Teachers do matter – especially those teachers who teach in a most deliberate and visible manner, so that when they see learning occurring or not occurring, they intervene in calculated and meaningful ways to alter the direction of learning, to attain various shared, specific, and challenging goals. (p22, 2009)
The unit of work that became the focus of my ILA, was the first time the classroom teacher had incorporated the learning areas of English, Technology and Geography, under the school wide approach of Hattie’s visible learning. During 2014, the staff began actively training and utilizing Hattie’s visible learning framework within the school’s English improvement plan. This approach promotes the potential for teachers to become more effective in their teaching and increase their effect size of students becoming better learners. For teachers to have success, Hattie (2009) explains that teachers should set transparent learning goals to encourage student engagement, make students more aware of their success criteria, and provide rapid formative feedback to students to assist in the development of more positive learning attributes.
During the term, the classroom teacher created information charts based on the key concept lessons relating to the inquiry project. With these wall charts displayed permanently on the classroom walls, students were encouraged to retrieve information from them when they felt that they needed more guidance. To have a better idea of how the classroom teacher supported her class through visible learning, click on the Popplet image below. Hattie’s framework is presented in the black bubbles, which helped support the inquiry learning nature of the project.
As a result of this new framework roll out at the school, I was not able to be involved in the classroom lessons due to the structure and the time frame, however, the classroom teacher and I were able to have several informal talks about the progression of the students. On several occasions I was able to observe the students in class time while working on their projects, which also assisted in feedback to the classroom teacher. At these times, I saw the classroom teacher demonstrating the Hattie framework by way of her transparent learning intentions, student awareness of the success criteria, and the rapid formative feedback given.
The only way I was able to assist in the student progress, was to collect data on how they were working and feeling about their project by way of survey, and this process is featured in my Methodology post. After administering and analyzing the results from questionnaire 2, presented in my Findings post, the classroom teacher and I were able to reflect on the weakest points of the process. Student survey responses mirrored what we, as educators, had observed. Some students lost extensive work time searching the internet unsuccessfully, others found too much information and did not know how to narrow down the results to make it more relevant. During the students’ note-taking, it was also evident that some students had collected unreliable information as well. Several of the researching tasks were deemed difficult by the students, which could have been supported during official library lessons.
My role as teacher-librarian this year has had a major change of direction by principal request, and the traditional library lessons ceased in term 1, as my role turned towards a curriculum and resource/collection management focus. However, during the Year 4 project, focused library lessons about information literacy skills such as using search engines, evaluating information, data organization and management, and technology skills such as using Movie Maker, would have been a major bonus for all learners involved. Although the classroom teacher offered frequent feedback and revision to students individually and as a whole class, incorporating my role as teacher-librarian to support in collaboration and co-teaching would assist in the learning success of the students during the inquiry learning process in the further. More comments on this topic are found in my Analysis and Recommendations post.
The students can’t ask the questions unless we teach them how to ask them, that means we need to frame the way we structure our lessons around that sort of immediate feedback. (Hattie, 2009)
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning; a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.