Know Thy Impact!

So over the past few months I’ve read (and re-read) John Hattie’s remarkable book, Visible Learning For Teachers, and I’m sure that sometime during the next few weeks I’ll pick it up again for a third time. Not only is this book the best that I’ve ever come across with regards to what truly impacts student learning in our schools, I will go as far as to say that it should be required reading for every educator on the planet. Essentially, what Hattie has done over the past 15 years with is team is astounding, as well as incredibly important for the future of our profession in my opinion. He has taken the evidence from his inspiring 2009 book called, Visible Learning, (which is a collection and synthesis of over 800 meta analyses, 50,000 research articles, and data taken from over 240 million students all related to what really affects student learning and achievement), and he’s presented it all in layman’s terms…in a way that simplifies the findings for all of us to absorb.

His message is simple when he gets down to the heart of it…KNOW THY IMPACT as teachers and leaders. Without giving too much away, Hattie writes at length about how critical it is that teaching and learning are visible in our classrooms. He says that there is no “deep secret” called teaching and learning, only the imperative and important understanding that teaching must be visible to the students at all times, and that learning must always be visible to the teachers. He finishes that thought by saying, “the more the student becomes the teacher and the more the teacher becomes the learner, then the more successful are the outcomes”. Another important message that Hattie is keen to deliver relates to the significant role that “teacher passion” plays in having a positive impact on our kids, and that it’s a set of mind frames that underline the success of these passionate and inspired educators. I particularly loved this message because as I look around at the quality of educators that we currently have on our own faculty, and the level of passion that is being displayed on a daily basis, it easy to see that our students are being positively impacted simply by who you are……and that’s a great feeling.

I’m resisting the temptation to summarize Hattie’s findings in this post because I’m hoping that Visible Learning For Teachers becomes our next faculty book study, after we finish with Carol Dweck’s Mindset this fall. I will however, periodically write and talk about some of the important evidence that this book reveals in our upcoming faculty meetings, curriculum meetings, and grade level discussions, so look forward to some interesting and surprising evidence which will de-fog the glass so to speak when looking at our current approach to education. One final note that I’d like to share revolves around the notion of teachers being what Hattie calls activators, or change agents….and “directors of learning”. My challenge to you this week is to start seeing yourselves (if you don’t already) as change agents, and to start approaching each and every day with the acute awareness that you are difference makers in the daily lives and learning of our kids……Know thy impact, and embrace the power and responsibility that you have as an educator. I strongly suggest that you make this book your next purchase, and I guarantee that it will have a tremendously positive impact on your teaching, and on how you view your role as an educator….it truly is an inspiring read. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.

Quote of the Week……….
Know thy Impact! – John Hattie

Influences on Student Learning – John Hattie
What Works in Education – Grant Wiggins
Part 1 and 2 – *Please watch John Hattie’s Video Presentation (Visible Learning for Teachers)
Table of Effect Sizes – Teacher’s Toolbox
Book recommendation: