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Prof Steve Dinham Research Director Teaching, Learning and Leadership

Prof Steve Dinham Research Director Teaching, Learning and Leadership. “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Dr Samuel Johnson

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Prof Steve Dinham Research Director Teaching, Learning and Leadership

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  1. Prof Steve Dinham Research Director Teaching, Learning and Leadership

  2. “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” • Dr Samuel Johnson • Much of what we do in education is the result of taken-for-granted routines, habits, mind-sets, ideologies, superstitions and untested assumptions and beliefs. • However, we are now in the age of evidence and we need to ask some hard questions (what?, why?, how?, effects?). • Is your school in a groove or a rut?

  3. “ …the focus of every school, every educational system and every education department or faculty of education – [should be] student learning and achievement.” Dinham, 2008: 1).

  4. The Declaration articulates two important goals for education in Australia: • Goal1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence • Goal 2: All young Australians become: ■ successful learners ■ confident and creative individuals ■ active and informed citizens.

  5. Background • Until the mid-1960s the view was that schools make almost no difference to student achievement, which was largely pre-determined by socio-economic status, family circumstances and innate ability (Coleman Report, 1966). • However, research has powerfully refuted that view. • We now know that teachers, teaching and schools make a significant difference to student success.

  6. Background • As a result, there has been a major international emphasis on improving the quality of teachers and teaching since the 1980s. • We now know how teacher expertise develops and we know what good teaching looks like. However we also know that teacher quality varies within schools and across the nation. • A quality teacher in every classroom is the ultimate aim, but how to achieve this is the big question and challenge.

  7. ‘... the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. ... The immediate and clear implication of this finding is that seemingly more can be done to improve education by improving the effectiveness of teachers than by any other single factor’. Wright, S.; Horn, S. & Sanders, W. (1997). 'Teacher and Classroom Context Effects on Student Achievement: Implications for Teacher Evaluation', Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 11, pp. 57-67.


  9. Student Learning and Achievement • Quality Teaching in Action • Professional Learning • Leadership for Quality Teaching and Learning

  10. What Does Current Research Tell Us?

  11. Prof John Hattie (Uni Auckland): Meta-analysis of over 50,000 studies Major sources of variance in student achievement: • Student: accounts for 50% of variance in student achievement • Home: 5-10% • School: 5-10% (principals, other leaders an influence) • PeerEffects: 5-10% • Teachers: 30% • “It is what teachers know, do, and care about which is very powerful in this learning equation”. • Reference: Hattie, J. (2003). ‘Teachers Make a Difference: What is the Research Evidence?’, http://www.leadspace.govt.nz/leadership/articles/teachers-make-a-difference.php

  12. Note on Effect Size • Effect size (ES) is a name given to a family of indices that measure the magnitude of a treatment effect. Unlike significance tests, these indices are independent of sample size. • ES measures are the common currency of meta-analysis studies that summarize the findings from a specific area of research. • The larger the ES, the greater the influence of the treatment effect. • Note: As a guide, ES < 0.0 negative impact; 0.0 > 0.2 no/weak impact; 0.2 – 0.4 small, possibly significant impact; 0.4 – 0.6 moderately significant impact; > 0.6 large, significant impact.

  13. Note on Effect Size • An ES of 1.0 indicates an increase of one standard deviation on the outcome, typically advancing achievement by 2-3 years or about 50% (see Hattie, 2009: chapter 2) • Almost everything works • We need to set the bar at about 0.4 at which point we start to see real difference • However we also need to consider variance – it won’t be 0.4 for every student • We also need to think about how various interventions work together, or not.

  14. Over 750 Meta-analyses of over 50,000 international studies • See Hattie, J. (2007). ‘Developing Potentials for Learning: Evidence, assessment, and progress’, EARLI Biennial Conference, Budapest, Hungary. http://www.education.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/hattie-conference

  15. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Mobility (shifting schools) -.34 Retention -.16 Television -.14 Summer vacation -.09

  16. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Open v Traditional .01 Multi-grade/age classes .04 Inductive teaching .06 Reading: whole language .06 Perceptual-motor programs .08 Out of school experiences .09 Distance education .09 Web based learning .09

  17. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Ability grouping .11 Teacher training .11 Diet on achievement .12 Teacher subject matter knowledge .12 Gender (boys-girls) .12 Multi-media methods .15 Problem based learning .15 Home school programs .16

  18. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Extra-curricular programs .17 Family structure .18 Co-/team teaching .19 Learning hierarchies .19 Aptitude/treatment interventions .19 Individualised instruction .20 Charter schools .20 Religious schools .20

