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A Round-up of the Best Books on College Teaching

by Linda B. Nilson

We can’t keep up with our own discipline’s research, so how are we supposed to stay abreast of the college teaching literature? Let me make it a little easier for you. Here are six recently published books that capture what I think are the latest and most important developments and trends in college teaching and learning. If you’re new to teaching, start with the how-to basics in my book Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors 3rd ed. (Jossey-Bass, 2010).

Susan A. Ambrose et al., How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2010). We just can’t find out too much about how the mind learns. The authors derive research from anthropology, sociology, organizational behavior, and cognitive, developmental, educational, and social psychology to distill seven learning principles: the effects on learning of students’ prior knowledge, their organization of the material, their motivation, and their level of development and class climate, as well as the importance of practice and feedback, the prerequisites of mastery, and the role of self-regulation in self-directed learning. The book provides teaching recommendations for each principle.

José Antonio Bowen, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your Classroom

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