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Top 15 Effective Methods of Teaching and Learning

About learning and teaching, everything works, but how well?

John Hattie has led a team at Auckland University, New Zealand which compares the effect on learning of over 100 classroom interventions. In his book, John Hattie said that almost everything we do in our efforts to help students in schools has a positive effect on students. However, much of what we do actually isn’t effective enough …

 Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement

This unique and ground-breaking book is the result of 15 years research and synthesises over 800 meta-analyses on the influences on achievement in school-aged students. It builds a story about the power of teachers, feedback, and a model of learning and understanding. The research involves many millions of students and represents the largest ever evidence based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning. Areas covered include the influence of the student, home, school, curricula, teacher, and teaching strategies. A model of teaching and learning is developed based on the notion of visible teaching and visible learning.

A major message is that what works best for students is similar to what works best for teachers – an attention to setting challenging learning intentions, being clear about what success means, and an attention to learning strategies for developing conceptual understanding about what teachers and students know and understand.

Although the current evidence based fad has turned into a debate about test scores, this book is about using evidence to build and defend a model of teaching and learning. A major contribution is a fascinating benchmark/dashboard for comparing many innovations in teaching and schools.

2 parts of talks from John Hattie gave highlights of his findings:

Part 1 looks at methods with negative, or very low effect sizes. Hattie points out that most educational debate is about things which do not really work well. Class size, charter schools, homework…. are in this less effective category.

Part 2 outlined some of the most successful methods to promote learning.

Here are the ‘Top 15′ concluded from his research:

  1. Self-reported grades/Student expectations
  2. Piagetian programs
  3. Response to intervention
  4. Teacher credibility
  5. Providing formative evaluation
  6. Mirco-Teaching
  7. Classroom Discussion
  8. Comprehensive interventions for learning disabled students
  9. Teacher clarity
  10. Feedback
  11. Reciprocal teaching
  12. Teacher-student relationships
  13. Spaced vs mass practice
  14. Meta-cognitive strategies
  15. Acceleration

The teacher plays such a big role in creating the opportunities and environments that invite learning. Teachers’ mindsets, and the feedback for the effectiveness of their teaching are crucial.

effective teaching

from John Hattie

The Measures of Effective Teaching Project (MET) released its final reports in January this year. (a good summary here) One MET project report, Feedback for Better Teaching, offers guidelines for using feedback. The MET project is a research partnership of academics, teachers, and education organizations committed to investigating better ways to identify and develop effective teaching. Funding is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The approximately 3,000 MET project teachers who volunteered to open up their classrooms for this work.

States and districts have learned a great deal in the last few years about how to create better teacher development and evaluation systems, and align them to the Common Core State Standards. But there’s still much to learn as these systems are implemented and improved over time.

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