Monday, July 30, 2012


Who would think one's summer vacation inspiration would be an educational researcher? That's been the situation for me since I started reading Hattie's book, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning.  The book provides the facts and figures that affirm successful strategies, challenge ineffective practice and prompt revision.

Hattie emphasizes FOCUS and alerts me to the fact that when we try to do too many things at once, our efforts are often diluted, and possibly detrimental.  Similarly, when our systems lack focus, time is wasted on redundancy and missteps.

Hattie quotes Reeves, "Without focus, even the best leadership will fail, the most idea research-based initiatives will fail, and the most self sacrificing earnest leaders will fail. Worst of all, without focus by educational leaders, students and teachers will fail." (p. 20 Visible Learning)

Hence with Hattie's research in mind, and prior to the upcoming school year, I will do the following:

  • Focus my professional efforts
  • Share and discuss my professional focus with colleagues and administrators in an effort to synthesize my work with the goals and vision of my collegial group and the school system. 
  • Learn more about the communication and professional protocols and expectations of my organization in an effort to develop my ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. 
  • Keep mindful of, take notes and reflect upon the efforts within the school system and outside that affect my professional work and effort.  I want to develop my professional repertoire, but I don't want to spend time on efforts that hinder this pursuit i.e. efforts that are created to "check off a box" or outside of the goal range rather than efforts with essential student learning as the focus. 
Systems at their best represent many efforts with clear roles, responsibilities, communication and goals as well as regular review, revision and refinement of the systems' goals and vision.  Investment is enhanced when all members of an organization are well aware of their responsibility, role, contribution, expectation, goals and effect--when the members, as Hattie puts it, "Know thy impact."

I continue to be delighted to work in a "leadership" district that holds tremendous potential for best effect when it comes to student learning and development, and before the school year begins I want to be clear about my role, expectations, goals and direction so my efforts, professional development and communication are focused on the job I want to do: teaching children well.