I can’t do book notes for John Hattie’s Visible Learning for Teachers. One cannot reduce this book to notes because every other sentence is a pearl to be admired, contemplated, pondered, and revisited.
This book is a follow-up to Hattie’s groundbreaking book. Visible Learning, in which he compiled 800 meta-analyses of 50,000 research articles as to what works in schools. In Visible Learning Hattie gave visual indicators so the reader can readily identify key strategies that work. He provided discussion as to the studies and what they mean. This book is a MUST HAVE for all administrators, lead teachers, instructional coaches, and union presidents.
In this book, Visible Learning for Teachers, Hattie wrote for students, pre-service teachers and teachers as to how to apply effective strategies in the classroom.
As he looked at various interventions, interestingly, he says, “everything works”. Figure 1.1 on p. 2. However, there are degrees of effectiveness. He discussed what he called the “hinge point”, an effect size of 0.40, that we must consider when looking at strategies. “Half of what we do to all students has an effect of greater than 0.4” p. 3. In order to accelerate learning we must look for those strategies that will provide at least this “average gain”. We cannot afford to waste a student’s learning time on anything with an effect size lower than 0.4 because we must educate all students WELL.
What he emphasized was the role of “high-effect” and “low-effect” teachers. The difference between the two is “primarily related to the attitudes and expectations that teachers have when they decide on the key issue of teaching—that is, what to teach and at what level of difficulty, and their understandings of progress and of the effects of their teaching” p. 23
Hattie identified five major dimensions of excellent or “expert” teachers. “Expert teachers have high levels of knowledge and understanding of the subjects that they teach, can guide learning to desirable surface and deep outcomes, can successfully monitor learning and provide feedback that assists students to progress, can attend to the more attitudinal attributes of learning (especially developing self-efficacy and mastery motivation), and can provide defensible evidence of positive impacts of the teaching on student learning.” p. 24
Expert teachers challenge ALL students and they believe that ALL students can learn. These are the two most important features of an expert, vs. experienced, teacher. The expert teacher feels personally responsible for student learning. p. 31. This is powerful stuff.
To get our best teachers we could ask two key questions in interviews—Who is responsible for student learning—the student or the teacher? And how do you challenge all students in your classroom? It would be interesting to hear the responses.
His book is structure with the following chapter topics:
- Preparing the lessons—Chapter 4
- Starting the lessons (Chapter 5)
- The flow of the lessons- learning (Chapter 6)
- The flow of the lessons-feedback (Chapter 7) and
- The end of the lesson (Chapter 8).
This book is a powerful book study for PLCs. Actually, each chapter is worth using as a professional development goal for classroom observations. If we make certain that all teachers use what we know as best practice lesson design, Madeline Hunter’s format, and use the information presented in each of Hattie’s chapters, we could have discussion with teachers about how they incorporate what we know into their lesson plan. It could be the source of pre-and post-observation conferencing. This book is also powerful for instructional coaches as they provide feedback to our teachers.
I wish I had this book when I started teaching and when I started observing other teachers as an administrator.
Buy Visible Learning for Teachers and/or Visible Learning