I have long been a fan, or at least been thinking about, John Hattie’s meta-analysis of educational research to determine what strategies and variables have the most impact on teaching and learning. Hattie’s most accessible book is Visible Learning For Teachers (2012) and well worth reading. There is a website: http://visiblelearningplus.com/. There is a PDF of the slidedeck Hattie uses to present his findings.
Hattie is compelling as he explains that most things we do as teachers have a positive impact, but we need to be aware that some things do not have a very significant impact, e.g. smaller class size. He identifies variables that have the greater impact and how we should be focussing on these because the lower impact strategies are a waste of time. There are so many potential margins for error and critique in what Hattie has done here, but just like the tracking data we might collect on pupil progress, at some point it is necessary to commit to evidence of some sort and say this is what we deem to be a true reflection of a given situation. For me, Hattie’s work provides a useful scaffold to do this on and on which to build conversation and dialogue in any school.
Here are the top ten items:
If you would like to hear what he has to say, I found these two videos an easy way in. In them, he gives teachers a bit of a hard time. But he concludes saying ‘evidence does count’ and his intention is to improve what goes on in the classroom.