This morning I read an interview with internationally acclaimed educator and researcher Dr. John Hattie, whose influential book
Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement has been recognized as a landmark in educational research.
In Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, Hattie presents eight ‘mind frames’ or ways of thinking that together must underpin every action and decision in schools and systems. He argues that teachers who develop these mind frames will have major impacts on student learning.
As I read the article, a few bits stood out to me, perhaps because of where I am on the continuum of learning about learning. teaching, feedback, assessment. I want to share those with you. They are all from the article found at In Conversation with John Hattie
The purpose of schools is to help students exceed their potential and do more than they thought they could do.
This challenges my thinking of encouraging students to be the best they can be. Dr Hattie says if we do this, it is not enough. We should be encouraging students to be better than they think they can be!
Authors City, Elmore, Fiarman, and Teitel (2009) in Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning and Roberts in Instructional Rounds in Action, (2012) have favorite questions to ask the students to find out where they are up to in terms of understanding. I have printed these out to remind myself of them.
• What are you learning? What are you working on?
• What do you do if you don’t know the answer or you’re stuck?
• How will you know when you’re finished?
• How will you know if what you’ve done is good quality?
Lastly, because we are doing what is called Formative practice at school that involves us in teams of 3 or 4 observing each other’s classes once a term, the following rang a bell. I have, up till now, focused on the teacher and observing and commenting on what they did, rather than asking the students where they were up to, what were they learning.
Another example that comes to mind is what usually happens when we observe other teachers in their classrooms – the focus is on the teacher. Then what follows more often than not is that we give them feedback about what they did well and what they could have done differently. What we should do instead is spend our time observing two or three students in the classroom and find out what they’re learning and what they’re responding to. The conversation with the teacher afterwards will be dramatically different.
Here is a youtube that explains, succinctly, what the 8 mind frames of Hattie are.