John Hattie’s Visible Learning (2009) will undoubtedly gain a significant amount of traction in our districts – or at least it should. Hattie defines the conversations that count and those that don’t when it comes to instructional leadership and effective teaching. The results will raise more than a few eyebrows and commonly held assumptions about what is good practice. In a previous post, I introduced the concept of educators becoming consciously skilled. Visible Learning answers the obvious question, “Skilled at what?” If we want to get good at something, to master it, we need to know what to pursue as component parts of our repertoire and Hattie gives us an amazing glimpse at what that should be in our business.
Ranking at the top of Hattie’s list for effect on student achievement are the following:
- Seek feedback from students as to what they know, understand, where they make
errors, what misconceptions they have, and when they are not engaged,
synchronized and powerful learning takes place.
- Teacher provides information specifically related to the task or process of
learning that fills a gap between what is understood and what is aimed to
- Feedback is information with which a learner can confirm, add to, overwrite, tune,
or restructure information.
- The most effective feedback relates back to learning goals.
- Comprehensive interventions for Learning Special Needs Students
- The important instructional components include attention to sequencing,
drill-repetition-practice, segmenting information into parts, controlling
task difficulty through prompts and cues, making use of technology,
systematically modeling problem solving steps, and making use effective
- Direct instruction and strategy training models of instruction.
- Reciprocal Teaching
- The emphasis here is on teachers enabling their students to learn and use
cognitive strategies such as summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and
- The aim is to help students actively bring meaning to the learning and to
assist them to monitor their own learning and thinking.
- This learning and thinking is expressed back to the teacher through effective
- Teacher Clarity
- The importance of the teacher to communicate the intentions of the lessons
and the notions of what success means and looks like in relation to the
- Clarity involves organization, explanation, guided practice, and effective
assessment of student learning.
- Spaced vs. Mass Practice
- Students often need three to four exposures to the learning over several days
before there is a reasonable probability that the concept will be
- Deliberative practice can involve specific skills and complex illustrations of
knowledge. It should be motivating not “drill and practice” repetition.
Fortunately, we are enriched in our district by a fabulous tradition of inquiry into professional practice and a recent visit from Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert has helped to solidify commitment to framing school growth around professional inquiry. Our journey will be informed by research like that presented by John Hattie. The ultimate goal in developing our district is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with educators that possess the skills and attributes that motivate, enrich, challenge and inspire their learners to reach academic and social goals that are set high.