#3: 4 ways teachers can supersize Hattie effects

According to Hattie, different teaching practices have different effect sizes—here’s how to supersize visible learning.

1. Conceptual Change Programs

Conceptual change programs (1.16) are a newcomer on Hattie’s list. The idea is that a learner’s prior beliefs can be resistant to change, even when presented with new information.

For example, think about teaching a lesson on climate science. Students might initially believe that climate is persistent and human activity doesn’t affect it. After consuming information about climate change over time, students may recognize that some climate variability is due to the natural periods of warming and cooling the globe has undergone for millennia. The original mental model adapted to accommodate new information.

However, sometimes students don’t assimilate all the new data into their mental model. Often this is solved with re-teaching, but it would be more effective to change our focus by directly confronting common misconceptions. In this climate example, some common misconceptions could be that global warming is fake news since this winter was colder than last winter, or that it’s due to the sun or water vapor, or that CO2 has no real effect.

Specifically addressing these misconceptions will have a much greater impact on learning than simply re-teaching.

2. Self-Reported Grades

Self-reported grades (1.3) is another Hattie super effect, but isn’t new to the list. (Hattie noted that if he were to write Visible Learning again, he’d call this concept “student expectations.”)3

When a teacher knows what a student’s expectations are, they’re able to push the student to achieve more. Different than goal-setting, this practice of stretching student expectations grounds future goals and behavior changes in what a student believes about his or her ability to perform today.

3. Collective Teacher Efficacy

The highest changeable effect on Hattie’s list is collective teacher efficacy (1.6).

An intervention of this magnitude can essentially triple the typical rate of learning. That’s more than double the size of feedback (0.7) and five times the size of homework (0.3.)

Efficacy beliefs are this powerful because they influence teachers’ actions. Research shows that perceived efficacy directly changes “the diligence and resolve with which groups choose to pursue their goals.”4

When teachers believe their collective efforts can change student achievement, they’re right.  When they believe there’s not much they can do to influence results, they’re still right and our behavior reflects it.

There are many factors that contribute to teacher efficacy including the degree to which teachers participate in decisions, how much they know about what peers are doing and how responsive school leadership is.

However, according to Hattie, there’s nothing better that can be done to influence student achievement than teachers believing their teaching directly benefits their students.5

4. Being Willing to Make Changes

Here at Canvas, and in education in general, we’re always looking for ways to help students learn more, achieve more, and make progress faster. That’s why we hunt for evidence-based ways to move the needle. But just like our students, in education we sometimes hold on to unhelpful beliefs in the face of contradictory evidence.

There’s nothing unusual about our resistance to change—it’s human nature. However, as educators, we can and should take time for introspection, leveling-up our expectations for ourselves and recognizing areas of improvement.

Armed with Hattie’s data about what works, maybe a little good technology and a supportive professional community, we have the power to increase our own self-efficacy and the ability to deliver super-sized results for all our students.

  1. https://www.tes.com/news/tes-archive/tes-publication/research-reveals-teachings-holy-grail
  2. https://visible-learning.org/
  3. https://visible-learning.org/glossary/
  4. Goddard, R., Hoy, W., & Hoy, A. W. (2004). Collective efficacy beliefs: Theoretical developments, empirical evidence, and future directions. Educational Researcher, 33(3), 3-13.
  5. Donohoo, J. (2017). Collective efficacy: How educators’ beliefs impact student learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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