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From the Head of Middle School (Issue 4 2017)

Written on the 23 March 2017

Visible Learning
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a two day seminar in Sydney called "Visible Learning". The content of the training course was based around the work of Professor John Hattie who has spent more than 20 years collecting and analysing over 1,000 meta-analyses which he uses to identify the most powerful influences on teaching and learning - ultimately narrowing down and naming those strategies and practices which have the greatest impact on student learning.

The studies include more than 240 million students from around the world and in his most recent publication, Hattie has published (based on effect size) and ranked those practices which have the greatest effect (and those that don't) on student learning. The results are in some cases really quite shocking and begs the question around why schools, governments and other external agencies invest so much time, money, energy and practices that simply don't have much of an impact (and in some cases a negative impact) on learning achievement for our students.

Hattie uses the notion that a year of teaching should as a base level equate to a year's learning, and using his 'effect scale', the bench mark for this is 0.4. Anything above this has greater than a year's learning and is something we should "invest greater" amount of resourcing into. His top rating practices and strategies have an effect size of 0.8 and up to 1.44 which implies that if these strategies are employed and resourced adequately it is reasonable to assume that students could achieve 2 or 3 years of learning in one year of teaching.

As teachers, it is imperative we learn to know our impact, or as Hattie expresses, "know thy impact". It is important that we have the skills to move and motivate students from surface level learning into deep surface learning so that students can ultimately transfer this learning into other areas or into something new. As a starting point, students need to be clear about what they are learning, why they are learning it and that they are very clear about what success looks like.

I am confident that as a College, especially as we move into and embrace a new era over the next couple of years, we can develop to a new level our knowledge and skill in being able to deliver to the highest quality, practices and strategies that have the greatest impact on learning for students. And, in time we can work more collaboratively with all or partners involved in education to focus on what matters and dismiss want doesn't.

Parents and Friends
Our latest meeting was held this morning (Thursday 23 March) in the Food Tech Centre (Science block next to the Library). Parents sampled the 'real' coffee from our new coffee machine and ideas were formulated around three central questions (below). We are aiming at holding a social function early in Term 2... so watch this space!

  • How would you see this parent community group work together in supporting our school to strengthen the relationship between home and school?
  • How would you see our parent community group contribute to growing a vibrant community of parent, friends and staff?
  • How could our parent community group participate in and or contribute to the teaching and learning at our school?

Tim Mullin
Head of Middle School

 

 

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