Feed on

Presented and produced by  Seán Delaney.

In this episode my guest is Emeritus Professor John Hattie from the University of Melbourne. Among many other contributions to education, he has developed the idea of visible learning. Among the topics we discuss in the podcast are the following:

  • What Professor Hattie means by visible learning
  • How children don’t have the language to talk about their learning
  • Students learning from each other
  • The importance of asking students two questions: What does it mean to be a good learner in this class? What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
  • Impact of a student’s age on making learning visible
  • Three ways of making learning visible: student voice, student artefacts, test scores. He is interested in triangulating across these three sources, in how the teacher interprets that information, and how the teacher decides where to go next with a student’s learning. The same information from a student’s perspective is also important.
  • The love of learning follows, rather than precedes, learning.
  • Every curriculum subject has three parts (i) content, skills (knowing that…), (ii) relationships (knowing how…) and (iii) Transfer. Understanding all three parts is important. Typically 90% of learning is focused on content/skills. John Hattie believes it’s the balance across all three that matters. However, you can’t rush to the deep parts too quickly.
  • His views on learning styles
  • The missing piece of teacher education – looking at students’ learning
  • Research he did to develop the concept of “visible learning”
  • Changing the research question on teaching from “What works?” to “What works best?”
  • Why how teachers think matters more than what teachers do
  • Many teachers deny their expertise
  • When students do a test, the teacher should ask “What did I teach well and what did I not teach well?” What did I learn about which students gained from the teaching and which didn’t? What did I learn about how much I taught? Answering those questions helps teachers decide “where to” next.
  • Ask students to predict how they’ll do in a test? From age 8 on, they’re good at answering this question.
  • His research on feedback. Its impact on students can be variable, even from one day to the next.
  • What is important to look at is the feedback that is received by students (is it heard, understood and actionable?)
  • Why children after age 8 don’t like talking about their errors or what they don’t know…and why they might be more likely to do it through technology
  • The need to learn in groups
  • The value of asking a student how someone got something wrong
  • If you’re not getting things wrong, the work’s too easy
  • Why he dislikes a constructivist approach to teaching and its cousins (problem-based learning, and discovery learning). It’s all about timing and being deliberate.
  • He refers a few times to the card game Canasta.
  • The lack of support available to newly qualified teachers.
  • Evaluative thinking (diagnosis, intervention, implementation, evaluate) as the essence of the teaching profession
  • The difference between teacher as facilitator and teacher as activator (i.e. active listeners, active in the process about how students are going about their learning, intervening at the right time) and why he prefers the latter. Why students need experts.
  • Homework and student achievement. The nature of the homework matters. We can’t assume that students know how to learn.
  • He mentions other researchers in the podcast including: Gert Biesta, Shirley Clarke, Guy Claxton, and Graham Nuthall.
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