July 31, 2012

#educoach: Visible Learning-Chapter 6

In chapter 6, Hattie delves into "The flow of the lesson: learning."  I did find myself overwhelmed with this chapter because it clearly demonstrates the challenges teachers face when teaching each child well.

Hattie prompts us to put the learner center stage in the classroom as an active participant who follows these steps:

  • identifies gap between what he/she knows now and the intended learning.
  • identifies the problem at hand, and restates it. 
  • Sets appropriate goals and plans for goal attainment.
  • Identifies and utilizes strategies to move towards the goal.
  • Self monitors to discern when he/she has closed the gap and achieved the learning goal--the success criteria.
I thought of the New England Patriots when I read this because I heard that they "chunk" the game seeking one touchdown after another.  That's what Hattie's learning research supports--students need to "chunk" their learning. 

As the teacher, I can facilitate this process in many, many ways.
  1. Create a "cognitive conflict" or "tension" to awaken students to the need for learning at the start of a unit/lesson.
  2. Relate learning to meaningful contexts where students see value and purpose. 
  3. Discuss and identify prior knowledge; what students already know, and link old knowledge to new.
  4. Utilize backward design by starting with the success criteria and planning backwards to meet the goal.
  5. Introduce and promote deliberate practice for students with many learning strategies: rich representations (visual, verbal and multimedia), linking facts-skills-procedures-and deep concepts, outlining, integrating, transforming, synthesizing, summarizing, relaying stories and examples, and attaching ideas to "coat hangers" or big ideas. Practice leads to mastery. Create a culture that embraces the need for practice, even when it's not fun.
  6. Listen to and encourage children to self-reflect, self-monitor and self-regulate their learning. Also listen to students' discourse during collaborative, social learning endeavors. 
  7. Provide and encourage social construction which promotes high-quality discussion and learning endeavor. 
  8. Foster an environment where students can concentrate and comfortably make and learn from errors.
  9. Give students the chance to create learning for themselves as they move toward their goal(s).
  10. Create an atmosphere where students understand that they are capable of learning.
  11. Provide timely, regular, targeted feedback related to students' efforts and progress toward the goal.
  12. Teach at '+1' for each child, hence you need to differentiate the goals.
  13. See learning through the eyes of the learner--I often say "I teach to their brains." 
  14. Demonstrate and discuss that teachers and students are thinkers and problem solvers.
The research clearly demonstrates that the goal of teaching is to activate and evaluate LEARNING and all discussions about school programs, efforts and endeavor should be focused on learning and the varied evidence that demonstrates the kind of learning that is taking place.

It is no longer adequate for teachers to simply present material to students as that is not necessarily related to learning. All teachers, in every role, need to be adaptive experts who choose carefully the overarching learning problem/goal; create learning tension and meaning; assess students' knowledge; work with students to set "just right," challenging goals and success criteria; coach students with practice utilizing multiple strategies toward the learning goal; listen and respond to students' metacognitive remarks;  observe their choices in group settings and individually; and monitor with students the achievement of the goal. 


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