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Visible Learning for Teachers Paperback – 13 Dec 2012
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"Visible Learning for Teachers is a profoundly important book for teachers, school leaders, parents, and policymakers. John Hattie provides the 'jury standard' for educational research. Rather than the typical 'he said, she said' controversy, Hattie has amassed the preponderance of the evidence representing the work of thousands of scholars and more than a quarter-billion children. The jury – teachers, leaders, and parents – need not be swayed by the persuasive power of an individual researcher or the flavor-of-the-month initiative. Rather, we can at last make teaching and leadership decisions based upon the best available evidence from multiple sources. As you read these pages, prepare to be challenged. Hattie forced me to reconsider previously strongly held convictions, but he requires that we elevate the preponderance of the evidence over personal belief. Best of all, Hattie shows us how to determine the impact we have right now with our own students. His methods move education from the 'rear-view mirror' – what happened in other places with other students – to the 'windshield' – what is happening right now with our students. As a result, this book is the most important contribution to educational research and practice in decades."
Founder, The Leadership and Learning Center, USA
"This scope of this text is absolutely staggering. John Hattie deserves to be recognised (and probably will in time) as one of the pioneers of educational and school psychology."
Dr Dave Putwain
Programme Leader, Educational Psychology, Edge Hill University, UK
“Recognising what makes a difference enables reflection on how to do more that makes a positive difference. Reading this book should make obvious the swathes of time-consuming tasks that make no (or worse, negative) impact, making them easy to remove. It is fabulously well-researched.” - Mary Bousted, general secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
About the Author
John Hattie is Professor and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia and honorary Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of Visible Learning and co-author of Intelligence and Intelligence Testing, both published by Routledge.
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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.
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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