A recent tweet pointed me to a brief talk by John Hattie arguing for a year’s growth in a year for all our students. The challenge is in bringing about the conditions in our schools to enable our educators to agree upon what a year’s growth looks like. Note the emphasis on agree upon, which necessitates collaboration.
In June 2015 Hattie published two significant papers, The Politics of Collaborative Expertise and The Politics of Distraction. The former is the source of advice for answering the question above and, as such, is deserving of leadership attention in terms of structural decisions to bring about the conditions in which educators can come to agreement on this essential question.
Hattie has 8 suggestions, four of which are:
- Task 1: Shift the narrative – Reframe the conversation to focus on progress
- Task 2: Secure agreement about what a year’s progress looks like – Debate and create a shared understanding of “progress”
- Task 3: Expect a year’s worth of progress – Expectations are one of the greatest influences on learning and achievement
- Task 4: Develop tools to provide feedback to teachers – Evaluation tools should shape learning rather than simply measure it.
Because we cannot do everything, at once, which of these would you the priority task in your context?
Which one are you most curious about?
What role does assessment play in any of these tasks?
Indeed. What is a teacher’s job?
In this season of recruitment for the next school year, we will see many advertisements for teaching positions. What will be the major theme of these ads? Will these advertisements bring to us the teachers we need?
A quick scan of a few this morning suggests the following characteristics:
- self-directed and an ability to lead others
- dedicated to students achieving their personal best
- ability to explore and introduce new ideas and program
- possess high expectations of student achievement
- demonstrated ability and initiative in integration of ICT into the learning program
- innovative, highly organised professionals
- a passion for education
- cater for individual learning needs within the classroom
- demonstrate knowledge of content and pedagogy
- monitor, evaluate and report on student progress
- create a culture of learning within the classroom
These are just a few, but probably a fairly representative sample of common position advertisements we may see today.
Now, when we look to the current research of what comprises effective teaching we may find something is missing in our recruitment materials.
In an interview with ACER in 2015, John Hattie proposed:
… it really comes down to not who teachers are, not what they do, but how they think. And if they think primarily that their role is to evaluate their impact all good things will follow. And that’s a dramatically different notion to how many people see the teacher’s job.
Perhaps a rethink is required for how we construct our recruitment of new teachers even before we begin to imagine how this change of state looks and feels like for our existing teachers?