This first one is the shortest, only about five minutes. It gives you a sense of who he is and where his focus is.
I'm interested in Hattie because his research seems to be a driving force for some decision makers in my district. Many of the decisions they are making based on Hattie's research are not ones I agree with. As a result, I decided I needed to do some learning to see if I'm missing something.
Hattie's book Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning is not cheap. So, I started with these videos. Then I managed to borrow a copy of the book from a leader in my district.
I started with this video:
The first thing I noticed, after his fabulous accent, was that I was hopeful when he said things I agreed with and annoyed when he said things I did not agree with. Clearly as I go through all of his work I will have to work to remain open-minded.
My quick thoughts from the videos:
- He talks a lot about making sure students know what success looks like. That makes sense and sounds pretty good. But what if we set the bar too low? What if we show students what success looks like and they can already meet that? Are we limiting their growth by always defining success for them?
- He discusses teacher-student relationships as one of the big ones, as something that gives a big return on investment. That doesn't surprise me at all. Unfortunately, I feel like all the things we're doing as a result of his research (common pacing, common assessments, common planning) are removing us from those relationships. Everything is standardized so we don't know our students as well.
- Another idea he says is strong is spaced practice instead of mass practice. This means continuing to practice things over time rather than cramming it all in and then moving on to something completely new. This struck me because my team recently found that our students who did not do well counting money struggled not because of the money, but because they don't have the number sense to support them. We taught number sense in the first quarter and then moved on. It's a critical piece and needs to be part of things all year. That's certainly possible but it gets lost in our laser focus on whatever unit we are currently planning and assessing together.