Professor John Hattie is a world renowned educationalist and academic. His Visible Learning approach to education is based on the analysis of many thousands of pieces of research from around the world. Dallam is the only school in the area to be working on this project and in doing so are joining many hundreds of schools around the world in improving learning and teaching to benefit students. The Visible Learning approach is summed up into five strands.
- Students as active visible learners – they know how to learn, they understand that making mistakes and challenging themselves are vital parts of learning and they are able to use the language of learning in a confident and evaluative way to assess their own effectiveness.
- Teachers as active evaluators of their teaching – the primary role of every teacher in a Visible Learning climate is to evaluate the effect of what they do on learning in a measurable fashion. Hattie uses the term effect size and Visible Learning trains teachers to apply this to school data. This is a way of deciding whether the teacher has added value to the cohort of students.
- Teachers as inspired and passionate leaders of learning – passionate teaching involves evaluation, dialogue, being and agent of change for pupils, using feedback effectively, developing positive relationships and teaching students to be active learners.
- Effective feedback – the use of feedback is vital for all learners and Hattie divides feedback into different categories. Most importantly, teachers should avoid task-based, procedure-based feedback and give students feedback to understand how they can help themselves to be better learners.
- Whole school impact – all learners and teachers in a school that embraces Visible Learning should be discussing learning in terms that moves students forward. The climate of the school should involve mutual respect, trust and integrity. School leaders have a vital role in building this ethos and evaluating the impact of teaching in the school.
There is no prescribed set of steps to becoming a Visible Learning school, it is a process of self-evaluation of the five strands. Schools can determine which areas to develop and which key outcomes to evaluate by gathering evidence and working collaboratively to identify where they are and planning where they want to be.
The Visible Learning project will take around three years to research and implement. The end result of this project will be that students from Dallam will leave with better results and a better understanding of themselves as learners. Being skilled at learning to learn, or metacognition to use its educational term, is proven to be one of the most important markers of success at school and in later life. We aim to improve this learning trait in all of our students to help them develop into successful adults.