Monday, August 06, 2012

#educoach chat: Chapters 8 & 9 Prep

John Hattie's book, Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning puts the learner center stage in all teaching and classroom endeavor.

In chapter 8, Hattie calls teachers to analyze the effect of their actions rather than to simply reflect about a lesson.  His research supports a student-centered education where the teacher invites students into learning, "The teacher explicitly invited students to take part in the flow of the lesson, made intentions and success transparent to students, and bothered to check that students were aware of these; the teacher was optimistic that all students would attain success, and was respectful of student errors, travails, and progress. " (p. 139)

Teachers who were successful at inviting students into the learning exhibited warmth, trust, empathy and positive relationships. Research shows that students want teachers who answers "yes" to the following questions:
  1. Did I stay by you as you completed this assignment and/or met your learning goal?
  2. Was I able to maintain a classroom climate that helped you learn?
  3. Did I help you when you needed it?
  4. Did I explain things so that you could understand the material well?
  5. Was I able to help you learn using a variety of methods and explanations?
  6. Did I understand your thoughts, feelings and needs throughout the learning process--was I empathetic to you?
  7. Did I plan for, and lead you through learning that was sufficiently challenging?
  8. Did I help you to make and attain explicit learning goals and success criteria?
The lesson ends when the teacher evaluates the impact: "What was the impact, with whom, about what, and how efficiently?" (p. 145) The teacher evaluates engagement, efficiency, anticipation, progress, starting points, unintended consequences, and success criteria achievement (or not).

In chapter 9, Hattie prompts us to ask the important question, Does everyone in the school collaborate to ensure that the daily teaching and learning practices are the focus of the school and all are responsible for its success? Hattie's research highlights Ben Levin's research which advocates for nine essential practices in schools to effect improved outcome:
  • high expectations for all students.
  • strong personal connections between students and adults.
  • greater student engagement and motivation.
  • a rich and engaging formal and informal curriculum.
  • effective teaching practices in all classrooms on a daily basis.
  • effective use of data and feedback by students and staff to improve learning.
  • early support with minimum disruption for students in need.
  • strong positive relationships with parents.
  • effective engagement with the broader community.
Hattie poses eight mind frames that will positively affect the impact teachers and schools have on students:

  1. "Teachers/leaders believe that their fundamental task is to evaluate the effect of their teaching on students' learning and achievement."  (This was a great lesson, 75% met the success criteria over a couple of days, then I was able to adapt to bring the remaining 25% to success.)
  2. "Teachers/leaders believe that success and failure in student learning is about what they, as teachers or leaders, did or did not to. . .We are change agents!" (The fact that we employed RTI with all available staff and used data to inform our grouping and instruction helped us to achieve 100% when it came to our success criteria of moving every child ahead 2 reading levels.)
  3. "Teacher/leaders want to talk more about the learning than the teaching." (I noted that five of your most difficult to teach students did amazingly well on that summative assessment, how did you get them to achieve that success criteria, learning?)
  4. "Teacher/leaders see assessment as feedback about their impact." (I want to reteach that lesson about prime and composite numbers, only 10% reached the success criteria--that's not enough.)
  5. "Teacher/leaders engage in dialogue not monologue." (Who is doing the talking in the classroom--set up a class climate where dialogue is welcome, present and successful."
  6. "Teachers/leaders enjoy the challenge and never retreat from doing their best." (I bet if we changed the way we introduce that unit, we'd have better success in a more efficient way."
  7. "Teachers/leaders believe that it is their role to develop positive relationships in classrooms/staffrooms." (I'm not sure why we don't get along, but I'm going to work at it so that our relationship improves because I know strong, positive relationships impact our objective: student learning.)
  8. "Teachers/leaders inform all about the language of learning." (Engagement matters--if we want everyone to learn, everyone has to be engaged.)
Hattie's research emphatically supports the use of RTI and PLCs in schools.  This move from classroom teachers working in isolation to collaborative teams will move schools forward from a teaching focus to a student learning focus.  The eight mind frames above will serve this movement well by providing a framework for PLC/RTI work and endeavor in order to effect optimal learning for all students.