Know Thy Impact – John Hattie

Hattie - Visible Learning

So – back to school again and I thought I would make a final and rather important update to Resolutions for (Mathematics) Teachers. Reading John Hattie’s Visible Learning for Teachers is such an important reminder that we should really be looking at the impact of all we do on our students. We might think a particular method or resource is amazing, but do we think so because we have considered very carefully how it will help our students learn?  
For a summary of the book, read this from The Main Idea.

The five dimensions of Expert Teachers Hattie identified were based on a review of the literature.
In summary:

  1. Expert teachers identify the most important ways to represent the subjects they teach
  2. Expert teachers create an optimal classroom climate for learning
  3. Expert teachers monitor learning and provide feedback
  4. Expert teachers believe all students can reach the success criteria
  5. Expert teachers influence a wide range of student outcomes not solely limited to test scores

Dimensions 4 and 5 remind me of Carol Dweck, these points she made struck a chord with me:  for teachers to develop a growth mindset in their students they need to develop their own growth mindset; do we ever judge our students too quickly? Also, such a useful reminder that we may sometimes worry too much about ‘teaching to the test’ when we just need to remember that ‘The outcomes are natural byproducts of engaging in good practice’.

A thought provoking interview with John Hattie can be found here in an issue of  ‘In Conversation’ (Spring 2013). The interview is structured round the eight “mind frames” discussed by Hattie in Visible Learning for Teachers.

I have sometimes listened to audio books as I do like to hear authors read their own work, I believe it helps understanding. You can hear John Hattie himself on the principles discussed in Visible Learning in these two videos: Visible Learning Part 1: Disasters and below average methods  and Visible Learning Part 2: effective methods. If you are in a hurry you might want to skip straight to the last part of the second video! For anyone who can’t get enough of Hattie, he was interviewed as part of Radio 4’s series The Educators.

For further reading of current ideas, see Tom Sherrington’s excellent collection: Contemporary educational ideas all my staff should know about.

If you are about to return to school (or have already done so) then I wish you and your students a great year.

3 comments on “Know Thy Impact – John Hattie

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