A Book/Author Recommendation

A. All educators at all levels should read John Hattie. He’s an Australian educational researcher who has been a driving force behind evidence-based teaching and curriculum development. I believe his major contribution has been his meta-analyses of every conceivable aspect of educational achievement and the factors that can help or hurt students’ learning : teaching methodologies, gender, family situation, teaching materials; you name it, Hattie has meta-analyzed it. That means, for any given variable, let’s say, homework…(does it really aid achievement is the question here) he and his team collect hundreds of studies and subject them to all kinds of rigorous statistical analysis. He simplifies the results into 1 figure, “d”. If that number is greater than .40, the innovation or educational feature is worth trying; if not, it isn’t. Hattie is attempting to introduce a measure of scientific rigor and logic into the maelstrom of fads, and political, ethnic, and socioeconomic solipsism that is modern global education. Some of his findings are quite counter-intuitive. For example, class size isn’t very important; homework can be helpful but only certain types really support learning, etc. He tries to be careful in his claims.

Whether you agree with all his work or not, you must read Hattie. He represents a major strand in 21st century education and must be absorbed into teachers and schools’ thinking.

His big books, which should be read in the order listed:

Visible Learning, Visible Learning for Teachers (a simplification of the first volume) and the forthcoming Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn.

If you have access to scholarly journals:

Has John Hattie really found the holy grail of research on teaching? An extended review of Visible Learning

in The Journal of Curriculum Studies, Volume 43, Issue 3, 2011.