John Hattie: Visible Learning | Chapter 9: The Contributions from Teaching Approaches Part 1

Notes from this chapter of John Hattie’s ‘Visible Learning

Exemplary schools who serve well students who have been struggling at school emphasise:

  • The engagement of students in the learning process
  • teacher articulating strategies of instruction and paying attention to learning theories,
  • school buildings act as an infrastructure to support such instruction,
  • teachers provide constant scaffolding and modelling,
  • teachers attended to the day-to-day monitoring of students,
  • teachers seeking feedback about their teaching while also being concerned with,
  • making decisions about optimal challenging tasks to assign, and
  • seeking insights from other professionals

Strategies emphasising learning intentions:

  • Goals. (ES=0.56) The performances of students who have the most challenging goals are over 250 percent higher than the performances of the students with the easiest goals. Difficult goals are much better than ‘do your best’ goals or no assigned goals. Because assigned goals provide an individual with normative information on the expected level of performance, such goals have major effects on development of self-efficacy and confidence, which in turn affects the level of difficulty of goals. The challenge should not be so difficult that the goal is seen as unattainable.
  • Behavioural and advance organisers (ES=0.41): are statements of what the student should be able to do as a consequence of instruction. Small but cumulative effect size.
  • Concept mapping (ES=0.57): graphical representations of the conceptual structure of the concept to be learnt and can be considered another kind of learning intention. Summarises the main ideas.

Strategies emphasising success criteria:

  • Learning hierarchies. (ES=0.19): suggesting that learning is structured and needs to be learnt in a progression.
  • Mastery learning (ES=0.58): all students can master content when it is provided with clear explanations and tight feedback loops.
  • Worked examples (ES=0.57): demonstrates to students what success looks like. Typical examples include three parts: an introductory phase (exposure to the problem), an acquisition or training phase, and a test phase (assessing the learning)

Implementations that emphasise feedback:

  • Feedback (ES=0.73): teacher > student and student > teacher. Most effective feedback provide cues or reinforcement to the learner, are in the form of video, audio or computer, or relate to learning goals. It’s also crucial that feedback is acted on. Stickers, awards etc. are not feedback and undermine intrinsic rewards, particularly for interesting tasks. They have a gain for uninteresting tasks.
  • Frequent testing/effects of testing (ES=0.34): Although performance is increased with more frequent testing, the amount of improvement in achievement diminishes as the number of tests increase. Weighing the pig doesn’t make it fatter.
  • Teaching test taking and coaching (ES=0.22): Thje improvement is so small that it is unimportant.
  • Providing formative evaluation of programs (ES=0.90): Seeking feedback on the effectiveness of innovations, willingness to seek negative evidence (students who are not doing well) to improve the teaching innovation, the keenness to see the effects on all students and the openness to new experiences makes the difference.
  • Questioning (ES=0.46): Questioning is the second most dominant classroom activity (behind teaching talking) with teachers spending 35-50% of their time asking questions. Teachers ask 300-400 questions a day with most of them being lower-order (60% recall facts; 20% procedural).
  • Teacher immediacy (ES=0.16): The immediacy of responces to the students shows them that teachers are listening and responding.

Implementations that emphasise student perspectives in learning:

  • Time on task (ES=0.38): Depends what that time is spent doing. Longer lessons, days, terms can have a negative effect on learning.
  • Spaced vs massed practice (ES=0.71): Not drill and practice. Nuthall claims exposure to a concept 3-4 times preferably over several days.
  • Peer tutoring (ES=0.55): An excellent method to help students see themselves as their own teachers. Improved social and academic outcomes for both parties.
  • Mentoring (ES=0.15): Older/more experienced people helping younger/less experienced. Involves little (if any) teaching.

Implementations that emphasise meta-cognitive and self-regulation learning:

  • Study skills (ES=0.59): Study skills courses alone can have an impact on learning, but study skills need to be combined with content to have an effect on deeper levels of understanding. Thje more active the study skill the more likely it is to have a greater effect.
  • Self-verbalisation and self-questioning (ES=0.64): Works better for task-oriented skills.
  • Student control over learning (ES=0.04): Students need guidance.
  • Aptitude-treatment interactions (ES=0.19): The claim that instruction must be altered for different types of students (age, sex etc.)
  • Learning styles (ES=0.41): Confusing area of research, particularly given the conflating of strategies and styles. May be somewhat important.
  • Individual instruction (ES=0.23): learning is a social activity and individual instruction doesn’t allow for effective strategies such as peer-tuition etc.

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