  19. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Class size .21 Teaching test taking .22 Finances .23 Summer school .23 Competitive learning .24 Programmed instruction .24 Within class grouping .25 Mainstreaming .28

  20. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Desegregation .28 Exercise/relaxation .28 Audio-based teaching .28 Home visiting by teachers .29 Reducing anxiety .30 Principals/school leaders .30 Ability grouping for gifted students .30 Homework .31

  21. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Inquiry based teaching .31 Simulations and gaming .32 Reading: exposure to reading .36 Bilingual programs .37 Teacher positive expectations .37 Computer assisted instruction .37 Enrichment on gifted .39 Integrated curriculum programs .39

  22. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Adjunct aids .41 Hypermedia instruction .41 Behavioural objectives/adv organ .41 Self-concept on achievement .43 Frequent/effects of testing .46 Early intervention .47 Motivation on learning .48 Small group learning .49

  23. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Questioning .49 Cooperative learning .49 Reading: 2nd/3rd chance programs .50 Play programs .50 Visual based/audio-visual teaching .51 Outdoor programs .52 Concept mapping .52 Peer influences .53

  24. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Keller's mastery learning prog .53 Reading: Phonics instruction .53 Reading: Visual-perception prog .55 Parental Involvement .55 Peer tutoring .55 Goals – challenging .56 Mastery learning .57 Social skills programs .57

  25. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Socio-economic status .57 Home environment .57 Providing worked examples .57 Reading: Comprehension programs .58 Direct instruction .59 Time on task .59 Study skills .59

  26. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Acceleration of gifted .60 Problem solving teaching .61 Teacher professional development .64 Reading: Repeated reading prog .67 Reading: Vocabulary programs .67 Meta-cognition strategies .67 Teaching students self-verbalisation.67 Creativity programs .70 Prov. Formative eval to teachers .70

  27. Student Achievement InfluenceEffect Size Feedback .72 Teacher-student relationships .72 Prior achievement .73 Reciprocal teaching .74 Quality of teaching .77 Classroom behavioural .80 Absence of disruptive students .86 Self-report grades 1.44

  28. Effect Size Research: Key Points • The teacher and the quality of his or her teaching are major influences on student achievement, along with the individual student and his or her prior achievement (all have large effect sizes). • School-based influences (beyond the classroom) have weaker effects on student achievement. • Structural and organisational arrangements (open vs traditional classrooms; multi-age vs age graded classes; ability grouping; gender; class size; mainstreaming) have negligible or small effects on student learning. It is the quality of teaching that occurs within these structural arrangements which is important.

  29. Effect Size Research: Key Points • Examples of ‘active teaching’ (reciprocal teaching; feedback; teaching self-verbalisation; meta-cognition strategies; direct instruction; mastery learning; testing) have large to moderate effects on student achievement. • Effect sizes are negligible or small for ‘facilitoryteaching’ (simulations and games; inquiry-based teaching; individualised instruction; problem-based learning; differentiated teaching for boys and girls; web-based learning; whole language reading; inductive teaching). • Strategies to promote and remediate literacy figure prominently in Hattie’s full list. Literacy is the foundation of student achievement.

  30. SES and family background do have moderate/large effect sizes • SES is about: • Foundations/advantage • Opportunity • Support • Role models and encouragement • SES is not about: • Innate ability • Social-biological determinism • Potential

  31. PISA 2000 PISA 2000 PISA

  32. PISA 2000 PISA

  33. Poor student performance is spread across the SES spectrum • Schooling represents an obstacle course. Some students have certain advantages and others have obstacles. • Life is not fair, but good teaching and good schools can help overcome SES disadvantage

  34. “ … school improvement by itself has potential to make an enormous difference in the lives of children even if broader social change is slow in coming. The children who depend most on good schooling for academic growth are the least likely to receive it. If school improvement begins early in life and if sustained, the most disadvantaged children stand to benefit most. This reasoning suggests that increasing the amount and the quality of schooling to which these children have access would reduce inequality in academic achievement.”

