As a teacher of 9 years’ experience, I felt I was not as accomplished as I would have liked, and was looking for a good book to support my personal professional development. I first came across Hattie’s Visible Learning for Teachers around three years ago in an academic reading group set up by a senior leader in the school. As Hattie’s work grew in popularity and esteem, I decided to take a closer look to see what the hype was about. I have been reading this for a few months now (which is a little too long for my liking) and I’m now nearing completion. Below are the top ten things I have distilled from this book.
1) Plan lessons backwards by starting with the end in mind. This means establishing the success criteria for the lesson or series of lessons and then evaluating multiple forms of evidence to assess how well students have met the intended outcomes.
2) Teachers should become evaluators of their effects on students. This means that it’s not good enough to not know exactly on whom and by how much our teaching is having an effect.
3) The crux of effective teaching is not simply a case of selecting the right methodology but a combination of the right methodology at the right time with the right pupils.
4) Great teaching is a carefully combined synthesis of right methodology, effective assessment, great relationships with students and a set of mind frames held by the teacher and students.
5) For feedback to be effective, learners must be willing to receive it. In other words, the ground must be fertile before seeds are scattered.
6) An effective teacher is able to adapt their method or approach during a lesson as a result of feedback based on how strongly students grasp ideas. Evaluation takes place during the lesson.
7) Lesson Observations need to shift the emphasis from what the teacher does to what the students do and say. This is the essence of Visible Learning; learning takes place in the brain but getting students to make that learning visible and audible allows the observer to make a more accurate judgement about what students have actually learned or still find difficult.
8) The nature of teaching is complex and school communities must appreciate this. Sometimes students learn what you never intended.
9) School leaders need to provide the necessary resources (time and physical) for those leading learning so that changes can be driven, implemented and sustained with high fidelity.
10) Professional collaboration amongst teachers is one of the biggest drivers in reforming and improving teacher effectiveness and school leaders need to create a culture of trust where open dialogue can occur without fear of judgement or accountability pressure.
I highly recommend educators read this book.