Monday, July 15, 2013

Q: What are the most important things to do in a classroom?

This sunset pic was taken at Tan-Tara, Lake Ozark Missouri.

 A:  Ask John Hattie
What were we doing at Lake Ozark?  Training, of course!
All these meetings and training?  Do they really impact student learning?*  Do our efforts as educators actually impact student learning?  If so, can we determine how effective or measure the impact of what we do?  What about the effect of teaching activities on the students in our classes?  What about home life, poverty or even summer vacation?  Do these impact learning? (It sure seems like a lot of questions but hopefully, they are worth asking.)
Can we isolate the most effective things to do in the classroom as well as the least effective things?  John Hattie says we can!  He measures and quantifies many school functions, rating and assigning a score to each. This 15 year study was completed a published in 2009
For instance, how does cooperative learning compare to inquiry based teaching?  He scores cooperative learning a 0.41 yet inquiry based teaching at 0.31.  Many parameters (138 total) of our favorites are scored and sorted and the results are surprising!  Especially the summary impact to describe what and how we should make adjustments.
Ranking above a 0.4  Better than average
Ranking below a 0.4  Mediocre at best
Rankings below a 0.2  Little to negative effect on students achievement
Consider what this means.  A few minor adjustments and a teacher's influence can climb from a mediocre 0.17 to an influential 0.60.  Jump to here for a good review an application for teachers.  Don't take their word for it and run a google search and see all the results.
Any thoughts or feedback?  Does it align?  Does it make sense?  How close are we to being effective or just coasting or getting by?  What adjustments can we make directly?  How do these things effect our students?  Is it worth the investment to consider the data?
*Professional Development for Teachers  (Hattie Score: PD = 0.62, putting it in the top 20 of 138)
Visible Learning Laboratories
University of Auckland 
Visible Learning  on Twitter @VisibleLearning

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