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 summarise it below:
Hattie is very clear that the biggest difference made in education is teacher quality and expertise:“It really comes down to expertise, teacher expertise… How teachers think; how they make daily decisions and judgements. It’s not necessarily what they do, it’s not necessarily who they are; it’s how they think.”
He acknowledges that there are many impressive teachers and his avowed mission is to make all teachers like the best. Presumably this means trying to change the way some teachers think about what they do. He cites an interesting sounding piece of research which recorded what teachers talked about in the staffroom. It revealed that teachers talk about the curriculum, the students, the assessments, but they only talk for 1 minute a month about teaching. And obviously, they spend even less time they talk about the impact of their teaching. Really excellent schools, Hattie asserts, create dialogues about the impact of teaching.
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