Coweta Impact

The quality of teaching makes all the difference.

Welcome to the first edition of Coweta Impact!

When you hear suggestions to use research-based strategies, do you ever wonder which ones to use? Or maybe you ponder where to find ones that have been proven to be effective. As educators, we want to use research-PROVEN practices - practices that not only have been tried in a research study, but ones that have resulted in proof of making a difference. This newsletter is designed to provide on-going ideas of high-impact practices that you can implement in classrooms immediately. In this newsletter, the terms of "educator," "teacher" and "leader" will be used interchangeably. Effective educators are learners and leaders, and information in this newsletter will extend to all three roles.

The research is based on the work of Professor, John Hattie. Read more about Hattie's research in the articles included in this newsletter.

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"Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design."

Educators need to be consistently aware and have dependable evidence of the effects that they are having on student learning.

We never feel there is enough time to accomplish all that we want. Since time is limited, we must use the time that we have and ensure that the instructional practices that we implement are effective and have an impact on learning.

In John Hattie's educational research, Visible Learning for Teachers (2012), he has utilized over 70,000 research studies involving over 300 million students to determine the practices that impact learning the most. Which core attributes of a school make a difference to student learning, thus making the learning visible to teachers and students? Hattie discovered through his meta-analyses that there are some practices in schools that have an effect size that yields more than a year's growth in student achievement (see Barometer of influence below). This newsletter (and future editions) is designed to share ideas of these research-proven practices that have a high impact on student learning.

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Take a look at the video below of Hattie's Eight Mindframes. Professor Hattie found that the thought processes mentioned have a powerful impact on student learning. Which of these attributes are a part of your daily actions? Which attribute are you wrestling with and need more time to consider?
Hattie's 8 Mindframes

8 Mindframes Explained

1. Teachers/leaders believe that their fundamental task is to evaluate the effect of their teaching on students' learning and achievement.

Educators should seek feedback from students to know how to evaluate the effect of their instruction. The interaction between the teacher and the students is the key. It is critical to evaluate what you (the teacher) are doing and what the students are doing and see the learning through the eyes of the students. Key questions to ask include:

  • How do I know that this is working?
  • Where is the evidence that shows that this strategy is one that I should continue?
  • Do I share common expectations of progress with other teachers?

2. Teachers/leaders believe that success and failure in student learning is about what they, as teachers or leaders, did or did not do... We are change agents.

This proposition claims that the greatest impact on success relates to the teacher's mindset. It is about teachers and leaders believing that achievement is changeable and never fixed. An educator is an enabler, a change agent, an activator and responsible for enhancing student learning.

3. Teachers/leaders want to talk more about the learning than the teaching.

Educators should be adaptive learning experts. They should know multiple ways of teaching and learning and be able to coach and model different ways of learning. Often with educators, the focus is on what the teacher taught or how much content needs to be covered rather than discussing what has been learned. Conversations about learning are critical to increased student learning.

4. Teachers/leaders see assessment as feedback about their impact.

Once again we are reminded that feedback is among the top-ranked influences on learning. This is also the case for teacher learning. Teachers need feedback on their effects on each student. The power of interpretation of an assessment can be extremely strong feedback. Critical questions for this mind frame include: Where are the gaps in the learning? Where are the strengths? What was achieved, and what has yet to be achieved?

5. Teachers/leaders engage in dialogue not monologue.

There is a great need for educators to listen to students' learning. Listening can take many forms - questions, ideas, struggles, strategies of learning, successes, interactions with peers, outputs, products or views of teaching. Monologue has been found to be less successful for struggling learners. When educators are not intentionally listening for learning of all students, the quiet ones can retreat and hide and not be learning at all.

6. Teachers/leaders enjoy the challenge and never retreat to 'doing their best.'

Life in a classroom is a challenge. Master teachers embrace the challenge and convince students to engage in active learning. The magic comes when teachers engage all students in the challenge of learning.

7. Teachers/leaders believe that it is their role to develop positive relationships in classrooms/staff rooms.

What is the purpose of a positive climate in a classroom? Certainly, it is a bonus for everyone to feel happy. One of the primary purposes is to allow students to feel okay about making mistakes and learning from them. In trusting classrooms, errors are seen as opportunities and not a shameful act because learning thrives on error. Do students believe the climate of the class is trustworthy and fair? This includes how errors are perceived by peers in the classroom also. A positive classroom climate includes one in which students are comfortable sharing their levels of learning with the teacher and with peers. In addition, it is also critically important that leaders create a safe staff room climate so that all teachers feel comfortable to talk about teaching successes and struggles and the impact of their instruction on student learning.

8. Teachers/leaders inform all about the language of learning.

In education, often acronyms and educational phrases are used so pervasively throughout conversations that, unintentionally, parents, students and other stakeholders are excluded from understanding. When co-understanding about learning levels and learning expectations occur with students, parents and others, the likelihood of student success is greater.

-Hattie (2012)

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Student Feedback (Effect size = 0.75)

Among the most powerful of all interventions is the idea of feedback. Feedback provides information to teachers to determine:

  • Where am I going with my instruction? (Teacher and students should know the goal of the lesson.)
  • How am I getting there with my students?
  • Where do I need to go next?

Hattie has shared that he learned more about feedback when he realized the mistake he was making was seeing feedback as something teachers provided to students…It was only when he discovered that feedback was most powerful when it is from the student to the teacher that he started to understand it better (Hattie, 2009). Hattie later explains that feedback has the highest level of impact when TEACHERS seek out and utilize feedback from STUDENTS. When teachers seek to understand, engage, and discover misconceptions, the effect is the greatest.

It is only when feedback is received that it works. Hattie states that “many teachers claim they provide ample amounts of feedback but the issue is whether students receive and interpret the information in the feedback” (Hattie, 2009). Many times, the feedback is from teacher to student without inquiring from the student what is really needed.

For feedback to work, teachers must understand:

  • Current level of performance of students
  • Expected level of performance of students
  • Action steps needed to close the gap

Thoughts on feedback to consider...

1. Giving is not receiving - Teachers may say they give much feedback, but what really matters is if the feedback is received.

2. Feedback should be differentially given and will be differentially received.

3. Errors welcomed in a safe environment can lead to higher performance.

4. The power of peer feedback is real. Interventions aimed to foster correct peer feedback are needed.

5. Feedback from assessments should provide feedback to teachers about their instructional methods.

6. Feedback can be maximized in many ways...

  • Focus on the task not the learner
  • Be specific and clear
  • Promote a learning goal
  • Clarify the difference between performance and goals

-Shute (2008)
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Fisher, D., Frey, N. & Hattie, J. (2017) Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom K-5. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Fisher, D., Frey, N. & Hattie, J. (2017) Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom 6-12. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Fisher, D., Frey, N. & Hattie, J. (2016) Visible Learning for Literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Hattie, J. (2009) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement.

Hattie, J (2012) Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. New York: Routledge.

Shute, V.J (2008), Focus on Formative Feedback.