When John Hattie released his 2009 book Visible Learning, he sparked an enormous amount of interest, debate and controversy.
In his book, Hattie synthesised over 500,000+ studies related to student achievement. This expansive synthesis concluded that:
- Teachers can make a difference even in challenging circumstances
- Most teaching practices have some degree of positive impact on learning
- Some teaching practices have far more impact than others
- Some factors and practices have a negative impact on learning
According to Hattie: What Should Teachers Do?
John Hattie discovered that teachers are far more likely to have a large and positive impact if they:
- Are passionate about helping their students learn
- Forge strong relationships with their students
- Are clear about what they want their students to learn
- Not afraid to be the sage on the stage
- Adopt evidence-based teaching strategies
- Monitor their impact on students’ learning, and adjust their approaches accordingly
- Actively seek to improve their own teaching
What Should You Avoid Doing?
According to the research that John Hattie collated and shared, teachers and schools should generally avoid:
- Repeating students
- Whole language
- Labelling students
- Lowering expectations
- Open classrooms
What Types of Teaching Strategies Work Best?
From analysing this vast collection of research, John Hattie concluded that learning is enhanced when:
- Teaching was focused on and responsive too students learning
- Teachers are clear about what they want their students to learn and select teaching approaches accordingly
- Explicitly explaining what students need to understand and demonstrating what they need to be able to do is critical
- Teachers get students to mentally engage with the material the students need to learn
- Teachers give meaningful feedback to their students
What You Teach Matters Too
While John Hattie emphasised how you can have more impact by focusing on how you teach, that wasn’t the whole story. He also found that curriculum matters too.
In general, the research that Hattie reviewed revealed that the curriculum should be well-structured and systematically sequenced.
At a more specific level, the research supported teaching:
- Knowledge and the vocabulary associated with it
- Phonics and phonemic awareness
- Visual perception
- Self-regulation and meta-cognition
Hattie’s review of research did not support teaching perceptual motor programs.
Hattie in a Nutshell
In a nutshell, Hattie advises teachers to focus on:
- What you can control – there is no doubt that many factors can help or hinder students success at school. While some of these factors are outside your control, focus on those one you can control or at least influence
- Learning – know what you want your students to learn, know where they are currently at and then focus on closing the gap
- Teaching – choosing strategies that are likely to have the highest impact, monitor your impact and adjust your teaching accordingly.
For a full and up-to-date list of Hattie’s influences on student achievement, visit Visible Learning Metax