  35. Since the 1970s • More than 70 models • Psychologists and neuroscientists believe there is little efficacy for these models which rest on dubious grounds • Confusion with teaching strategies (as with ‘constructivism’ – see over) • “It is hard not to sceptical about these learning preference claims” (Hattie, 2009: 197). • Problems caused by categorisation, labelling, limiting learning experiences; potential harm

  36. “… one of the most damaging things we can do to people is to put them into categories and treat them accordingly.” (Dinham, 2008: 2)

  37. ‘As constructivism has become the dominant view of how students learn, it may seem obvious to equate active learning with active methods of instruction. Thus, educators who wish to use constructivist methods of instruction are often encouraged to focus on discovery learning – in which students are free to work in a learning environment with little or no guidance. Under the banner of social constructivism, the call for discovery learning remains, but with a modest shift in form – students are expected to work in groups in a learning environment with little or no guidance. … The research in this brief review shows that the formula constructivism = hands-on activity is a formula for educational disaster’. • Mayer, R. (2004). Should there be a three-strikes rule against pure Discovery Learning?, American Psychologist,59(1) ,14-19.

  38. Carefully explain to students an assignment or learning activity, including key terms and directions. • Provide students with the assessment rubric, including criteria and the marking/assessment scale/method for each item/criterion. • Optional: Jointly discuss and determine criteria to be used. • Students complete the activity (individually or in groups), using rubric as a guide.

  39. Students assess their work using the rubric. • Optional: Students assess another student’s work, discuss with student concerned. • Teacher assesses each student’s work, providing feedback using rubric. • Student and teacher discuss/compare their assessments. • One-to-one conferences are powerful

  40. ‘In a nutshell: The teacher decides the learning intentions and success criteria, makes them transparent to the students, demonstrates by modelling, evaluates if they understand what they had been told by checking for understanding, and re-telling them what they had been told by tying it all together with closure.’ (Hattie, 2009: 205-206). • It is a major mistake to confuse direct instruction/explicit teaching with didactic teaching.

  41. Feedback • “Look at learning or mastery in fields as diverse as sports, the arts, languages, the sciences or recreational activities and it’s easy to see how important feedback is to learning and accomplishment. An expert teacher, mentor or coach can readily explain, demonstrate and detect flaws in performance. He or she can also identify talent and potential, and build on these. • In contrast, trial and error learning or poor teaching are less effective and take longer. If performance flaws are not detected and corrected, these can become ingrained and will be much harder to eradicate later. Learners who don’t receive instruction, encouragement and correction can become disillusioned and quit due to lack of progress.” (Dinham, Feedback on Feedback, 2008)

  42. Feedback The four questions of Students: • What can I do? • What can’t I do? • How does my work compare with that of others? • How can I do better?

  43. Feedback “When asked to provide evidence and guidance on enhancing the quality of teaching and student performance, I’m usually equivocal about advocating quick fixes … In the case of feedback, however, I’m prepared to state categorically that if you focus on providing students with improved, quality feedback in individual classrooms, departments and schools you’ll have an almost immediate positive effect. The research evidence is clear: great teachers give great feedback, and every teacher is capable of giving more effective feedback.” (Dinham, Feedback on Feedback, 2008).

  44. G. Nuthall (2007). The Hidden Lives of Learners. Wellington: NZCER. • 80% of feedback students receive about their work in primary school comes from other students • 80% of this student-student feedback is incorrect.

  45. Some Questions to Ask I suggest that you begin a professional conversation about feedback by asking eight questions: • What are our present approaches – formal and informal – to student feedback? Conduct an audit. • Are our assessment methods and criteria clear, valid and reliable? Identify the links between assessment and feedback. • Do our students understand what is meant by feedback? • Is the feedback our students receive infrequent, unfocused, unhelpful, inconsistent or negative? OR

  46. Some Questions to Ask • Is the feedback we provide focused, comprehensive, consistent and improvement oriented, addressing the four key questions raised above? (especially How can I do better?) • How does the feedback our students receive relate to parental feedback through reports, interviews and parent nights? Is feedback to students and parents consistent? • How can we provide our students with improved feedback? • How will we know if it works? What evidence will we need? • The answers to these questions will provide an important foundation for improving the quality of teaching and student achievement in our schools. • However, feedback is only one part of the equation. It is not a substitute or remedy for poor teaching.

  47. Case Study: Successful Senior Secondary Teaching

  48. Experts notice features and meaningful patterns of information that are not noticed by novices. • Experts have acquired a great deal of content knowledge that is organised in ways that reflect a deep understanding of their subject matter. • Experts’ knowledge cannot be reduced to sets of isolated facts or propositions but, instead, reflects contexts of applicability. • Experts are able to flexibly retrieve important aspects of their knowledge with little attentional effort.

  49. May appear ‘arational’, intuitive, non-analytic • Understand and solve problems at a deeper level • ‘Know’ their students; students ‘know’ them • Though experts know their disciplines thoroughly, this does not guarantee that they are able to teach others. • Both teacher and students have high expectations • Experience gained over time important • Expert teachers can’t (easily) articulate their practice

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