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on 23 October 2014
Before I bought and read Visible Learning for Teachers, I read some reviews, mentally endorsing the positive and dismissing the negative as being written by anti-intellectual teachers looking for no more than ideas to put into practice on Monday morning. However, the negative reviewers really do have a point. The research which Hattie describes and distills, both his own and the many other studies of what works best in schools is undoubtedly very important. The idea of effect size and the key message, summed up in the three simple words "Know your impact", should be the basis for the change of mindset which Hattie advocates in both individual teachers and whole schools. The book also has very good pieces of advice, thoroughly practical and implementable, scattered throughout (put the "hook" at the end, not the beginning of the lesson; start off with a test before any teaching; don't give feedback intended for one student to the whole class - it will be heard by none). Yet despite this I encountered a sense of incoherence in the book. I felt that I was standing by Prof. Hattie's desk randomly picking up ideas written on index cards. The major section of book does follow a lesson sequence (preparing, starting, flow and end of lesson), but when reading I found it hard to identify any developing argument or be aware of what section I was reading. Also contributing to this experience of incoherence was the way that the same works can be discussed more than once in different parts of the book with no reference being made to the fact that the writer has previously introduced these ideas.

The main reason why I would not wholeheartedly recommend this book to colleagues is not, however, the incoherence. It is more the way that Hattie's "solutions" frequently present an unbridgeable chasm for classroom teachers, requiring more than just a change of personal mindset, but also a change in the way schools are organized (to give, for example, more collaborative planning time). In fact the final "mind frames" part of the book seems to be directed more at school leaders than teachers. Certainly more so than ought to be the case in a book with "for teachers" in the title! In addition, the solutions can be so frustratingly opaque. Take this example: In citing work identifying right and wrong "drivers" of change, Hattie gives one of the wrong drivers as "assuming that technology will carry the day". Fine. I can get that. But what are the right drivers? The first is "creating a powerful centrality of the learning-instruction-assessment nexus". I'm sorry, but that does not move me forward at all.

However, despite the reservations, when I look though the notes I made on the book I realize that it is a rich source of interesting and powerful ideas, and will merit re-reading. A good book? Yes. Important work? Undoubtedly. A "must-read" for classroom teachers? No, I wouldn't say so.
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on 23 October 2015
I'm less than 100% clear why this this book has got such rave reviews. I think sometimes that "old lag teachers" tend to get into a... (I don't want to say it, but I will)... rut. They've been teaching a while, and have found what works for them in the past, and stick to approaches they feel most comfortable with, irrespective of whether the approach they use gives the "biggest bang for their buck" in the classroom.

I think that if these teachers were challenged to try and change their teaching, they might just start to read books like this to improve/alter their teaching. The problem is that I think most teachers want to be told "Do this... in this subject. It works because...", and it sort of does this, but you have to dig really hard to find information about the different teaching concepts (like reciprocal teaching for example), and even then, it's not got as many worked examples (about how to use it in class) as I'd like.

The other thing is that it also uses a lot of eduspeak, which can be a little tedious and confusing, if you're not up to date with recent "best practices", which the teachers aren't necessarily going to be, given I suspect they're going to approach this book with an attitude of "Okay, so I want to improve... remind me again how this works...". The explanations are there, but you need to dig to really find them.

So in short, don't get this book if you think want a clear and concise "Do this..... get that."
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on 1 August 2013
Am I the only reviewer who has actually read the book? I cannot sincerely believe the comments from other reviewers.

Do not get this book if you think it will provide you with step by step practical solutions which you could implement in your classroom.

I am a teacher with 5 years of experience and it is my aim to help my pupils not meet but exceed their potential. I bought this rather expensive publication with the hope that it would offer me some insight in how to achieve this. IT DOES NOT.
Firstly, the author has forgotten who his audience is: busy, over worked teachers! The book contains lots and lots of theory, some of which is not fully explained (Piagetian models, the SOLO model etc, etc). Hidden amongst the pages and pages of theoretical discussion are some practical suggestions.

Secondly, Hattie lists the things which make significant impact on children's learning. It was my hope that each of these would be fully expounded upon with examples. For example, he states that recioprocial teaching, vocabulary programs, meta-cognative strategy programs, micro-teaching, repeated reading programs etc have been proven to improve achievement. I think I know what each of these are, but my interpretation may differ from Hattie's. Wikipedia's definition my differ. So why not explain them? Why not discuss and clarify each one and then explain to teachers how each one could be used in the classroom. The author does not.

Thirdly, the blurb on the back of the book suggests that the author offers "concise and user-friendly summaries of the most successful interventions" - IT DOES NOT. The text is dense and highly academic.
The blurb also states that the book offers "practical step - by - step guidance to the successful implemenation of visible learning...." - again - IT IS ANYTHING BUT PRACTICAL. There is a serious lack of practical application and guidance.

Do not get this book if you think it will provide you with step by step practical solutions which you could implement in your classroom.

However, I can see the value of this publication if you are involved in some form of academic pursuit (ie a PGCE or MA etc).
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on 6 January 2016
Just as clear and useful as the other 'Visible' books. Hattie consolidates his place as the key voice in education today. At the very least Hattie articulates what good teachers know instinctively while feeling conflicted with current policy and trends. As a source of confidence, Hattie's books could help to transform education in the UK back into something that really enables children to grow to their full potential.
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on 8 November 2012
A very impressive collection of things teachers should act on without delay. For school leaders this provides a great resource that could support a professional development/inservice progam for new and experienced teachers alike. This information simply can't be ignored.
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on 3 January 2015
I really like the ideas of Hattie as they resonate with me strongly as a head leading learning. Learning should be about young people coming to exciting conclusions because they are inspired by their teachers. My sadness is that we are so stymied by a reductive curriculum right now that we are all faced with climbing up the Progress 8 ladder or offering real choices to children. My priority….choice for my children.
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on 4 August 2012
This is an excellent book. John Hattie presents well founded research in a Very accessible manner, issues that could be presented as quite complex are presented in a clear and relevant way for all to understand. Hattie doesn't simply tell the reader everything teachers are doing wrong which is very refreshing! Instead it celebrates successful learning and shares the most effective ways in promoting learning. It is a must read for anybody working in education.
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on 10 August 2013
This is quite heavy going and I'll have to read it again. John Hattie comes across as passionate about supporting pupil learning and changing school culture to bring this about. There are key tenets that Hattie has found through his research that improve pupil learning and I personally will try to plan with these in mind e.g direct instruction, effective feedback, success criteria. Generally this is a book that would suit school leaders when planning to change school culture. I'd like to work in a school where this book was used.
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on 5 May 2013
Anyone who teaches will find this book fascinating. Lots of data pointing to evidence of the best way to help children learn.
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on 7 January 2013
The book is extremely useful to me during my PGCE course and I would suggest it as a must buy to any teacher looking to extend their professional development
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