We all want to be highly effective in our field. We all want to cause high levels of learning in each and everyone of our students. None of us set out to be mediocre. However, becoming excellent at what we do is a long and arduous journey. This journey is often filled with numerous detours, obstacles and challenges. John Hattie believes that this perspective is not necessarily true. Hattie has conducted the seminal meta-analysis of all of the major research studies on effective teaching and learning. The research he and his team analyzed in Visible Learning took place over a 15 year period and included over 50,000 studies of educational processes, systems and influences. This research drew on data from over 240 million students.
In his subsequent book, Visible Learning for Teachers, Hattie highlights the must influential factors in the learning process. Over the next several months, we will highlight different aspects of this research and look to identify ways in which we can learn from this compendium of research on what works to improve our own practice. Hopefully this will help to make the journey towards being highly effective at causing high levels of learning for each and every students we encounter.
The first aspect of the research on effective teaching that should be considered is what Hattie found regarding the attitudes and beliefs of expert teachers. Below is a summary of a summary on this book that was put together by Jenn David-Lang and published by the website “The Main Idea”. If you are interested in the book see Jason and we will purchase some more copies.
Five Attitudes and Beliefs of Expert Teachers.
1) Expert teachers identify the most important ways to represent the the subjects they teach
- integrate new content with prior knowledge
- connecting new content and other disciplines
- differentiating the instruction to meet individual needs
2) Expert teachers create an optimal classroom environment for learning
- create a culture of trust and respect
- create a culture where errors are welcome
- create a culture where learning is cool
3) Expert Teachers monitor learning and provide feedback
- recognize that no lesson goes according to plan
- seek and consistently use feedback about your teaching
- acknowledge that student progress is feedback on the effect you are having on learning
4) Expert teachers believe all students can reach the success criteria
- have a high level of respect for each student
- show a passion that all students can succeed
5) Expert teachers influence a wide range of student outcomes not solely limited to test scores
- exert positive influence on students beyond the test scores
- focus on developing deep and conceptual understandings
- encouraging risk taking, developing multiple learning strategies
- helping them develop respect for themselves, others and our world
As you contemplate this list, consider how many out of 5 you can honestly say apply to you at your current point on this journey. As we continue the journey towards ensuring that all students are challenged to learn at high levels, we can take heart that the path ahead is not obscure and uncertain. The research is clear about what makes for an expert teacher. Which area are you currently working on?