John Hattie

How helpful is Hattie & Donoghue’s model of learning? Part 1: The problem with depth

2020-07-01T20:49:37+01:00June 17th, 2017|learning|

I saw John Hattie speak recently at a conference on his latest re-imagining of his Visible Learning work. He was an excellent speaker and charming company. I was particularly flattered that he asked me to sign his copy of my What if... book. After he'd finished his presentation he asked me what I thought and I said I'd have to go away and have a think. This is an attempt to tease out a response. Broadly, I found myself in agreement. Hattie makes the astute point that the 400 learning strategies identified in his most recent meta analysis cannot be directly compared; [...]

Context isn’t king

2016-11-21T16:26:09+00:00November 21st, 2016|Featured|

It's become quite fashionable recently to say that there's no best way to teach because what works depends on the context in which you teach. This is a considerable improvement on asserting that [insert half-baked, debunked practice of your choosing] is the best way and then penalising teachers for not doing it, but it's still a bit of a cop-out. I'm not claiming context doesn't matter - of course it does - but it isn't nearly as important as some would have us believe. Clearly, the context of schooling in different countries varies greatly and most right-thinking people acknowledge that 'policy tourism [...]

The feedback continuum: why reducing feedback helps students learn

2016-11-21T23:27:50+00:00October 15th, 2016|learning|

The effects of feedback are more complex than we often realise. While expertise and mastery is unlikely to develop without feedback it's certainly not true to say that giving feedback results in expertise and mastery. There are few teachers who do not prioritise giving feedback and yet not all teachers' feedback is equally effective. My understanding of the effects of feedback has grown as I've come to accept and internalise the profound differences between 'performance' and 'learning'. If you're not clear on these, I've summarised them here. Hattie and Timperley point out that, "Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this [...]

John Hattie and the magical power of prediction

2016-01-29T09:47:09+00:00January 28th, 2016|research|

"Optimism and stupidity are nearly synonymous." Hyman G. Rickover — Speech to US Naval Post Graduate School, March 16, 1954 In this post I picked up on a rather odd comment made by Professor Hattie at a recent conference: ...tests don’t tell kids about how much they’ve learnt. Kids are very, very good at predicting how well they’ll do in a test.” Are they? In my response I argued that he's wrong: Most students are novices – they don’t yet know much about the subject they’re studying. Not only do they not know much, they’re unlikely to know the value of what they do know [...]

Why I like ‘tick n flick’

2015-12-16T14:40:28+00:00December 16th, 2015|Featured|

It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. William of Ockham Tick n flick - the practice of flicking through students' exercise books and ticking to indicate that they have been read (or at least seen) is widely used as a pejorative term for the laziest type of marking undertaken only by the most feckless, morally bankrupt of teachers - generally gets a bad press. Perhaps this is unsurprising; in the worst cases it suggests a hurried post-hoc skim through pages of work in order to give the unconvincing appearance that books are being marked. No one [...]

Whose research is it anyway?

2015-04-22T22:01:04+01:00April 22nd, 2015|Featured|

The TES reports today that Professor Hattie, the crown prince of education research, isn't much keen on teachers conducting research in their classrooms. Apparently he thinks we should leave education research in the hands of academics. Because, I assume, they know best. Now I'm certain TES journos have rubbed this particular story vigorously on the crotch of their cricket whites, the better to produce a savage topspin in the hope of enraging the new breed of research literate teachers, but Hattie is quoted as saying, Researching is a particular skill. Some of us took years to gain that skill. Asking teachers [...]

The Unit of Education

2015-01-10T21:12:36+00:00January 8th, 2015|Featured|

If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. Lord Kelvin A lot of education research is an attempt to measure the effects of teaching (or teachers) on learning (or pupils.) But is this actually possible? Let’s first think about measurement in a very practical sense. Schools limit admission based on a sometimes very strict catchment area – if you want to make sure that your children attend a particular school you need to live within the catchment. For some very oversubscribed schools this can be a radius of less than a mile. If I measure the distance between my front door and [...]

Are we fetishising marking?

2014-11-14T08:10:13+00:00November 14th, 2014|learning|

When you make something a fetish, ashes and dusts will laugh at you, because they know even the most valuable fetishes will turn into dusts and ashes! Mehmet Murat ildan Last night I innocently posted the following tweet:   This sparked something of a debate. A number of people got in touch to tell me this was 'bonkers' and a 'complete waste of money'. Other responses ranged from cautious interest to overwhelming support. But by far the biggest objection was the assertion that marking is an essential aspect of planning: if teachers don't know how pupils are performing then future teaching will [...]

What does John Hattie think about education?

2014-08-22T00:12:59+01:00August 22nd, 2014|Featured|

If you don't yet know, BBC Radio 4 have lined up a series of 8 interviews with the leading lights of the education world. In the second programme of the series, Sarah Montague interviews professor John Hattie on 'what works' in education. Here it is. Whatever your opinion of effect sizes and meta-analyses, Visible Learning has changed the way many of us think about teaching and Hattie has become one of the most respected and widely known academics in the field of education. For those too busy or too uninterested to invest 25 minutes of their lives actually listening to the broadcast, I'll [...]

The problem with SatNavs, or how feedback can impede learning

2020-05-07T18:16:23+01:00July 6th, 2014|learning|

I'm not an especially good driver, but I'm a truly terrible navigator. This used to mean that I would get lost. A lot. When I first moved to Bristol in 2001 I bought an A-Z of the city and when driving somewhere new I would have to stop the car periodically and try to align the map to the streets around me. Needless to say, I found this pretty stressful. Luckily, I'm a lot better at recognising landmarks than I am at reading maps. Slowly, through a process of trial and error, I started to learn how to find my way around. I've got [...]

Getting feedback right Part 4: How can we increase pupils’ aspiration?

2015-07-08T20:26:01+01:00April 2nd, 2014|assessment, learning|

You may remember that over the past few weeks I've been trying to refine my thinking about how we can improve the way we give feedback. If you haven't already read the previous instalments, you might find it helpful to go over  Part 1 (which discusses the different purposes for giving feedback) Part 2 (which looks at how to increase pupils’ understanding) and Part 3 (which considers how to get pupils to expend greater effort.) In this post I want to explore how feedback can be used to encourage pupils to aim higher, want more and go beyond their current performance. Many high achieving pupils [...]

Everything we've been told about teaching is wrong, and what to do about it!

2014-03-09T11:19:44+00:00March 9th, 2014|myths|

It was great to be back at the IOE for Pedagoo London 2014, and many thanks must go to @hgaldinoshea & @kevbartle for organising such a wonderful (and free!) event. As ever there's never enough time to talk to everyone I wanted to talk to, but I particularly enjoyed Jo Facer's workshop on cultural literacy and Harry Fletcher-Wood's attempt to stretch a military metaphor to provide a model for teacher improvement. As I was presenting last I found myself unable to concentrate during Rachel Steven's REALLY INTERESTING talk on Lesson Study and returned to the room in which I would be presenting to catch the end [...]

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