChatGPT by Arpan Chokshi

With the release of ChatGPT and other AI platforms at the end of 2022, it seemed like educators were thrown into a new world with little time to prepare. Arpan Chokshi knew this new technology necessitated quick and practical professional development to navigate the implications of AI in education. Drawing from real workshop experiences, Chokshi addresses the diverse reactions educators have towards AI, from frustration to excitement. Chokshi provides practical strategies to empower educators in adapting their practices and effectively integrating AI into their teaching methods.

2. What No One Told Me About "Classroom Management" as a New Teacher by Carol Ann Tomlinson

If you could go back to your first year of teaching, what would you tell yourself? In a heartwarming recount of her debut as a teacher in 1968, Carol Ann Tomlinson reflects on the pivotal moments that set the stage for her teaching philosophy. Tomlinson's timeless insights beckon educators to rethink the very essence of teaching, urging new and veteran teachers alike to create an environment where effective management sprouts from authentic connections with their students.

1. Leveraging ChatGPT: Practical Ideas for Educators by Zak Cohen

No surprises here—middle school principal Zak Cohen claims the top spot with his groundbreaking blog post on leveraging ChatGPT in the classroom. Cohen explores the game-changing potential of ChatGPT, likening it to a "calculator for the humanities." Cohen encourages educators to embrace AI as a teaching opportunity and gives four practical ways to strategically use ChatGPT for good. “Used appropriately and with imagination,” Cohen writes, “ChatGPT has the potential to augment, enhance, and enrich students’ educational experiences.”

Emma Holdbrooks is an online associate editor with Educational Leadership magazine.

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