John Hattie’s soon to be released book, Visible Learning Into Action, gives you a collection of living, breathing examples of how schools across Australia, USA, Hong Kong, UK, Sweden, New Zealand and Norway are using Hattie’s research findings to dramatically improve their students’ results.
- Was the culmination of over 15 years of work
- Is still the largest educational research project ever undertaken
- Was hailed by reviewers as the Holy Grail for educators across the globe.
In this new book, Visible Learning Into Action, Hattie, and his colleagues move beyond isolated teaching strategies and individual teachers to describe how school leaders have enacted whole-school improvement. While not as paradigm shifting as his first book, it offers you insight into how you can use Hattie’s insights across your entire school.
- Keilor Views Primary School used Hattie’s idea of knowing thy impact to ensure that their students got at least one year’s worth of progress for one year’s worth of effort
- Monmia Primary School used feedback to boost their student’s results
- Wolford Elementary School used inspired and passionate teachers to drive school improvement + MORE.
Delve inside the book and you will find the stories of all sorts of schools using Hattie’s revelations to help their students do even better at school. You will find stories about:
- Primary and secondary schools
- Local schools and international schools
- Private and public schools
- Small schools and large schools
- Schools that started with low student achievement
- Schools where students were already above international benchmarks who wanted them to do even better
The key message is that it doesn’t matter where schools (or individual students) start from because we can all help our students to progress even further in the years ahead.
This doesn’t mean that there are not external factors that can help or hinder how well students do at school. It simply means you can help your students excel despite the things that you do not control.
The school’s stories give us concrete evidence that we can all improve, whether we work in low-performing school or a school that already exceeds international benchmarks.
Improvement is about helping each student to make significant progress from where they already are no matter where that may be. It is about preventing high-achieving students from coasting, as much as it about helping struggling students to pass.
Hattie’s view of school improvement is simple yet profound. He sees it as:
An opportunity to re-define its aspirations for students and to re-visit its basic beliefs and practices, evaluating them in light of their contribution to the intended student outcomes.
The two things I love most about the book are that it:
- Shows authentic ways that school leaders, teachers, and students can work together to achieve real progress for every child.
- Doesn’t gloss over the challenges caused by tradition, fear, and deeply entrenched beliefs.
Visible Learning Into Action reveals how school leaders are using Hattie’s insights to initiate school-wide improvement – improvement that is focused on student results, and brought about through enhanced teaching practices and strong leadership.
4 Lessons for School Leaders from Visible Learning Into Action
- Improving anything requires focus and a reprioritisation. Improving student results requires you to focus on and prioritise academic achievement. Research shows that a focus on performance reduces behaviour problems and improves the way students feel about themselves.
- Assessment is critical. However, you must find ways to measure how much each child is progressing, rather than just determining what grade they deserve. Furthermore, you must feed this information back to teachers regularly so that they can use it to adjust their teaching.
- Vision needs substance, and that substance must be expressed in terms of student results. Well-intentioned ideas such as we want to create a safe and nurturing learning community focus on the school rather than students. Motherhood statements such as we want all students to do their best present no risk of failure. However, Keilor Views Primary School’s desire for at least one year’s growth for one year’s work, is both challenging and student-centred.
- School improvement cannot happen without teachers changing the way that they go about their work in their classrooms. Your role is to drive and support teachers to do this. You can drive change through setting ambitious, student-focused goals. You can also drive change through challenging the validity of existing practices, programs, and beliefs. You can support teachers by exposing them to research in practical ways, by providing them with evidence-based professional development, and through coaching them as they make changes in the classroom.
4 Lessons for Teachers from Visible Learning Into Action
- School improvement cannot happen without you changing the way that you go about your work in their classrooms. You cannot make genuine enhancements until you take personal responsibility for improving the results of every single child in your class.
- If you want to help students make real progress, you must determine where they are at, and then move them forward from there. After helping them improve, you must reassess your students in ways that allow you to discern how far they have progressed. You then adjust your teaching accordingly.
- You must involve your students in their own improvement. You can do this by ensuring they know what you want them to achieve rather than just knowing what you want them to do. With your students armed with this insight, you can help them to self-monitor their learning and to adjust what they are doing when it isn’t helping them achieve their goals.
- You can make a difference for more students by working collaboratively with colleagues. While it is tempting (and easy) to just do your own thing, and to adopt a ‘live and let live’ relationship with other staff in your school, this limits your impact to only the students that you directly teach. Most teachers joined our profession because they genuinely want to make a difference to the lives of students in their care. Collaboration lets you make a difference to a greater number of students.
If you are a principal, leader or teacher in a school and you want to help drive whole school-improvement, then Visible Learning Into Action is the book for you. You can pre-order it on Amazon.
Visible Learning Into Action
Other Books by John Hattie